The Boston Celtics landed both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum third overall in back-to-back years in the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts. Now that it’s about a five-year sample size, it’s fair to say that Brown and Tatum are the best players to come out of their draft classes.
In 2016, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were drafted ahead of Brown. I’m not even entertaining talking about Simmons in this piece. Ingram has ascended in similar ways to Brown each season he’s been in the league. If Ingram was available, I still believe the Celtics draft Brown due to a more athletic upside.
Other notable players in the same 2016 draft as Brown include Buddy Hield, Dejounte Murray, and Malcolm Brogdon. It’s worth mentioning that Hield has played in the most games (468) and scored the most points (7,463) out of the entire 2016 Draft class.
In 2017, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball were drafted ahead of Tatum. Like Simmons, I’m not entertaining the thought of Fultz as a No. 1 draft choice, but I’m glad he was because it meant that Tatum would be available. There was so much hype around Ball, he inevitably was going to be a top draft selection.
It all worked out for the best as Tatum was selected third by the Celtics and I think he’s the best player in the entire 2017 class.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s some true ballers in this class. Players like Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Jarrett Allen, John Collins, and Derrick White, to name a few. Although Mitchell has scored more points than Tatum, I still enjoy the upside of a player like Tatum more than Mitchell.
Drafting Brown and Tatum was the plan and vision of former team president, Danny Ainge. He saw the future in the duo and knew they would be pillars to build the franchise around. Together, they’ve been to three Easteen Conference Finals and advanced to the NBA Finals last season.
Hopefully Brown and Tatum can raise Banner 18 together and eventually have their numbers raised to the rafters forever.
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Photo Credit: Jim Davis, Boston Globe