Jayson Tatum
Danny Ainge deserves more credit for drafting Jayson Tatum. Your GM would have just drafted Markelle Fultz. I will not stand for anymore Ainge slander. (Christopher Evans/Boston Herald)

Danny Ainge Deserves More Credit For Drafting Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum has turned the corner and established himself as a superstar. Saying that Tatum has been on fire lately would be disrespectful. Tatum has been hotter than the sun in the month of February. 29.7 points and 7.4 rebounds to go with 48.3 percent shooting and 46.8 percent from 3. Boston also has an offensive rating of 123 with Tatum on the floor which is banana land. The Celtics can win the title thanks to Tatum’s superstar level play.

What about the guy that drafted him? Here’s who we’re not talking about enough, Danny Ainge. The Boston Celtics won the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. The Celtics had their choice of any player on the board. The Celtics could have stood pat and took the consensus number one prospect, Markelle Fultz. Boston could have rolled the dice with Lonzo Ball who was a polarizing prospect. Ainge did neither of those things which is what 90 percent of the population would have done.

Instead, Ainge traded back from 1 to 3 with Philadelphia scooping up a future first round pick that the 76ers acquired from the Kings. Ainge not only did that, he ended up with the best player in the draft, Jayson Tatum. It was a ballsy move that paved the way for where the Celtics are today. None of this is possible without Danny Ainge. The next time you think about criticizing Danny Ainge, just remember your gm would have just drafted Fultz.

Ainge thought Tatum was the best player in the draft. It wasn’t a popular opinion. Ainge did work on him from his high school days. Ainge did his work early in the process and fell in love with Tatum years before they drafted him. Give Ainge credit. They brought in Fultz for a visit, they traded the pick days later. Ainge knew Fultz wasn’t his guy.

I’ve heard this a lot lately: “What if the 76ers drafted Jayson Tatum?” – “What if the Lakers drafted Jayson Tatum?” I’ll tell you what would have happened… Neither result in the former Duke product being this good. Tatum would have provided the perfect wing for Philadelphia. Maybe he solves their issues. Here’s what I know, Brett Brown isn’t Brad Stevens. Neither is Luke Walton – Frank Vogel. Tatum would probably be a Pelican if the Lakers drafted him and never reached this point in LA. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, and D’Angelo Russell have all gotten better since leaving the Lakers. They don’t have a promising track record of developing young players.

Brad Stevens constantly grooms young talent. Nobody is ever better when they leave Brad. Just ask Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder, and Isaiah Thomas. All have been significantly worse without Stevens. The Celtics have hit on their two top 5 picks. Jaylen Brown is a star. Jayson Tatum is a superstar. Kemba Walker has never been better. Gordon Hayward is out of his mind in terms of efficiency. Who hired Brad Stevens? That would be Danny Ainge.

Jayson Tatum has been unbelievable. Let’s just remember none of it is possible without Danny Ainge. The Celtics Gm has built an amazing core and wasn’t given the easiest pathway to do so. Having Kyrie Irving leave would have put a wrench on almost any team. No, problem, we’ll take Kemba. General Managers in sports need to be held more accountable for drafting and developing players. Danny Ainge is arguably the best in any sport. Put some respect on his name.