Celtics selected Jayson Tatum 3rd overall in NBA Draft five years ago today

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Celtics selected Tatum 3rd overall in NBA Draft five years ago today originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

June 22, 2017 was a pivotal moment for the Boston Celtics franchise.

After winning the draft lottery and trading the No. 1 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder, the Celtics got their man in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Boston selected Duke forward Jayson Tatum, giving them a dynamic wing player with an excellent two-way skill set to pair with 2016 third overall draft pick Jaylen Brown.

Tatum was available to the Celtics after the Sixers took Washington guard Markelle Fultz and the Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball.

The decision to acquire Tatum proved to be a franchise-altering one.

Tatum helped lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals as a rookie, going head-to-head with LeBron James before coming up just short of the NBA Finals. After a disappointing second season, Tatum's breakout came in 2019-20 when he averaged 23.4 points per game and made the All-Star Game for the first time. He's improved in each season since, averaging a career-high 26.9 points, eight rebounds and 4.4 assists during the 2021-22 campaign. Tatum led the Celtics to a Game 7 win over the Miami Heat on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals, securing Boston's first NBA Finals berth in 12 years. But Tatum and the Celtics couldn't get past the Golden State Warriors, who defeated Boston in six games to win their fourth title in eight years.

Despite the disappointing finish, it was a fantastic 2021-22 season for Tatum. He made his third consecutive All-Star appearance and was selected to the All-NBA first team.

Looking back on the 2017 draft, Tatum is without a doubt the best player from that class so far. It's a good class, too, with quality players such as Donovan Mitchell, De'Aaron Fox, OG Anunoby and Bam Adebayo becoming core players on their respective teams.

The draft is where teams build dynasties or suffer through prolonged periods of disappointment. Luckily for the Celtics, they've done an excellent job in the draft building a core of Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard.