Jayson Tatum: 'It's Danny's fault I didn't go No. 1'

Chris Forsberg
NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON - Jayson Tatum might be perfectly content to be playing in Boston but he still has a bone to pick with Danny Ainge about moving back before drafting him in 2017.

Tatum was on stage with Celtics teammate Kyrie Irving during a panel discussion at Thursday's Shamrock Foundation Gala at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel when the two Duke products started playfully ribbing each other.

Irving had been asked about playing at Duke when Tatum playfully interrupted to note, "[Irving] only played seven games in college."

Irving laughed then noted it was actually 11 games. Added Irving, "It takes others 30 games, or 60 games [to get drafted]. It takes some people 11. … Eleven games to get drafted. No. 1, baby."

As laughter died down, Tatum deadpanned, "It's Danny's fault I didn't go No. 1," which only drew more laughter from those on stage and in the crowd.

The Celtics traded the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft to Philadelphia in exchange for the No. 3 pick and a future first-round selection (Sacramento's 2019 pick that's top-1 protected). 

The Sixers chose Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick and the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball at No. 2, allowing Boston to get their desired target of Tatum at 3 while adding a future pick as well.

While Tatum has repeatedly noted how Boston was the perfect team for him, he can quibble how Ainge for costing him some money by moving down. Fultz will earn roughly $4 million more over the first three years of his rookie deal than Tatum. And there's simply the bragging rights that come with being the No. 1 overall selection.

Something Irving can claim but Tatum cannot.


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