Holding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22, the Boston Celtics have been linked to former University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.
The 6’4” standout is widely regarded as a stat sheet filler, as he put up 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per contest in his one-and-done freshman season.
However, since Fultz thrives with the ball in his hands, he might not be the best fit in Boston, who benefitted from the All-Star play of Isaiah Thomas this past season. Therefore, while Fultz might be the best overall talent in the draft, someone else might make more sense for the C’s.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, multiple sources have linked Josh Jackson to the Celtics over the past few days.
The 6’8” wing player excelled at the University of Kansas during his one-and-done season, putting up 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. He is recognized as one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft.
"I've picked Danny's brain for years," an anonymous GM told Ford. "Jackson is an Ainge player all the way. Tough, athletic, long, versatile, elite motor. If he's keeping the pick, Jackson just to me, far and away, is the most Celtics-type player for them to draft. From all my conversations with them, I'm convinced they'll take Jackson No. 1.”
Jackson’s agent B.J. Armstrong confirmed that Boston has been in contact with his camp.
"We have great respect for Boston and Danny Ainge," Armstrong explained to Ford. "That's a championship-caliber organization and Josh brings the things that I know Danny values. He can defend his position at an elite level. He can rebound for his position at an elite level and he can pass for his position at an elite level. All the championship-caliber teams are looking for players who can do those three things. And I know they want winners.”
Armstrong continued, ”We're in dialogue with Boston. We're very respectful of them. They have the No. 1 pick and can select whoever they choose. We just need to see how things play out over the next week.”
"We like him a lot,” Ford’s anonymous Celtics source said about Jackson. "But we like several guys a lot. We've got a week to figure it out.”
Since this draft class seems to be loaded, the difference in talent towards the top might not be as obvious as in other years. Therefore, the possibility remains that Boston could draft based on positional need rather than overall talent or potential.