NBA

Celtics GM Danny Ainge doubts Jayson Tatum's chances of winning Rookie of the Year

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The Boston Celtics may have traded this year's number one pick in the draft, but they were still able to select the player they wanted in Jayson Tatum as well as acquiring more assets.

The Duke product was the number three overall pick and has the potential to be the best player of his class.

This year's batch is certainly one of the best in recent years and there is real excitement surrounding many of the talented players ready to ply their trade in the NBA this season.

Lonzo Ball may be generating all the hype but the likes of Tatum, Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. could all make significant impacts for their teams.

With that in mind, this year's battle for Rookie of the Year will be fiercely contested. It should also be noted that Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will also be eligible for the award as it'll be his rookie campaign following a year out with injury.

Many of the aforementioned players were selected by teams who failed to make the playoffs and are likely to enter their starting lineups and play significant minutes.

For Tatum, however, his situation is slightly different having been selected by the Celtics. The C's made the Eastern Conference Finals and had a high lottery pick via the Brooklyn Nets and the youngster may not see as much time as his compatriots on the floor.

Not many top draft picks can say they'll share the floor with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and compete for a championship in their rookie season.

That's why general manager Danny Ainge is sceptical about the small forward's chances of being crowned ROY.

"We’ll see what minutes (Tatum) will earn," he said. "I’m not worried about how they will play when the lights go on. It will be unlikely that Jayson is Rookie of the Year because it will probably come from a team that starts their rookies and plays them 35 minutes per night."

It's a fair assessment by Ainge and Tatum would surely be happy to forego that individual honour to represent a winning franchise that is likely to make a deep playoff run.

The 19-year-old's contribution to Boston's goals for the year will far outweigh what his fellow rookies will be doing elsewhere and that is a unique position to be in which will help his development instantly.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division

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