Boston Celtics’ Danny Ainge believes player they want will still be available in draft

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images /

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge believes the player they would have selected with the first overall pick will still be available when the team now picks third.

The Boston Celtics made headlines when they traded out of the first overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. However, Celtics president Danny Ainge still believes they will get the player they would have selected at number one.

“We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1. So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset,” said Ainge to ESPN.

The Celtics traded the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the third overall pick in this year’s draft and a future first-round pick. That pick will either be a 2018 first from the Los Angeles Lakers if it falls between picks two and five or a 2019 first from the Sacramento Kings.

The 76ers are expected to take guard Markelle Fultz with the first pick, a player who was rumored to go to the Celtics before the trade.

“We think it’s very good value,” said Ainge. “We feel like it’s a jump-start for us. We’re getting the player we want. They’re getting the player they want. And we’ll get an additional player that we want in next year’s draft, or the year after. So I think it’s a good deal for both teams.”

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Possibilities for the Celtics who could still be available at the third pick include forwards Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum. The Celtics worked out Tatum Monday as well.

While Ainge isn’t going to admit it, Fultz is likely the player they would have selected if they kept the top pick. However, the Celtics might actually get a better fit for their roster by selecting a forward Thursday. With an additional pick in 2018 or 2019 as well, the cupboard continues to be stocked in Boston.