Boston Celtics

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

BOSTON -- Danny Ainge has maintained that if the Celtics had held onto the No. 1 pick in last June’s draft instead of trading down two spots, he still would have made Jayson Tatum his choice.
 
That confidence that Tatum will be an impact player in this league is clear in the recent NBA.com rookie survey, which was released Tuesday morning.
 
While Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. was voted as the most likely Rookie of the Year, Tatum and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball were tied with 18.4 percent of the votes, as the players who would have the best careers from this NBA rookie class.


 
The survey was compiled earlier this month at Panini’s NBA Rookie Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y., and consisted of questions being asked of 39 rookies.
 
Tatum, selected by Boston with the No. 3 overall pick, did not finish in the top five in any other categories.
 
However, he was among those players to receive some votes for Rookie of the Year; biggest steal of the draft, and best playmaker.

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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