BOSTON (CBS) — It’s not often that a player gets drafted third overall and finds himself on a team looking to win an NBA title.
But that’s the situation Jayson Tatum finds himself in after the Boston Celtics drafted him on Thursday night. Tatum was formally introduced by the Celtics at their practice facilities in Waltham on Friday, and the joy of being drafted is still fresh for the 19-year-old.
“I’m honored and thankful for the Celtics organization for drafting me last night. It was a dream come true just to be drafted, and to be drafted by the best franchise in NBA history, I’m excited to be here,” said Tatum shortly after he showed off his No. 11 Celtics jersey for the first time.
Tatum brings his skillful offensive attack to a team that just won 53 games and made a postseason run to the conference finals. He knows there’s plenty of work to do on his end in order to enjoy the same success he had at the college level at Duke, but he’s excited for the chance to learn from Boston’s veteran players like Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas.
“I look at it as a great opportunity,” he said. “A team that was No. 1 in the East last season and has so many great guys and veterans. As a rookie I can come in and do my work, learn from the guys in the locker room.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens seems just as eager to deploy his new versatile weapon. Stevens said the Utah and Vegas Summer Leagues will provide Tatum and the other Boston rookies a chance to learn what life will be like in the NBA, from the daily routine to filling their down time properly on off days. Most importantly, the summer action will help them get acclimated to the team’s system ahead of training camp in October.
“That’s a great benefit of summer league. That’s huge. Before anyone on our summer league roster takes the floor, we’ll talk about who we want to be and our approach,” said Stevens. “It will be a good three-day minicamp to get a pulse on how we’ll play. It won’t be exactly how we’ll play, but a lot of linger and coverages. Although quick, those three days will help lay that foundation.”
He’ll get his first taste of Celtics basketball out on the West Coast, but Tatum is looking forward to play in front of Boston fans, whom he calls “the best fans in the world.”
“They have a sense of pride and tradition, with the great franchise and all these championships and great players. They’re very prideful, as they should be, about their team,” said Tatum.