It was a controversial move to deal the No. 1 pick in the draft, especially with so many people viewing Markelle Fultz as by far the best player. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and company did not see it that way, however, noting after the draft that they felt the top of the board was rather even. Via MassLive:
"The draft was very even we felt at the top, all the way through maybe five or six," Ainge said. "And it was very difficult. There was a lot of players we liked in this year's draft."
"I think that he's a guy that we thought really highly of from Day 1," Stevens said of Tatum. "And I know Danny has. When I kind of got reintegrated into this process, right after the season was over, he was one of the guys that it was clear that we were targeting."
Furthermore, Ainge added that Tatum was who they would have taken with the top pick if they had kept it instead of making the deal with Philadelphia.
"Yes, we would have picked him with the first pick," Ainge said after the selection.
On the one hand, what else is he going to say?
But if Ainge truly feels that Tatum was a better prospect than Fultz, then he absolutely should have made the trade to get an extra top-five pick just to take Tatum at No. 3.
Only time will tell, however, if passing on Fultz was the right decision.