Fultz would be tough to pass on. He's a three-level scorer with elite playmaking skills and under-appreciated vision. Given his length, strength and athleticism, he has a high defensive ceiling, though he wasn't great at that end in his one year at Washington. If any other team had the first pick, Fultz almost certainly goes No. 1, but Boston is unique as a team atop the lottery because it is ready to win now and already has Isaiah Thomas, .
But Jackson is a supremely athletic wing who projects as an impact, versatile defender from Day 1, and with him on board Boston would resemble Golden State with a host of long, liked-sized perimeter players who can switch all over defensively. Not only that, but Jackson could make guys like Jae Crowder or Jaylen Brown expendable if Boston wants to go after a big name. It was reported that Ainge's at last season's deadline.
At the same time, Fultz probably has more trade value than Jackson if Boston ends up with an opportunity to move its pick post-draft.
Jackson has star potential, with Andrew Wiggins as a decent comp. They're 6-foot-8 athletic freaks who can defend and finish in the open court with anyone. Shooting is a question. Wiggins jumped considerably to almost 36 percent from 3-point land this season, and Jackson shot over 37 percent from the college line, though neither is a pure shooter.
Boston needs shooting and scoring. Jackson can score, but got a lot of points in college off transition, amid half-court chaos and offensive rebounds. That figures to make creating his own points problematic in Year 1, which would make this pick suspicious on the surface given Boston's needs.
That said, the draft is only the start of the Celtics' summer.in free agency. Land one or both and scoring is not a problem next to Thomas. In that situation, Jackson slots in pretty nicely as another cover for Thomas' defensive deficiencies and another athlete to run at teams like Cleveland and Golden State.
Ultimately, Fultz has been on top of almost every board for a long time, and can be a No. 1 scorer for years, which is questionable for Jackson. Rumors always fly this time of year, and usually are just that. But nobody saw Jaylen Brown going third overall last year, and that's where Boston drafted him. If Ainge feels strongly about a pick, he has proven he'll go with his gut.