When it comes to the NBA Draft, oftentimes we find that the best player in a respective class was not taken with the first overall pick. Such is the case for 2017 where, with the third overall selection, the Boston Celtics unequivocally managed to come away with the best player on the night in Duke forward, Jayson Tatum.
Heading into his fifth season in the association, the, now, 23-year-old has managed to thrust himself into the conversation for best player under the age of 25 and finds himself right on the cusp of superstardom.
Frankly, with career averages of 19.4 points and 6.3 rebounds on 46 percent shooting from the floor and 39 percent shooting from deep along with two All-Star selections and an All-NBA selection, it’s hard to argue against his high-end status within the league.
When looking back on that fateful night five Junes ago, many are under the impression that both the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers (the only two teams ahead of Boston in the pecking order) regret their decision to pass up on Tatum.
If there was a time machine, and the league was able to have some sort of do-over, it’s almost a certainty that neither one of these squads would make the same mistake twice if the wing were to still be available once they were on the clock.
The folks at Bleacher Report share this mindset as well, which is why, in their recent 2017 NBA Re-Draft piece, we see the Sixers utilizing their first overall pick (assuming the Boston Celtics still wound up trading it to them) to secure the future superstar to formulate a menacing Big-3 alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Now, of course, this alternate reality would certainly be an upsetting one for shamrocks fans, as they would ultimately lose their current franchise cornerstone in the process.
However, in this scenario, the Celtics still wind up landing another foundational talent in the association in All-Star big man, Bam Adebayo.
Citing the 24-year-old’s awe-inspiring versatility coupled with his stellar efficiency and current status as one of the best centers in the NBA today, writer, Andy Bailey, believes that with Tatum and, with how this re-draft unfolded, Donovan Mitchell off the board, snagging Adebayo would be the most logical route for then President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, to have embarked down:
At 6’9″, he has the size and athleticism to dominate as a rim protector and rim runner, but he’s also quick enough to defend wings on the perimeter.
He’s also a good (though maybe not great) rebounder. And last season, he shot 79.2 percent on shots within three feet of the rim.
What’s perhaps most encouraging, though, is the passing. Over the last two seasons, Adebayo has averaged 5.3 assists, a mark that trails only Jimmy Butler among Miami Heat players.
And Adebayo isn’t just making run-of-the-mill kickout passes from the post (though even those take some skill against NBA defenses). He’s passing on the move, from the elbow, out of drives, you name it.
Having a center who can run possessions can work wonders for everyone else on the roster. Those extra off-ball possessions increase efficiency for guards and wings, and forcing bigs to defend a variety of actions in space can wear them out or get them into foul trouble.
A fantastic talent that can do essentially everything on the hardwood, landing Bam Adebayo in an alternate universe is not something Boston Celtics fans would be irate about — in 2020-21, the center posted stupendous all-around averages of 18.7 points, nine boards, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and a block on 57 percent shooting from the floor.
That said, how things unfolded within the universe that we actually do live in undoubtedly looks to have been the best-case scenario for the ball club and, this past year, Tatum went on to put forth his best season yet, posting averages of 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game on 46 percent shooting from the floor and 38.6 percent shooting from deep.
Now, while Brown and Adebayo very well could have proven to be a great one-two punch to have in the long run, the Houdini believes these types of alternate realities would stand to benefit 29 other ball clubs not named the Boston Celtics.