Looking back at the 2017 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics All-NBA First Teamer Jayson Tatum has clearly surpassed the two players that were also in the running to be the No. 1 pick: Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz and Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball.
Fultz, the player who the 76ers traded extra assets to the Cs in order to draft, is currently out of the rotation of his current team, a rebuilding Orlando Magic squad. Ball, meanwhile, was exiled from LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the Anthony Davis deal, and has since signed with the Chicago Bulls after two seasons in New Orleans.
While Donovan Mitchell offers the only true competition to Tatum as the best player of that draft, the prior year’s draft has a player that analyst Rashad Phillips believes is on No. 0’s level — and it’s not Jaylen Brown, but instead Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, another player traded from L.A. as part of the AD deal.
Phillips’ case for Ingram being on Tatum’s level had to do with the latter’s place under brighter lights:
The reason why Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum is on a different level than star Brandon Ingram
Rashad Phillips made a good point: Jayson Tatum is under a brighter light than Brandon Ingram is. But the reason for that isn’t because the city of Boston has nearly double the population that New Orleans does.
Instead, it has to do with the Celtics being in the NBA Finals a season ago, the Conference finals two seasons ago, and the Pelicans having won two playoff games since Ingram came aboard. Ingram had the chance to become a superstar alongside LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, but that roster imploded. All he needed to do was be the perfect wing sidekick to the ‘king,’ but instead he was dealt away for Anthony Davis and went from the second largest market in the United States to the 53rd.
While Ingram scores at a similar level to Tatum, until he can be apart of any meaningful success anywhere, the argument that he’s on Tatum’s level overall as a player falls short just as Ingram’s teams typically do.