NBA Draft: Tracking possible Jayson Tatum destinations

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO- By late Thursday night, Chaminade College Prep grad Jayson Tatum will know where his NBA career will start and where he fits into the league’s draft lottery picture. As soon as he announced his intention to leave Duke after his freshman season, he was already billed as a top 8 pick, but in the last few weeks, he’s moved into the top 5 for most prognosticators.  So if the “when” of the equation is getting easier to determine, the “where” is still something of a jump ball.

Let’s review the possibilities and what’s driving the market, with the caveat that, this close to any draft, accurate tea leaves can be hard to find.

You can cross off Philadelphia at number 1 and the Los Angeles Lakers at number 2. The 76ers traded for Boston’s top overall pick where they are widely expected to select Washington guard Markelle Fultz. The Lakers would appear poised to select UCLA guard Lonzo Ball after a trade with Brooklyn sent guard D’Angelo Russell to the Nets.

The Boston Celtics pick third, and team exec Danny Ainge said after the Philadelphia trade that his team could select the same player there that they would have taken at the top, leading some to suspect Tatum could be the target here. He’d join a list of other St. Louis area natives to play in Beantown at some point in their careers, including fellow Chaminade alum David Lee, JoJo White, David Thirdkill and Ed Macauley.

The Phoenix Suns are next up at number 4.  But do they keep the pick? Given some of the trade speculation swirling around, this could be a spot that ends up in the hands of the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Clippers. Any of them would be prime candidates to select Tatum or Kansas forward Josh Jackson.

It would be hard to imagine Tatum still being on the board past the number 6 pick, regardless of who has it.