Leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, Jayson Tatum wanted to be drafted by the Phoenix Suns.
Tatum knew Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball would be the first two picks, and he hoped he'd fall to the Suns at No. 4 after the Boston Celtics traded down from No. 1 to No. 3. Earl Watson was pushing for the Suns to do whatever was necessary to draft Tatum while Robert Sarver preferred Josh Jackson.
“Earl is my guy,” Tatum said. “I called my mom, I’m like, ‘Yo, I think I want to go to Phoenix.’”
Tatum's agent, Jeff Wechsler, called him about setting up a second workout with the Celtics. Tatum wasn't budging when Wechsler tried to sell him on Boston.
“We hang up,” Tatum said. “I’m like, ‘I’m not going to this workout. I’m cool.’”
It took Mike Krzyzewski to sell Tatum on Brad Stevens and the Celtics before he agreed to the workout.
“When I finally heard my name called it was by far the best day of my life because it was what I’d been working for, for 16 years,” Tatum said. “But there was a part of me that didn’t really want to go to Boston because they just were the No. 1 team in the East. They had Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, (Marcus) Smart, (Jaylen Brown), Jae Crowder. I was like, man, I’m not going to play. I’m trying to get buckets. But everything worked out.”
“I was pushing Tatum,” Watson said. “Like, we had to move up for Tatum, we had to get Tatum. And ownership chose Josh Jackson. … I knew the two players were dynamically different, but my vision was what’s the best fit for Devin Booker. Booker and Tatum, I think a combination like that right now would have been completely different than anything in the NBA at that age.”