Jayson Tatum Says Harry Giles Only HS Player He Thought May Be Better Than Him

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2018

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum dunks during the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 104-102. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum is one of the NBA's best young players, but he revealed Friday that he didn't necessarily think he was the top player in the nation coming out of high school.

Tatum appeared on The Ringer's The Bill Simmons Podcast and heaped heavy praise on current Sacramento Kings power forward and former Duke teammate Harry Giles: "Harry was the only player I would've said in high school, 'Yeah, he might be better than me.' Our senior year he didn't play one game, and he was still ranked No. 1."

The Celtics took Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, while Giles fell to No. 20 for the Portland Trail Blazers, who then traded him to Sacramento.

Both players arrived at Duke in 2016 with high expectations, but only Tatum lived up to them.

Tatum averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and he was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team.

Injuries largely limited Giles, as he played just 11.5 minutes per game and finished with averages of 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Both players entered the NBA draft after one collegiate season, and Tatum continued the trend of being an offensive dynamo.

He averaged 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds last season en route to finishing third in NBA Rookie of the Year voting.

Giles sat out the entire 2017-18 campaign due to injury, but he impressed in this year's summer league, and there are high hopes for him entering the 2018-19 season.

All signs point toward Tatum becoming a perennial All-Star in the near future, but Giles' future with the Kings is cloudy since he will have to battle the likes of Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, rookie first-round pick Marvin Bagley III and others for playing time in the frontcourt.

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