The NBA Draft Lottery is one of my favorite events of the year. The franchise-changing, unpredictable event can change the landscape of the NBA just because of a few ping-pong balls. We haven’t seen anything crazy in the lottery over the past few years, but this year there are new rules and different percentages for each pick.
There are now four teams that have the same odds to land the #1 overall pick. The teams at the bottom of the lottery, like Boston, have a much better chance to move up in the draft. For example, the Celtics have a 1% chance to receive the first overall pick, while also having a 1.4% chance of making a top-4 selection.
Now, those odds aren’t great. Celtics fans shouldn’t get their hopes up at all thinking the Celtics are going to draft yet another top prospect in the NBA Draft. But the fact of the matter is, this can really happen. If the Celtics’ pick isn’t called right off the bat at 14, the pick shoots all the way up the board and becomes a top-4 pick. We just don’t want it to be the first overall pick, because then Philadelphia would get the pick and the Celtics would slip all the way down to Philly’s pick at 24. That would be an absolute nightmare.
So let’s say the Celtics’ pick somehow becomes a top-4 selection. What do the Celtics do with the pick? Do they draft a player expecting to add him to the young core with Jayson and Jaylen, or do you trade that pick to New Orleans as apart of an Anthony Davis trade? This is how I see these two scenarios playing out:
Let’s say the Celtics do get a top-4 pick, and Danny Ainge is confident Kyrie wants to re-sign in Boston. Danny Ainge wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a trade for Anthony Davis to pair him with Kyrie. Getting a high lottery pick would be huge for Boston because it’d tempt New Orleans to make a trade and take a top draft pick, a potential star, and role players in exchange for Davis. The Celtics arguably have the best odds at landing Davis because of all the assets Danny Ainge has added up over the years, but receiving this pick makes the trade seem much more likely to happen.
What if Kyrie Irving leaves town and signs elsewhere? What do we do with the pick now? There are some who would still want to trade for Anthony Davis even with Kyrie gone, but this wouldn’t be a smart decision. Let’s say the Celtics get the second overall pick and select Ja Morant. If I was Danny Ainge and I had Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown on my roster, I wouldn’t dare touch that trio. The Triple J’s (if the Celtics draft Ja, I want full credit for that nickname) would be spectacular and solidify Boston as the best young team in the NBA. Sure they wouldn’t have a “superstar,” but they’d have three young players who all have the potential to be a star.
Like I said before, I wouldn’t get your hopes up thinking the Celtics will get another top pick in the draft. It’s improbable that these scenarios that I mentioned will happen, but it’s fun to think about the different situations and how they can all play out. Who knows, maybe the luck of the Irish will be on the Celtics’ side tonight.
Photo: CBS Boston