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Not trying to step on the toes of Wiggins Watch (coming tomorrow), but I couldn't help but notice that poor stretches by all three of the Celtics (0-4 in their last four games), Hawks (1-8 in their last nine), and Nets (5-6 in their last 11) have put the Celtics' draft hopes in their best position of the season.

If the season ended today, the Celtics would hold down the fourth spot in the lottery, behind only the Bucks, Sixers and Magic. If they can hold off the likes of the Lakers, Jazz, Kings and Knicks and remain in fourth, they would have an 11.9% chance at picking 1st, a 37.8% chance of picking in the top-three, and an 82.8% chance of picking in the top-five. Not bad.

Of course, the Celtics also own whatever is a worse pick between the Nets and Hawks selection thanks to the Pierce/KG deal. Well, the banged up Hawks have fallen apart, losing eight in a row before a win last night and tumbling all the way down to the seventh seed in the East. The Nets have not been nearly as bad, but their pedestrian 5-6 stretch since the Pierce/Garnett Garden return has them sitting at 25-28 and in the eight-spot.

That means (again, if the season ended today..and it does not) the Hawks would currently get the Nets' pick, which is 15th (the first non-lottery pick) while the Celtics would get the Hawks' pick, which is 16th (the second non-lottery pick).

When the Celtics made the trade with the Nets it was thought that the 2014 pick they received would be in the mid-20s. Instead the Celts could find themselves owners of a pick just outside the lottery. Again, not bad.

As for what players the Celtics would select with those picks, there's no way to know for sure, but we at least have an idea.

According to Chad Ford, the #4 prospect is Australian point guard Dante Exum, and the #5 guy is Kentucky power forward Julius Randle. Ford has Michigan shooting guard Nick Stauskas (44% career three-point shooter) at #16.

Draft Express on the other hand has Randle at #4 (Exum at #5), and Swiss big man Clint Capela at #16 (with Duke sharp-shooter Rodney Hood at #17) in their most recent mock (from Tuesday).

Obviously 25 games give the Celtics, Nets and/or Hawks time to get hot and cause a slide in draft position, but considering the Celtics talent situation (bleak), the Hawks injury situation (dire), and the Nets old-ness situation (really f**king old) — there is reason for optimism that the Cs will be in really nice shape come draft night. Just the news we need as we start to wind down the first losing season around these parts since 2006-07.


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Michael Dyer 2/23/2014 02:27:00 PM Edit
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