What a night.
Sure, the Celtics lost for the 57th time this season, and the playoffs will be played without them for the first time since 2007.
But tonight, even if for only one night, the basketball gods smiled down on the Celtics.
Boston's loss to the Wizards dropped them to 25-57, clinching at worst the 5th worst record in basketball. But then the Utah Jazz pulled off a fairly major upset, beating the Timberwolves in Minnesota, and improving to 25-57 themselves.
That means the teams tie for the fourth worst record, setting up this scenario:
Utah and Boston split the 207 ping pong balls that the 4th and 5th worst teams get. That means each team gets 103 (out of 1,000), and the final ball is decided by a coin flip. The coin flip is vital, because if neither team is selected in the lottery, the team that wins it picks before the other team. (Example: the Magic, Bucks and Sixers are picked 1-2-3, the winner of the coin flip will pick 4th, the loser, 5th).
So before we know the results of the coin flip, the Celtics have a 10.35% chance at picking first. They also have a 33.45% chance at landing in the top-three, or slightly better than 1-in-3.
Worst case: the Celtics lose the coin flip and three teams from lottery spots 6-14 jump ahead of them, giving them the 8th pick. This would be terrible, but has only a 0.2% chance of happening (doesn't mean a bunch of crazies still bitter about the Charlotte/Cleveland wins won't be yelling about how "we did all this for the 8th pick what a wasteeeee").
Another important draft note: The Wizards win combined with the Nets losing dropped Brooklyn to 6th in the East. This means that the Celtics second pick will be 17th in the draft instead of 18th, a pretty awesome place to be considering what we thought this pick would be in the pre-season.
So best case scenario (10.4% chance): The Celtics pick 1st and 17th.
Worst case (0.2%): The Celtics pick 8th and 17th.
Most likely: The Celtics pick between 4th and 6th, and again at #17.
Is it the best tanking season ever? No. But considering the 12-14 start, 25-57 is about as bad as they could have finished.
And most importantly..it's over. No more rooting against the Celtics, hopefully for a long, long time. Time to chill out, watch the playoffs, and then see what happens on May 20th at the lottery.
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For more of my articles, click here Michael Dyer 4/16/2014 11:16:00 PM Tweet