Only two games (one in the loss column), currently, separate the Celtics from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Many fans of the team are torn whether to root for wins or losses. Losing will give the Celts a better chance at a higher lottery pick. Winning could sneak them into the playoffs, where they'd more than likely get bounced after four or five games.
I posted this question to ESPN's Chris Forsberg, regarding that very topic:
What's better for the future of this team: Missing the playoffs for a lotto pick or making the playoffs for experience?
Forsberg had a well thought out response:
So let's say that Boston finishes where it currently stands with the ninth-worst record in the league. That would give the Celtics a 1.7 percent chance at the No. 1 pick and a 6.1 percent chance at a top 3 pick. That doing anything for you? Best-case scenario for #TeamLotto would seemingly be Boston getting down to the sixth-worst record, which is certainly feasible with only 1 ½ games separating them from that spot at the moment, though it's that Western trio of Jazz, Nuggets, and Kings ahead of them. That still leaves Boston with only a 6.3 percent chance at the top spot and a 21.5 percent chance at a top 3 pick. Sure, it's better odds, but remember that Boston tied for the fourth-worst record last season and still ended up at No. 6 overall.
Well, that does nothing for me. This upcoming draft class only has one real can't miss prospect in Duke's Jhalil Okafor. There is no Tim Duncan or LeBron James walking through the door in June's draft. I'd rather take my chances with a playoff push and deal with a selection in the middle of the first round, an area where GM Danny Ainge has thrived in the past (Al Jefferson 15th, Gerald Green 18th, Kelly Olynyk 13th, Avery Bradley 19th) than banking on a lottery system that has screwed the C's time after time.
Do we really want to see the face of another Celtics' executive as their heart (Tommy Heinsohn for one couldn't take it again) is crushed on national TV because the ping pong balls failed us again?
Forsberg goes on to, pretty much, sum up what I have been preaching to anyone who will listen:
But if the Celtics truly desire to build around this young core of players, then I think the value of simply being in a race for a playoff spot -- whether they get in or not -- and that potential to taste postseason basketball has a much higher likelihood of aiding the team's future than a slight uptick in the percentages of landing a top pick.
Now he is talking my language. Allowing the idea that losing is acceptable to enter the locker room will only force Marcus Smart and company to take huge steps backwards, rather than making strides forward to establish a philosophy of winning- something that is at the core of what it means to be a Celtic.
Thankfully, the culture being ingrained around this group, by Brad Stevens, is one of winning and getting better on a daily basis; making the playoffs would only be a positive, to that end. They certainly aren't trying to follow in the footsteps of the Sixers, who are openly tanking, losing games and destroying their fan base, in the process.
Developing the young core of Bradley, Smart, Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, James Young and Jae Crowder should be the number one priority as they fight for the chance to play basketball beyond game 82, in a playoff atmosphere.
So I for one am #TeamPlayoffPush. Let's try to win now and deal with the consequences later.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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Rob Welch 2/10/2015 10:58:00 PM Tweet Edit