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The Nets pretty much lose two games for every one they win. They sit at 8-21. It's the third worst record in the league, a position that seems to have N-E-T-S written all over it. While the Sixers remain historically terrible and the Lakers are only 5-24, the fourth-worst Pelicans are .500 over their last ten games and seem to be striding ardently toward mediocrity. The Nets stand a game and a half ahead of the Pelicans and two games ahead of the Blazers in the reverse standings, distance that is harder to overcome when you're dealing with teams that lose as often as the best teams win.

The Celtics would have a 46.9% chance of a top 3 pick and a 15.6% at number 1 overall if the season ended today. That's nice. Ben Simmons might not be shooting the way a basketball god should, but neither could Lebron at 18. You can build a team around a Lebron. And when was the last time a blue chip number one pick ended up on a good basketball team? It was Tim Duncan landing on the San Antonio Spurs. That worked out pretty well. I just had to inject some hyperbole into the Ben Simmons dream on this site after someone talked about him rationally yesterday.

Brandon Ingram is evolving into a nice consolation prize for whoever lands the number 2 pick. ESPN's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton seem to think his best comp is the Greek Freak. The kid doesn't turn 18 until September and his bag-of-bones frame is reminding people of young Kevin Durant on the extremely optimistic end and Tayshaun Prince on the extremely pessimistic end. It's not quite New Year's yet, and atop the way too early Mock Drafts are two college prospects looking like impact players. Now we just have to figure out if Croatian sensation Dragen Bender is the next Kristaps Porzingis and we can start to really ramp up the hype for next year's draft.

The fact that we can even talk about these prospects with a straight face is thanks to the Brooklyn Nets ineptitude at team building on a multitude of levels. This holiday season, remember to be thankful for the Nets pick.

Here's a look at where the Celtics stand with the 2016 NBA Draft:

THE PICK: BROOKLYN FIRST ROUNDER (UNPROTECTED)

Record: (8-21)
If the draft were today this would be the number 3 pick.
The week ahead: Sat vs. Wash; Mon @ Miami; Wed @ Orl

Running into a Washington team that's won three straight, a solid Miami outfit on the road, and an athletic Orlando team that beat the Nets by 23 at the Barclays Center just last week... the Nets won't win another game until 2016. As the season wears on and the Nets have nothing to play for and nothing to tank for, look for this team to continue to melt away into a pit of despair. The Celtics will have the third most pick pong balls come lottery time in May, and that's a beautiful thing. 

THE PICK: DALLAS FIRST ROUNDER (PROTECTED 1-7)

Record: (16-13)
If the draft were today this would be the number 18 pick.
The week ahead: Sat vs. Chi; Mon vs Mil; Wed vs GS

The Mavs are 5-5 over their last ten games. They look like a .500 team. Deron Williams and Devon Harris are both down with hamstring injuries and the Mavs are destined to finish the year right with as many losses as wins. Book it. In the Western Conference, that's a lottery pick, right? Actually, no. Not even close. Last year, the Thunder missed the playoffs with a 45-37 record. This year, the 12-15 Jazz would secure the 8th seed if the playoffs started today. The Phoenix Suns falling off a cliff this year and the Pelicans shocking turn for the worse puts the Western Conference in a weird place. This surprising lack of depth in the West, combined with the ten competent teams (eleven if you include the slightly surging Wiz) that will battle for playoff spots in the East and this pick seems very unlikely to be better than the 16th selection. Still a decent pick, but not the late lottery pick Celtics fans were hoping for.

THE PICK: MINNESOTA FIRST ROUNDER (PROTECTED 1-12)

Record: (11-18)
If the draft were today this selection would be conveyed to the Celtics as one of two second round picks. The first rounder would be protected and Minnesota would have the number 6 pick.
The week ahead: Doesn't matter

RIP any chance of getting this pick. I'm surrendering. Even with KG screaming at them, this team can't play solid defense. Their reliance on mid-range jumpers is such an antiquated way of developing elite young talent. Sam Mitchell won't be the coach next year, and until someone else is, this team isn't happening yet. Prove me wrong young Wolves, prove me wrong.

THE PICK: YOUR BOSTON CELTICS

Record: (16-13)
If the draft were today this would be the number 14 pick.
The week ahead: Sat @ Det; Sun vs. NYK; Wed vs. LAL

Revenge game at Detroit = win. Trip to MSG just before Phish New Year's run = fired up Kelly Olynyk = win. Final trip to the Garden for Kobe = win.

This isn't working. While technically in the lottery right now and their playoff positioning figuring to be very much up in the air in the crowded East until the final weeks of the season, I refuse to put the Celtics in this space again. BUT while I'm here, if things don't shake out for the Celtics in the playoff hunt, it will be fun to root for a ridiculous longshot miracle of a 1-2 punch of Simmons and Ingram come ping-pong ball time.

THE PICK: PHILADELPHIA SECOND ROUNDER (UNPROTECTED)

Record: (1-30)
If the draft were today this would be the number 31 pick.
The week ahead: Doesn't matter.

Adam Silver can go ahead and give the Celtics the first pick of the second round today. It's over. The Sixers are the worst team in the league. I mean, this tweet:



From tankathon.com, the draft picture as of this morning:




Photo Credit Nathaniel Butler/MBAE via Getty Images

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Paul Colahan 12/24/2015 09:32:00 AM Edit
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