With one game remaining, the Nets have the 3rd-worst record in the NBA at 21-60. The Suns are just a game back (in the lottery standings) at 22-59. Brooklyn closes the season at home Wednesday against a Toronto team with nothing to play for that is likely to rest people. Phoenix hosts the Clippers Wednesday, but L.A. is in the same boat as the Raptors.
If the Nets lose or the Suns win, Boston will enter the lottery in the No. 3 spot with Brooklyn's pick. But if the Nets win and Phoenix loses, the two clubs will each finish 22-60. The important thing to note here is that regular tiebreakers do not apply when it comes to draft position. When multiple lottery teams have the same record, they split the odds.
For example, in this case the No. 3 team has a 15.6% chance at the No. 1 pick, while the No. 4 club's is 11.9%. When 3rd and 4th are tied, they split the difference and both get roughly a 13.8% shot at No. 1. That's Boston's worst-case scenario with the Brooklyn pick.
However, the lottery only determines the top three positions in the draft. After that, it goes by reverse order of record. If neither the Nets or Suns get chosen in the top three, a coin flip will decide which franchise picks first--that's the standard tiebreaker for draft position among teams with identical records. The Celtics choice could fall all the way to 7th if a trio of teams outside of the top three all move up in the lottery and Brooklyn loses the coin toss to Phoenix, but that is extremely unlikely.
Moving on, the Mavericks locked up a playoff spot Monday, and at 42-39 they're guaranteed at least the No. 7 seed in the West. Dallas currently has the 16th-worst record in the league, which is the best-case scenario for Boston at this point. Unfortunately for the C's, the Mavericks are only one win back of Memphis, Portland, Detroit and Indiana (the Mavs finish with San Antonio, but the Spurs will have no reason to play hard). Depending on what happens over the last two days of the season (and then possibly coin-flip tiebreakers), the Celtics' pick from Dallas might end up as low as 20th overall.
Boston's own first-round pick is currently slotted in the 21-22 position, tied with Charlotte's. Similar to the Dallas situation, the Celtics are within a game of Charlotte, Miami and Atlanta. Tuesday's and Wednesday's results, followed by possible coin flips, will have the C's selecting between 21st and 24th.
The Celtics also own a pair of early second-round choices that will be very close to late first-rounders--the Sixers' at No. 31, and the Timberwolves' at No. 35 (not to mention a few more second-rounders from Memphis at 45-48, Miami at 51-54 and Cleveland at 58). Both the Philadelphia and Minnesota positions are locked in.
Here's the overall outlook for Boston:
Best case - 1, 16, 21, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58
Worse case - 7, 20, 24, 31, 35, 48, 54, 58
Either way, the C's have the rights to 14.3% of the top 35 picks in this spring's draft.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan
Mark Van Deusen 4/12/2016 02:44:00 PM Tweet Edit