A Celtics fans' guide to tonight's draft lottery: Odds, good luck charms, chance to recruit Jimmy Butler...
The 2016 NBA Draft Lottery will be televised tonight on ESPN at 8 pm, before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston enters the lottery with the third-most ping-pong ball combinations, courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics have the possibility to finish anywhere from first through sixth, with fifth being the single most likely outcome:
Celtics odds in the Draft Lottery tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/Wfb6rjFrVc— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2016
While seeing that 26.5% next to No. 5 may be discouraging for C's fans, consider this: With Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram as the virtually-guaranteed first and second picks, Boston has a combined 31.3% chance of landing one or the other at No. 1 or No. 2.
The reason the numbers work out this way is because the lottery only determines the top three spots in the draft. Once three teams are selected for first through third, it then proceeds in the reverse order of positioning, which is why Boston can't fall below sixth. The worst-case scenario for the Celtics is if three clubs behind them are chosen. Here's the full list of odds for each position:
The "chances" column adds up to 1,000 potential combinations of ping-pong balls numbered 1-14 when four are randomly chosen (there are actually 1,001 possibilities, with one unassigned). If you're interested in knowing the specific 156 permutations assigned to Boston, you can find them here.
Officially, the drawing happens behind close doors with one representative from each team as a witness. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck will be in the actual lottery room. Via ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg, Grousbeck said:
I will be wearing my  championship ring. That is the one lucky charm I have in my life.
In addition, Grousbeck spoke about the C's choosing Isaiah Thomas to represent them on TV, also via Forsberg:
[Thomas has] had a career year, he’s an All-Star, his smile fills the room, he has great positive energy, he's a great guy. And, actually, I just couldn't wait until next fall to see him again, representing the Celtics. Any time we can spend with Isaiah is a great time. I think he’s got luck all over him right now. He’s earned his year and his accolades, but you look at him and say, 'You’re a lucky guy.'
Isaiah will do his best to bring good fortune to the franchise as well:
Ha, Isaiah Thomas said in a text that he'll wear a green tie & green underwear to lottery. "Me being there will be all the luck we need LOL"— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) May 16, 2016
Below is the complete list of who will be in attendance for each club, both in in the back room and on stage for the television broadcast:
One notable participant from a Boston standpoint--the Bulls' Jimmy Butler. Regardless of how the C's luck unfolds, Thomas should have his recruiting pitch ready for the potential offseason trade target.
Follow Mark Van Deusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan