If you are a fan of the Boston Celtics, Christmas came early for you this week. Boston won the NBA Draft Lottery and will have the first overall pick in this year’s draft. The Celtics won the lottery the night after defeating the Washington Wizards in Game 7 to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Talk about luck of the Irish.
Normally, a team in the Conference Finals wouldn’t have the chance to pick number one overall, but because of a trade, Boston has that opportunity. The Celtics made a blockbuster deal back in 2013. The deal sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn for a handful of players and draft picks. One of those draft picks just so happened to be in 2017 in a year the Nets were the NBA’s worst team.
Also, the Celtics will have the Nets first round pick next year as well, so it’s not entirely out of the question that the Celtics could pick No. 1 overall next year.
Now, the questions of what should the Celtics do with the pick. They could easily just draft who they believe is the best overall player, and the consensus No. 1 draft prospect is Markelle Fultz out of Washington. This might seem like the logical choice, but that will make the Boston backcourt even more crowded. After next season, Isiah Thomas and Avery Bradley will be free agents. So would Fultz fit in this season?
Another thing the Celtics could do is cut ties with Avery or Bradley and pair the one that they keep with Fultz. Trading the pick this season doesn’t seem to be too logical, unless they can get a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, which is virtually unlikely. There have been rumors linking the Celtics to both Jimmy Butler and Paul George, but trading the pick for them wouldn’t be worth it, especially if George bolts to Los Angeles in free agency.
Boston is in a prime position to bolster their roster and make a run at James and the Cavaliers.
The Los Angeles Lakers had a 53% chance of losing their top-three pick, but the magic of Magic Johnson was on their side and they will pick No. 2 in June. This will be the third consecutive year that the Lakers pick second overall.
The player Johnson and the Lakers have their eye on is former UCLA guard, Lonzo Ball.
If the dream scenario for the Lakers plays out and the Celtics don’t take Ball first overall, then Johnson will have his point guard of the future. Along with Lonzo, the Lakers would get his father, LaVar, who is constantly finding himself in the media for his over the top comments.
LaVar Ball has been telling everyone who will listen that his son will be a Laker and now that has a good chance of being a reality. Lonzo already has a bunch of hype to live up to, but that mostly stems from his father’s big mouth and arrogant attitude.
If the Lakers do end up drafting Ball, that opens up some questions of their own. What would be next for D’Angello Russell, the No. 2 pick from 2015. They could use Russell and possibly another young player to trade for George and will be the favorites to sign him in free agency or just sign him to an extension.
The Philadelphia 76ers are continuing to trust the process and will pick third. They had a dream scenario of drafting first overall (which was their own pick) and then drafting 4-6 had the Lakers dropped out of the top-three and that pick would have gone to Philly. Regardless, the Sixers are in a good position and can go get a wing player they desperately need.
One of the biggest losers of the draft lottery is the Phoenix Suns. They tanked this season in hopes to landing the No. 1 overall pick, or at least a top-two pick, but essentially fell to four. This brings up the question if tanking is really worth it.
Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with the Celtics and Lakers, the two most storied franchises in NBA history, picking one and two overall. At the end of the day, that’s how the ping pong balls popped up and now we will have about a month of hearing all sorts of trade rumors.