By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — After a little bit of a scare in the past two weeks, Boston fans are welcome to let out a sigh of relief after the Brooklyn Nets clinched the worst record in the NBA Friday night.
The Phoenix Suns surprisingly snapped a 13-game losing streak against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, improving the Suns record to 23-57 on the season. That mark gives the Nets (19-60) a 3.5 game edge for worst overall record in the league, putting them in a spot where they can’t be caught by Phoenix with just three regular season games remaining to make up the gap.
Here’s the current standings at the bottom of the league:
- Brooklyn 19-60
- Phoenix 23-57 (3.5 GB)
- LA Lakers 24-55 (5 GB)
All of this comes as terrific news for Boston as the franchise will exercise their right to swap draft picks with Brooklyn ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft. That means the Celtics will have the best overall odds at the 2017 NBA Lottery to land one of the top-tier prospects in this year’s rookie class.
Elite names like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox have already declared for this year’s draft and Boston will be guaranteed to have a shot at landing at least one of them, since they can finish with no worse than the No. 4 overall pick during the draft lottery process when holding the No. 1 overall odds.
Here’s the full breakdown of the odds the Celtics will have on draft night of earning each respective pick within the top 4.
No. 1: 25%
No. 2: 21.5%
No. 3: 17.7%
No. 4: 35.8%
The NBA team with the worst record has only won the top pick five times during the 31-year history of the lottery. However, back-to-back teams with the worst record (Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves) have won the draft lottery in the last two years.
The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 16 prior to one of the Conference Finals matchup. Depending on how well the postseason run goes for Boston, it could be a very exciting night for C’s fans.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.