BOSTON (CBS) — While the team is focused on securing a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics’ brass is preparing for next week’s NBA Draft Lottery.
The ping-pong balls haven’t been friendly to the Celtics over the years (Boston has never won the top overall pick), but they’re hoping co-owner Wyc Grousbeck can break that trend when he represents the team at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.
The Celtics have the best odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick, still reaping the benefits of Danny Ainge’s highway robbery of the Brooklyn Nets in his 2013 trade of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. They can do no worse than the fourth overall selection.
Last year, Isaiah Thomas represented the team when they landed the third overall pick (used to draft Jaylen Brown) as the ping-pong balls bounced as they were expected. Fans were hoping the recently retired Paul Pierce would be up on the stage for Boston next week, but it’s fitting that Grousbeck will be the one. He famously promised “fireworks” three summers ago, and while Boston did their best last year with the courtship of free agent Kevin Durant and the signing of Al Horford, landing the top overall pick would be the equivalent of Grousbeck lighting the fuse. That, or it could end up being another dud, a sparkler instead of an M-80.
The NBA Draft is loaded at the top with Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Kansas’ Josh Jackson the cream of the crop, so the Celtics could add one of those three promising players to an already impressive roster in need of some added star power. Owning the top pick would also greatly improve Ainge’s odds at trading for a superstar this summer if that’s the route Boston chooses, so either way, Ainge will have options.
It’s pretty incredible that the Celtics are one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals and also have a chance at landing the top overall pick next week.