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19th the new lottery?

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  April 17, 2010 10:47 AM

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The Celtics picked up their first win of the postseason. Tied with San Antonio, Portlant and Oklahoma City (as if they haven't done enough damage in the draft already), the Celtics won the tiebreaker for the 19th pick.

It's not a bad place for the Cs to fall. If they hold onto it, it would be the highest pick they've landed and kept since taking Gerald Green with the 18th pick in 2005. But thanks to one of the side effects of the potential lockout in 2011, the pick has even more potential.

Realizing that it's either enter the draft now or risk not being drafted at all during a lockout year, a ton of freshmen have thrown their name in the mix flooding the talent pool.

Depending on which mock draft you're eying, as many as nine of the first 14 picks could be underclassmen. Kentucky's losing five players to the draft. The Celtics could benefit from a suddenly rich field.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes:

When it comes to depth of talent, this could set up as a two-for-one sale.

With union executives traveling team to team in recent weeks to warn about a potential lockout in 2011, when the current collective-bargaining agreement is set to expire, it could mean that those who wait until the 2011 draft might have to wait until the 2012-13 season to cash their first NBA paychecks.

With the deadline for early entry moved up this season to April 25, prospects won't have much more time to get a read on where the NBA's dormant negotiations are headed.

By waiting until 2011 to enter the draft, current underclassmen also could find themselves losing an additional year under the NBA's "rookie clock" before they can cash in during free agency, with that clock to be halted during a lockout.

For some, the process is a no-brainer. Kentucky guard John Wall is on the way, as is Ohio State guard Even Turner, with those two expected to be the first two selections.

Expectations are that Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson also is in his final collegiate days, with Wall teammates DeMarcus Cousin, Patrick Patterson and possibly even Eric Bledsoe to go pro.

For now, Georgia Tech freshman forward Derrick Favors claims he is undecided, with Greg Monroe insisting he is returning to Georgetown.

Yet can any player with pro potential afford not to make the jump this June?

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