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Examining The Celtics' Draft Lottery Odds

The moment of truth comes tonight for the Celtics sometime shortly after 8 p.m. ET once the NBA unveils the results of the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery. You have probably heard about the full lottery odds by now, but here is a quick reminder of the Celtics' chances of landing any potential pick from 1-8. The only place the C's could not land is the fourth spot in that range due to losing a tiebreaker with the Jazz last month. Here is the full breakdown:

First: 10.3 percent
Second: 11.1 percent
Third: 12 percent
Fourth: 0 percent
Fifth: 23.7 percent
Sixth: 34.2 percent
Seventh: 8.2 percent
Eighth: 0.3 percent

As you watch the lottery show tonight, you will be able to tell whether things are going well for the Celtics (or not) prior to the team's pick being announced. The reason for that is once the top 3 picks are selected, the rest of the lottery draft order is determined by the regular season record of the remaining teams, from worst to best.

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Here's the order of those teams based on the team's regular season record heading into tonight's lottery.

14. Phoenix Suns
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Orlando Magic (via Denver Nuggets)
11. Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks)
10. New Orleans Pelicans
9. Cleveland Cavaliers
8. Detroit Pistons
7. Sacramento Kings
6. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Boston Celtics
4. Utah Jazz
3. Orlando Magic
2. Philadelphia 76ers
1. Milwaukee Bucks

If the envelopes are opened up for the teams in this order, up until the Celtics spot at five, that's great news for Boston fans. That order would indicate no better team has "jumped" the Celtics in the lottery order and moved into the top 3.

If the above order starts to deviate in slots 8-14, with a team or teams like the Cavs or Wolves missing from their expected slots early on then Celtics fans know that's bad news for their chances. Any of these teams moving up doesn't eliminate Boston's chances of moving up as well, but it does increase the odds their potential draft position will move down to sixth, seventh, or eighth.

Based on this, the best thing Celtics fans can hope for the early portion of tonight's show is that every team ends up in their expected spot, up until the envelope with the fifth pick is unveiled.