Even though he was one of the major reasons why the Celtics ended up with the top pick in the 2017 draft, Paul Pierce could have actually played an even more prominent role in the recent NBA Draft Lottery.
According to Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, Pierce was originally the team’s pick to be their on-air representative at the lottery. Due to requirements of his television broadcasting job, however, Pierce was ultimately unable to attend (and Grousbeck triumphantly took his place). But in a recent episode of The Chris Mannix Show, Grousbeck revealed some background on the near-miss of Pierce’s cameo:
Chris Mannix: Clarify something here for me first, Wyc. Did you reach out to Paul Pierce to be a part of the team’s lottery group here in New York?
Wyc Grousbeck: I did, as a matter of fact. But he was busy with the telecast last night. He was going to be busy with the Western Conference finals. So yes, I did.
Mannix: So it worked out pretty well for you anyway.
Grousbeck: Worked out fine, but I thought Paul would’ve been a great representative. And we had to clear that with the Clippers and the NBA and make sure it was all fine with everybody and generously the Clippers said that was fine with them. And I think Paul would’ve done it, but just his broadcasting schedule, his new broadcasting career wouldn’t permit him to be there, so I went ahead and planned to take the bullet. I figured I’d probably lose the 25-75 (percent) chance, but then we won it.
The reason why the Celtics owned the best odds going into the lottery dates back to a now famous 2013 trade that sent Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a package that sent a score of draft picks back to Boston.
Despite not being present, Pierce was still quick to comment on the lottery news:
And look what I leave behind for the Celts on my way out #1 pick😂👌🏾🙏🔥
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) May 17, 2017