The Celtics season comes to a merciful conclusion tonight against the Washington Wizards. That contest, along with a handful of others, will have an impact on seeding for the playoffs as well as on the NBA Draft Lottery odds. Let’s run through the various scenarios to see how tonight’s results could impact Boston’s potential draft lottery position.
Games of interest for Celtics fans: Washington at Boston, Utah at Minnesota, LA Lakers at San Antonio.
Lottery standings heading into tonight’s games
1. Milwaukee 15-66
2. Philadelphia 18-63
3. Orlando 23-58
4. Utah 24-57
5. Boston 25-56
6. LA Lakers 26-55
Boston finishes in a tie with Utah for fourth-worst record if the Celtics lose to the Wizards and the Jazz defeat the Wolves. In this scenario, Boston would have a 10.35 percent chance at the top pick, and a 33.5 percent chance at a top-3 pick, after splitting the odds with Utah.
Boston finishes alone with the fifth-worst record in a couple of different scenarios. First, if Utah falls to Minnesota and the Lakers defeat the Spurs, the Celtics will finish in the fifth spot whether they win or lose tonight. If the Celtics lose and the Wolves beat the Jazz, Boston will also be alone with the fifth worst record, as the Lakers result won’t impact the standings in that scenario. The Celtics would have an 8.8 percent chance at the top pick, and a 29.2 percent chance at the top-3 if they finish alone in the fifth-worst position.
Boston finishes tied with the LA Lakers for the fifth-worst record if the Celtics beat Washington tonight and the Lakers fall to the Spurs. Given that the Wizards are still fighting for the sixth overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs against Boston, a loss for Boston tonight seems probable. A tie with the Lakers in the fifth spot would damage Boston’s lottery odds, giving them a 7.55 percent chance at the top pick and a 25.35 percent chance of landing in the top-3.
Bonus game of interest: Brooklyn at Cleveland.
The Celtics are set to receive the Nets’ unprotected first round pick for the 2014 NBA Draft thanks to last summer’s blockbuster deal with Brooklyn. Currently, that pick is slotted at number 18 in the first round, but if the Nets lose tonight to Cleveland and the Wizards beat Boston, that pick could fall to 17. Washington and Brooklyn would finish with the same record (44-38) in that scenario, so a coin flip tiebreaker would decide which team gets the higher draft pick.