BOSTON — The Boston Celtics ended their season last night with a 25-57 record, giving the team the third most-losses in franchise history. While many of those defeats were tough for fans to watch, the Celtics needed every last one of those losses to secure the fourth-best NBA Draft lottery odds Wednesday night.
Boston’s 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards in the team’s season finale, combined with the Utah Jazz defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves created a tie in the lottery standings, as both the Celtics and Jazz finished the season with the fourth-worst record in the NBA (25-57).
Both the Celtics and Jazz will evenly divide the 207 ping-pong combinations designated for the fourth and fifth spots in the NBA Draft Lottery. A coin flip later this week will determine which team will receive the extra odd ping-pong ball combination.
The Celtics have a roughly 33.55 percent chance at earning a top-three overall pick and a 10.35 percent chance of receiving the top overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Both of those odds will be adjusted ever so slightly after this week’s coin flip decides whether Boston or Utah gets the extra ping-pong ball combination. One team will have 104 combinations, the other will have 103. Overall, there are 1,000 ping-pong ball combinations split amongst the 14 teams in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The lottery will be held on May 20th and will only determine the top-three picks in the 2014 NBA Draft based on the ping-pong combinations drawn that day. Once those three teams are selected, the rest of the draft order is based on the records of the remaining teams in the lottery pool.
In the event that neither the Jazz or Celtics are selected for one of the top-three picks during the draft lottery, whichever team won the coin flip tiebreaker will get the higher draft pick. Even if Boston loses that tiebreaker to Utah, they can pick no worse than eighth in the NBA Draft.
With the standings locked in place, all the Celtics can do now is hope lady luck is on their side for the coin flip tiebreaker later this week as well as for the lottery itself on May 20th.