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On Friday morning the NBA conducted tiebreakers to determine the order or lottery odds for the upcoming Draft in four cases in which teams had identical regular season records, two of which involved the Celtics. Boston lost its random drawing for lottery odds, but won one affecting its other first-round pick.
Having both finished at 25-57, the Celtics and Utah Jazz were the only lottery teams with the same record on the season, tied for fourth worst in the league. The Jazz won that drawing, and therefore will have an extra ping-pong ball in the lottery, which will be held on May 20. With 103 of the 1,000 balls, the C’s now have a 10.3% chance of owning the first pick in the Draft.
Boston has an approximately one in three chance of moving into the top three, which are the only positions the lottery determines, as all others depend on regular-season record. Therefore, the absolute worst-case, and extremely unlikely, scenario, would have the Celtics picking eighth. The three teams with the best shots at the top pick are Milwaukee (25% chance), Philadelphia (19.9%) and Orlando (15.6%).
Although the pick is higher, the addition of just .1 percentage points to the Jazz’s odds makes Utah’s advantage negligible, and arguably makes the second of the Celtics’ tiebreakers more important. This one involved the first-round pick Boston received from Brooklyn in last year’s Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce blockbuster, and the Celtics came out on top.
The Nets and Wizards both had 44-38 records, and the Nets winning the tiebreaker means that Boston will have the 17th pick, one spot ahead of Washington. For the second round, the order of the tiebreakers is reversed, so that whether the Celtics pick 34th or 35th will depend on whether they end up with a higher first pick than the Jazz after the lottery.
The Draft will take place on June 26.