By: Kenny Doyle
The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday night in New York, and the Boston Celtics have the best odds at getting the #1 pick. Even though that sounds good, there is a 75% chance that the top spot will go to one of the 13 other teams. Here are some other things you need to know going into lottery night.
- The lottery is pretty simple. Each team is assigned a certain number of combinations out of the 1000 possible combinations. The Celtics will be assigned 250 of those combinations. The NBA does 3 drawings. The first combination that comes up is for the #1 pick, the second for the #2 pick, and the third for the #3 pick. If there are any repeats they draw again. Once they have the 3 teams any the remaining teams that weren’t picked are ordered by record from worst to best. If the Celtics are not one of the 3 teams to be picked, they will have the #4 pick.
- The lottery would be almost impossible to rig at this point. Years ago when the Knicks won the Patrick Ewing lottery it easily could have been, but now there it would be pretty hard. The real drawing of the ping pong balls is done in a back room about 1 hour before the TV event where the order is revealed. One team representative from each team, a different one from the one on stage, goes into the room along with a handful of media members and they all watch the drawing as it happens. The people who get to watch the real lottery take place are sequestered with no phones or computers or any other communication devices until the results have been revealed on ESPN. The NBA also hires a private accounting firm to oversee the lottery. So if it was rigged, everyone from the teams and the media would have to be in on it. Which is unlikely to say the least.
- The last 2 years, the team with the #1 odds in the lottery has gotten the #1 pick. However, the team with the #1 odds didn’t get the top pick in any of the 10 years before 2015. This can’t be used to determine if the Celtics will or won’t get the #1 pick, but odds usually end up determining how things look from a wide view. You’ve likely heard the whole saying that if you flip a coin 1,000 times then the result will be pretty close to 50-50. In other words, over a number of years the team with the 25% odds to win the lottery should win roughly 25 percent of the time. Over the last 19 years the team with the #1 odds has won 4 times. If the Celtics were to win this year that would mean that the team with the #1 odds has won 5 out of 20 times or 25%. That doesn’t mean anything, but it’s fun to imagine it does.
- Since the NBA/ABA merger the Celtics have never drafted with the #1 pick. The highest they drafted was #2 where they picked Len Bias, who passed away before he ever played for the Celtics. The next highest was Jaylen Brown at #3. The Celtics have never been in the #1 spot pre-lottery in any of the previous draft lottery’s they’ve been in.
And that’s what there is to know about the Celtics and the NBA draft lottery. Whether the Celtics will keep or trade the pick will be the talk of the NBA from the end of the NBA finals to draft night, but tomorrow night will be a factor in any potential trade talks. Let’s hope luck is with the C’s.
Photo: (Only In Boston)