Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Jabari Parker latest to enter draft as Celtics go 4th into offseason
|04.17.14 at 10:20 am ET|
(Editor’s note: Updated after Jabari Parker announced Thursday afternoon that he would enter the draft.)
The NBA season came to a close on Wednesday night. After six consecutive playoff runs, the Celtics might have had their longest season in recent memory. Not in terms of games played, but in terms of how dreadful it was to watch drag on. The Celtics were here in 2007, and they were unconventionally rewarded, we’ll see if they are so lucky this time.
Following a 118-102 blowout loss to the Wizards on Wednesday, the Celtics finished the 2013-14 campaign with a record of 25-57. Just one victory better than the 24 wins that landed the Celtics the second-highest lottery odds in ‘07. Of course, they got the worst pick possible (fifth overall), but we all know what happened from there. This season’s 25 wins are good for a tie for the fourth-highest lottery position with the Jazz — meaning they split the odds of the fourth- and fifth-worst teams. Essentially, Boston owns the 4.5th spot in the draft.
Here is how this all shakes down: The draft lottery will be held on May 20, but Friday will be the first important date to mark on your calendars. A coin flip will take place, in which the winner between Boston and Utah will have a fractionally higher shot at winning a top-three pick. However, the more important aspect of the coin flip is that if both teams fall outside of the top three, the winner will pick one spot higher than the loser. This scenario is not out of the question after what we witnessed in ‘07.
The Celtics‘ official odds of landing the top overall pick in the draft are 10.3 percent. They maintain a 33.5 percent shot at selecting in the top three. This leaves the rest of the odds pointing to the C’s picking between fourth and seventh, unless they lose the coin flip, and miss out on a top-three pick along with Utah. In this unlikely scenario, Boston would be left picking somewhere between fifth and eighth.
So now that the season finally comes to an end, here is the clarity we are left with: The Celtics can select anywhere between first and eighth in the draft ‘ or seventh by Friday if they win the coin flip. The point? Although it is nice to know their final percentages, none of it actually matters until they pull the ping pong balls on May 20. That is when the certainty will be revealed.
One certainty we do have the luxury of knowing: The Celtics will hold the 17th pick in the draft, courtesy of the Nets. The Nets recently dropped from the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference to the sixth, most likely for playoff matchup purposes. But Danny Ainge will take it, as it moves the C’s up a pick and gives them a pretty solid mid-round selection. As many begin to question the headline players in the draft, the undisputable truth remains that this is a deep draft class.
In the meantime, Jabari Parker revealed his decision to declare for the draft Thursday afternoon, and we expect Julius Randle to follow. With Parker’s decision, 18 of the consensus top 20 prospects have declared, making the 17th pick nothing to spit at. Randle should lift that total to 19 of 20. Randle’s Kentucky teammate, Willie Cauley-Stein, is the only one returning to school for sure. Louisville‘s Montrezl Harrell is another clear first-round talent who decided to stay in school. Both players’ decisions come as surprises.
Rebuilding typically is a long process. But it is tough to find a team that has begun a rebuild with as many assets as the Celtics. Their biggest asset, aside from maybe Rajon Rondo, will be determined in this year’s lottery. After 82 games, we know the probabilities. Now we begin to discover the certainties.
It’s going to be an interesting summer, Celtics fans.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.