The Picks and Passes of this Year’s NBA Draft


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Cletic Isaiah Thomas shakes hands with Brett Brown, the 76ers lottery rep, after the 76ers won the first overall pick.

John Goggin, Contributing Writer

Every year during the Conference Finals, the 14 NBA teams that didn’t make the playoffs or the teams who own their picks, meet to determine the draft order using ping pong balls at the NBA Draft Lottery. The teams with the worst records have the best chance for a high pick; this year those three teams were the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Boston Celtics, via the Brooklyn Nets.

The Celtics acquired the first­-round pick from the Nets in the controversial 2013 trade that sent two aging centerpieces of the franchise, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, to the Brooklyn Nets for an exchange of three first round picks, swap rights on a pick, and five players.

Luckily for the Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets were a dismal team this year, finishing 21-­61, just ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the second worst record in the Eastern Conference. Initially, this year’s pick had the best chance to land third overall, but it had around a 15% chance to move up to the #1 pick, something that has never happened in Celtics history.

To the dismay of Celtics fans, the pick stayed where it was, third overall, in what many heralded as a two-­man draft. The 76ers have the first pick, after losing almost 200 games under former GM Sam Hinkie’s rebuilding plan, and the Lakers will be keeping their pick, at second overall, starting the post-­Kobe era with another young prospect.

This year’s draft is headlined by LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a dynamic play-maker at power forward, and Duke wing Brandon Ingram, a versatile defender and lights­-out shooter, who will definitely be top 2 picks. This leaves the Celtics with a tough decision, with players like Croatian center Dragan Bender, Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield, and Providence point guard Kris Dunn all on the board when the Celtics are picking.

Freshman Jack Morrissey said, “I’m a really big Buddy Hield fan. He’s an awesome defender and I think Brad Stevens could make him into a great player.”

Another potential option on the table is trading the pick, which Celtics general manager Danny Ainge talked about recently, saying “We’ll explore all options.”

Some of the players on the trade market for the pick could include Pacers star Paul George, Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, or 2014­-15 Most Improved Player Jimmy Butler.

Sophomore Tim O’Brien said that “If we could get any of those guys, I think that would be a big step for the team. Out of everyone, I’d like if they could get Paul George.”

Another one of the players available could be Jahlil Okafor, last year’s third pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.  Freshman Jack Johnson is a fan. “With Okafor, I heard we could be able to get him for the third pick and maybe Marcus Smart, that would be pretty cool. He’s got a lot of potential, and he’s what the team needs.”

With the draft about a month away, the Celtics have plenty of time to figure out their strategy, but Celtics fans are very excited for the outcome, and whether the team can take the next step.