Ainge's patience pays off with Celtics' draft lottery win

Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site. In today's National Basketball Association, picks are very valuable.

This week couldn't get much better for the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics received a timely boost on the eve of their Eastern Conference showdown with Cleveland on Tuesday, May 16 (Wednesday in Manila) after discovering they will command the first pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft. "It's pretty unbelievable", said Wyc Grousbeck, a Celtics owner who represented them on stage.

The Purple and Gold own the second pick in this summer's NBA Draft. But they should definitely play the game while they can. "Just the Lakers. There's nobody else that we need to workout for".

The Celtics also get another first-round pick in 2018 from the Nets. They drafted center Joel Embiid third overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. Cleveland certainly won't trade one of its best players to its most unsafe competitor, and the Bulls and Pacers seem determined to keep Butler and George.

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For the time this season, we have the complete draft order (barring trades) solidified so we can make mock drafts based on a concrete order.

The New York Knicks are in the midst of a unsafe game with their top players, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis but after Tuesday, that black hole got wider. Depending on how Boston fares against the Cleveland Cavaliers, that performance could weigh heavily on Gordon's mind as he looks to join a team that puts him in the best situation to win a championship. Financially, trying to pay for the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, George/Butler and Hayward would absolutely cripple the Celtics, causing them to either get rid of a lot of their strong depth or pay deep into the luxury tax. "This team is a lot of fun to be around this year". After having the best odds for the No 1 pick in 1997, Boston missed out on the chance to get Tim Duncan; in 1986, the Celtics landed the No 2 overall pick and used it on Len Bias, who died two days later of a cocaine overdose. On Tuesday, Boston earned the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft by virtue of its pick swap with Brooklyn.

The 2017 draft class is loaded with talent, none more promising than Washington's Markelle Fultz and UCLA's Lonzo Ball, interchangeably projected as the best two players available. "It just feels like this is a pick we will listen to offers, I'm sure, we will have conversations all the way through June but, for me, making a first pick is an exciting prospect right now". Had that pick fallen to fourth or lower, it would have transferred to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the trade that brought Steve Nash to the Lakers in 2012.

Not only that, but they would have had to trade their 2019 first-round pick to Orlando if that happened, so Johnson was all smiles even after finishing behind the rival Celtics.

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