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Could the Celtics Make the Playoffs AND The Lottery?

No. They can’t. The lottery is restricted to non-playoff teams. Sorry for the cheap headline. Gotta get those clicks.

Here’s the thing, though: the Celtics could absolutely make the playoffs and MISS the lottery with a bottom-14 record, just by winning the overflowing bathroom trash can known as the Atlantic Division. In fact, if the season ended today, that’s exactly what would happen to the Raptors… and Boston’s only a half-game out of the division lead.

Toronto’s record is 6-10, 10th worst in the NBA. Normally, the 10th-worst record in the NBA gets you in the lottery with about a 1% chance at the top pick in the draft, and a 4% chance at one of the top three picks. Failing that, you get the 10th pick. But in this case, that record wins the Raptors the division title, which earns them the privilege of a thrilling first-round series against the Hawks to decide who gets swept by Miami. After that, they get to fall five spots in the draft and pick 15th.

This would be hilarious if it happened to the Raptors. Action should be taken to ensure that it does. But again, the Celtics are only a half-game out of first. And tragedies are not funny when they affect stuff you care about.

Many people, most recently Zach Lowe, have pointed out that divisions are stupid and pointless and should not influence anything. Most of the arguments have been in defense of good teams that could miss out on higher playoff seeds in favor of a worse team that wins its division. But what about the bad teams that valiantly lose games on purpose, then win their division by accident, causing them to miss out on lottery picks? Won’t somebody think of the bad teams?!

  • skeeds

    Not only divisions, but conferences are stupid too. The whole purpose of the playoffs is for the best teams to advance. This year for example, if there was a league wide top 16, 12 teams would be west teams. So while in the unbelievably horrible east even we have a chance making the playoffs, there's teams like the T-Wolves and the Mavs who are playing proper basketball, and will fight for 8th seed…
    Not to mention the finals. How many times can you think of that the deciding series was the conference finals because the 2 best teams where in the same conference? Think early 2000's, where west was a bloodbath while the east was just sending lousy teams to be swept…

  • Ray

    Actually, the Celtics can make the playoffs and the lottery, if (and it is a big IF) the Cs make the playoffs and Brooklyn misses the playoffs and Atlanta misses the playoffs. Boston is getting the worse of Brooklyn's and Atlanta's picks in 2014.

    Here's an interesting tidbit I haven't seen reported: if Philly sneaks into the playoffs, they lose their 2014 pick to Miami (this was the price for obtaining Arnett Moultire).

  • tomrod

    How about you cant make the playoffs if you are below .500

    So the East right now would have 4 playoffs teams, just a semifinals and finals. The rest of the teams could play for the seeding in the draft. Like a playoffs for the best pick.

  • All Jefferson 1 Fan

    Celtics sucks
    who is not agree- Kiss my ASS