I probably don’t need to preface this post with much. You know what happens tonight (8 pm EST on ESPN, if you broke your Guide button on your DVR), you know why it’s a newsworthy moment for the Celtics, you know what’s at stake and — unfortunately — you know how little anyone can do about it at this point. The ping-pong balls have been earned, the percentages are in, we have all played with ESPN’s mock draft generator, and tonight, we finally know roughly what the reward for the Celtics’ tough 2013-14 season will be.
With that in mind, here are a few reminders. It should be noted that these reminders are as much for me as they are for you.
The Celtics are not completely screwed if they miss out on a top-3 pick.
There will still a lot of options available, and not just “Trade For Kevin Love.” There may not be any certain superstars in this year’s draft, but there are a few potential ones. Players like Aaron Gordon promise to be a pretty hefty consolation prize if the Celtics miss out on the top dogs, and given Boston’s “nobody is safe” mentality and the abundance of draft picks in the coming years, the door will remain open for improvement.
The Celtics are not completely fixed if they get a top-3 pick.
First, the necessary disclaimer that although Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid appear to be really nice pieces, we haven’t seen how they will translate to the NBA game, and all three come with significant question marks.
Additionally, one has to wonder what they would mean for Rondo’s career in Boston. Even really good rookies rarely help a team win games, and by the time the draft’s big three have matured, Rondo might very well be 30. Do the Celtics want to extend his contract if the next couple seasons don’t look like playoff years?
The Timberwolves are not contractually obliged to trade Kevin Love for a top-5 pick.
Would they be wise to cash in on Love’s trade value if he’s threatening to leave? Yes. Do the Celtics have a good package to offer? You and I might think so. Some others think differently. One way or the other, Minnesota gets to do what it wants here, no matter how much Celtics fans clamor for them to send Love to Boston.
Speaking of which, a quick tangent:
The Celtics SHOULD NOT throw away assets if Love won’t guarantee a long-term extension in Boston.
At least, not if they don’t want to spend next year looking this desperate.
Nobody wants to be that guy.
Speaking of the Lakers, back to the topic at hand…
The NBA Draft is not rigged if the Lakers get a top-3 pick and the Celtics don’t.
The lottery isn’t rigged, it’s just that the Basketball Gods are Lakers fans. Consider the past 10 years:
2000-2003: The Lakers win multiple titles with Kobe and Shaq.
2005-2007: Shaq departs, Kobe threatens to do the same.
2008: Jerry West hands them Pau Gasol for his then-much-less-talented brother.
2009: Kevin Garnett gets injured before the playoffs, clearing LA’s path to the title and ruining a Celtics team that was even better than the 2008 team that butchered the Lakers.
2010: Kendrick Perkins goes down with a knee injury in Game 6, 2010. The Lakers might have won anyway, but you can’t pretend that Perkins’ injury was good for Boston.
2012: Somehow (SOMEHOW) the Lakers get Dwight Howard without giving up Pau Gasol.
2013-2014: The Lakers’ luck finally starts to turn. Kobe Bryant goes down with an Achilles injury, Dwight Howard leaves, Kobe goes down AGAIN, they lose a ton of games…just in time to tank for the deepest draft in years.
So yeah. Don’t be surprised if the Lakers get a lottery pick, just don’t blame Adam Silver. It’s not his fault. He doesn’t control the Basketball Gods.
Karma dictates that the 76ers’ gross season shouldn’t result in a lottery pick…but math doesn’t.
Celtics fans can take pride in the fact that Rondo, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley and company never quit on the season, but this is the price you pay for pride: Mathematically, the Sixers — led by the immortal Hollis Thompson, Casper Ware and others — have a much, much better chance at picking in the top three.
Take a moment, breathe, then tweet.
Like I said, these reminders are as much for me as they are for you.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.