The NBA’s regular season ended Wednesday night, finally providing some clarity about the four first-round picks the Celtics could own in this year’s draft.
Well, sort of.
Matters were complicated a bit by ties involving Boston’s potential choices, including a three-way logjam involving its most prized asset: the Memphis Grizzlies’ pick.
The Celtics will receive the Grizzlies’ pick this year if it falls outside the top 8. If it does not, it will roll over to next season, when it would be top-6 protected before becoming unprotected the year after that.
Boston would prefer not to receive the pick this season, in part because of the decreasing protections, and in part because it could then be a more valuable trade chip.
Memphis finished the regular season tied with the Mavericks and Pelicans for the seventh-worst record. So on Friday the three teams will be involved in a random lottery drawing to determine the 7-9 spots that are slotted before next month’s actual lottery.
In the real lottery, they’ll add up the numerical combinations allotted to the 7-9 spots and divide them by three, giving the three teams about a 26.3 percent chance of moving into the top four. (If there’s an odd number of combinations, the team that wins Friday’s mini lottery would receive an extra one, followed by the No. 8 team if necessary.)
But Friday’s pre-drawing will be significant, because it is most likely that there will not be much movement in May’s lottery.
If the Grizzlies claim the No. 7 spot, there is just a 16.7 percent chance that they will fall to No. 9 or lower. If they are No. 8, there is a 42.5 percent chance of that happening. And if they are at No. 9, Boston will be counting on the 26.3 percent chance of Memphis sliding into the top four and thus keeping its pick.
The Celtics will also receive the Kings’ first-round pick this year as long as it is not No. 1 overall, in which case Philadelphia will keep it.
The Kings coughed up a 28-point lead and lost to the Blazers on Wednesday, leaving Sacramento in a tie for the 12th-worst record with the Heat and Hornets.
Those three teams will have a pre-lottery drawing on Friday, too, to determine spots 12-14. Regardless, the Kings will have a 3.7 percent chance of moving into the 2-4 range with some lottery luck.
The Clippers finished 48-34, tied with the Spurs and Pacers for the No. 18 draft spot, so those teams will be part of a lottery drawing on Friday to determine picks 18-20.
The Celtics’ own pick, meanwhile, will fall either 21st or 22nd, depending on Friday’s drawing involving the Thunder, who also finished 49-33.