News

N.B.A. Draft Lottery 2017: Celtics Claim No. 1 Pick

The Boston Celtics, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this postseason, received the No. 1 draft pick in the 2017 N.B.A. draft via the lottery on Tuesday night. The Celtics had acquired the pick as part of a trade with the Nets in 2013.

The Los Angeles Lakers got the No. 2 pick, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3.

The Knicks, who had a 5.3 percent chance of getting the top pick, received the No. 8 slot.

The Celtics came into the night with a 25 percent chance at the top spot and the opportunity to build an Eastern Conference giant. It was part of the payoff for a 2013 trade in which the Nets sent the Celtics their 2014, 2016, and 2018 first-round picks, along with the right to swap picks this year, for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

While Garnett and Pierce are now retired and the Nets were the worst team in the league this season, the Celtics have continued to build a contender with those assets. They took Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick last June and now have the No. 1 pick to leverage.

The Nets, meanwhile, will pick at No. 27, and their long-term roster building remains a quagmire.

Tuesday night was even more crucial for another team: By getting a top-three slot, the Lakers were ensured of keeping their pick instead of sending it away. Had they received a pick outside the top three, it would have been sent to the 76ers. That was part of a deal the Lakers made in a trade with the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash five years ago. The pick was later sent to Philadelphia.

Both the 76ers and Lakers are trying to resurrect once-proud organizations, but Philadelphia holds its own separate first-round pick.

The draft itself in June is expected to be fruitful. Along with Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, the presumptive top two choices, there is a deep class of point guards and forwards. In fact, five of the top 10 could all be point guards.

Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox is a smooth playmaker who helped take the Wildcats to the round of 8 this season alongside Malik Monk, a guard who could also be a top-10 pick. Dennis Smith Jr. is an athletic point guard out of North Carolina State with explosive playmaking qualities. Frank Ntilikina, an 18-year-old from France, is also expected to be a lottery pick.

Jayson Tatum of Duke and Josh Jackson of Kansas are the top options for teams looking for help in the frontcourt, while Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is a 7-footer with strong shooting abilities.

Still, as attractive as these prospects might be, they will probably not be an immediate panacea. All of the teams that originally owned the top nine picks in last year’s draft were back in the lottery again this year.

Comments are closed.