Brooklyn shipped a handful of players and draft assets to Boston in 2013 to add Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to an already-aging lineup. In exchange, the Celtics received the Nets’ 2014 draft pick (No. 17 overall, used to select James Young), 2016 pick (No. 3, Jaylen Brown), 2018 pick, and the opportunity to swap draft picks this spring. With Boston’s pick set to fall in the deep end of the first round, it’s a foregone conclusion general manager Danny Ainge will exercise his right to switch picks to land a premier prospect in a loaded draft.
As a result, one of the league’s best teams is assured no worse than a top-four selection in the 2017 NBA draft. With a loaded class that includes standouts like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, and Dennis Smith, the rich stand to get richer.
While the Celtics have the best opportunity to land the top overall pick, they’ll have to fend off 12 other franchises to get there. The Suns, Lakers, and 76ers all have double-digit odds to earn the first selection and eagerly await the opportunity to add a franchise cornerstone to rosters that include Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram, and Joel Embiid, respectively.
The Nets’ top-four pick isn’t the only lottery selection on the move. The Kings acquired the Pelicans’ top selection in February after trading away mercurial center DeMarcus Cousins, though it’ll return to New Orleans if the Pelicans leapfrog into the top-3. The move could be one New Orleans lives to regret. The pairing of Cousins and All-Star forward Anthony Davis congested the paint in Louisiana, leaving the Pelicans’ playoff push unbalanced as the 2016-17 season came to a close. New Orleans closed out the first half-season of the Boogie era with a 7-10 record in games where their newly acquired center took the court.
Sacramento was derided after allowing its franchise player leave while getting little in return, but may yet win this trade. Sharpshooter Buddy Hield came into his own as a pro after heading west, scoring more than 15 points per game and draining nearly 43 percent of his three-pointers to cap off an up-and-down rookie campaign. The Kings will have the opportunity to surround him with young talent thanks to their pair of lottery picks, though they must swap with the 76ers if they finish ahead of them.
The 2017 Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday, May 16 at 8 p.m. ET. Any team that failed to qualify for this year’s playoffs is eligible, with the best odds to land the top pick going to last season’s worst team and decreasing from there. Here’s the full array of odds each team faces to earn one of the top three picks in a loaded draft:
2017 NBA Draft Lottery Odds
|1||Celtics (via Nets)||25.00%||21.50%||17.80%|
|10||Kings (via Pelicans)||1.10%||1.30%||1.60%|