Celtics lose three draft tiebreakers, get prolonged drama with Grizzlies first-rounder

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

Neither the Grizzlies nor Celtics want a middling lottery pick this year.

They’ll have to continue sweating out which team will get stuck with it.

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Memphis owes Boston a first-round pick that’s top-eight protected this year. The Grizzlies want to convey it in what’s perceived to be a weak draft. The Celtics would rather push it down the road, to 2020 (when it’s just top-six protected) or 2021 (when it’s unprotected).

After entering today’s draft tiebreaker with a 44% chance of the pick conveying this year, the drawing ended with a 43% chance of it conveying this year (per data from Tankathon).

For perspective, Memphis’ odds of conveying this year could have swung to 17% or 74% in today’s drawing. Now, a lot of pressure falls on next month’s lottery.

The Grizzlies have a 26% chance of getting a top-four pick, which they probably wouldn’t mind keeping. There’s a 31% chance they get the undesired No. 8 pick. And that leaves a 43% chance of sending Boston a pick in the 9-12 range.

The Pelicans won the three-team tiebreaker to get the No. 7 slot in the lottery. Memphis has the No. 8 slot. The Hawks via the Mavericks got the No. 9 slot, though if that pick lands in the top four, Dallas will keep it. Like the Grizzlies, the Mavericks and Pelicans were already locked into 26% chances of a top-four pick.

Other ties broken for the lottery:

The Cavaliers will pick ahead of the Suns at No. 5/6 if neither team gets drawn in the lottery. Each team has a 52% chance of getting a top-four pick.

The Hornets (12) Heat (13) and Celtics via the Kings (14) are locked into their lottery slots and likely draft picks. Each team has a 5% chance of landing in the top four. If Sacramento’s pick is No. 1, it goes to the 76ers, and Boston gets Philadelphia’s No. 24 pick.

A few ties were also broke for actual draft slots outside the lottery. The locked-in first-round picks:

16. Magic

17. Nets

***

18. Pacers

19. Spurs

20. Celtics (via Clippers)

***

21. Thunder

22. Celtics

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25. Trail Blazers

26. Cavaliers (via Rockets)

All three late-lottery and non-lottery tiebreakers went against Boston. But at least the affected picks are resolved or mostly resolved.

The Celtics will have to continue holding their breath about the Memphis pick.

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