The pain and misery of this exhausting Boston Celtics season is almost over. It's the last day of the regular season and game 82 is finally here. In a way, it's been a lot of fun, but losing this many games is a drag.
But progressive Celtics fans have preferred losses this year because of the increased chance of acquiring a franchise-changing player. If Boston had a top three pick, they'd have a higher probability of either drafting a potential stud or Danny Ainge would have more flexibility to trade for any available veteran difference-makers.
But that requires losing this season, so those forward-thinking fans have been called "tankers" or "fake fans" by many other followers of the Celtics, even though the reward would be potentially greater in the near future.
There's truly no right or wrong way to root for a team, but it appears that many fans require instant gratification (wins in 2013-14), as opposed to delayed gratification (a higher probability of wins in the future).
With that said, many good things can happen tonight for the Boston Celtics. Here is the current situation, numerous different scenarios, and your best-case rooting interests from a progressive stance:
The Current Situation
The Celtics will have a top nine pick no matter what happens tonight because of the NBA's draft lottery odds, but they can certainly increase their chances at getting a top selection with a loss. They currently have a 29.2 percent chance at a top three pick as the fifth worst team in the league, but those odds could change slightly. Here are the current standings:
Boston's Own First Round Pick
If Boston loses and the Utah Jazz win, they will tie for the fourth worst record in the NBA. If that happens, a coin flip determines which team receives an extra odd for the draft lottery, so the Celtics would have either have a 33.6 or 33.4 percent chance at a top three pick.
But if the Celtics win and the Los Angeles Lakers lose, they'll tie for the fifth worst record. Once again, a tiebreaker will determine which team receives the additional chance at either 25.4 or 25.3 percent.
In the event of a tie with the Jazz or Lakers, the NBA will announce all draft tiebreakers before the playoffs begin on Saturday.
Finally, the Celtics could also stay in their current spot with a 29.2 percent chance at a top three selection. There is no drastic difference between any of these slots considering they can only tie for the fourth (best-case) or fifth spot (worst-case), but any extra odds are always preferable.
All three of these games are a toss up, though progressive fans should root for the Wizards, Jazz, and Lakers to win. San Antonio is locked into the top seed in the Western Conference, so they will likely rest all of their starters versus the Lakers, which gives them a chance to win. Utah will face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are out of the playoffs, but have a lot to play for since it could be Rick Adelman's final game as an NBA coach.
But Boston's game against Washington is particularly complex because of the playoff implications:
Boston's First Round Pick via Brooklyn
The Washington Wizards desperately need to win tonight's game because they must avoid a tie with the Charlotte Bobcats, who are currently one game behind them. Currently, the Wiz are slated to have a first round matchup against the Raptors or Bulls, but could face the Heat if they lose and the Bobcats win.
This is important for the Celtics because it also ties into the possibility of having the 17th pick in the draft as opposed to the 18th, since they own Brooklyn's first round draft pick. Interestingly, a Nets loss and Wizards win would lead to another tie, which would mean a coin flip could be used to decide which team gets the 17th or 18th pick.
These scenarios in particular are quite complicated when you factor in playoff scenarios, but Celtics fans should root for Washington over Boston, Cleveland over Brooklyn, and Charlotte over Chicago, in addition to Los Angeles over San Antonio and Utah over Minnesota.
For those fans who are aggravated by the mere thought of a Celtics loss being a good thing, all you need is just a little patience. The wins can wait until next season, because one extra loss could potentially make a huge difference when it comes to winning in the future. Of course, there are no guarantees of success with any draft pick, but they are undeniably better with one of the first three selections.
Speaking of patience, the NBA draft lottery isn't until May 20th, but that day will be here before you know it. Unlike the regular season, the playoffs will fly by.
Brace yourselves, summer is coming.