The Celtics currently have the 4th worst record. I know last night's blowout felt like 10 losses, but it still only counts as one. There's a lot of teams that are bunched up at the bottom of the standings still. Boston is only a 2 game winning streak from staring at the 8th worst record.
Our remaining schedule is loaded with playoff bound teams, so I don't see us slipping too far up the standings, but there's no way we're going to dive deeper than the Sixers and Bucks. Somewhere in the 3 to 6 range seems reasonable to me at this moment.
Then it is completely up to the lottery luck. Historically that hasn't been kind to us and you can look at trends all you want, but the bottom line is that the odds are what the odds are.
We know that if the Celtics win the lottery and get a top 3 pick, they'll have a chance to draft one of the big 3 (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid). You can argue all day long over who you'd pick over the others (and we will) but that's a great dilemma to have.
However, there's a pretty good chance that we'll be stuck with a pick that is in the 4 to 8 range. If so, what then? (It is worth noting here that it is certainly possible that the best player to come out of this draft will end up being picked outside the top 3 - but we won't know that for several years)
First of all, it is possible that one of the big 3 kids will drop out, as Parker does in Chad Ford's latest mock draft.
GM Danny Ainge isn’t as in love with this draft as much as the rest of the league, but he’ll still be stoked to land Parker here. Parker’s abilities as a scorer and rebounder could make him an immediate upgrade at the 3 while giving the Celtics more incentive to move Jeff Green this summer.
No matter where the Celtics pick, I think Ainge will take the proverbial "best player available" regardless of the current roster setup. Things are too fluid and the danger of missing out on talent is too great to mess around with fit.
However, it might create one of those situations where the guy picked doesn't necessarily have an open spot in the rotation to walk into. Obviously any rookie is going to have to earn their time, but when there's a top of the rotation player currently playing the same position as the drafted player, it creates developmental challenges (or perhaps even roadblocks).
Embiid is probably the only guy that would walk in with a clear place in the rotation. Parker would likely make it worth it to move Jeff Green (if not this summer, then perhaps at the deadline next year). Picking Wiggins would obviously have a big impact on re-signing Avery Bradley. It could still happen, but then you are looking at a 3 guard rotation sort of situation.
After those three, however, things get a lot more murky.
Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, and Tyler Ennis are all point guards. Exum can play off the ball as well, but you are still looking at 3 guard rotations instead of having clear starters and backups. Not the worst problem to have but not always easy to navigate either. And obviously the minute the Celtics draft a point guard high in the lottery the Rondo rumors will go through the roof (real or imagined).
Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon play power forward, where we have Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk already. Any of these guys could be moved in a trade but you'd hate to go into next year with 3 young power forwards that each needs time and opportunity to shine.
All of this could be moot depending on what other moves Ainge makes this offseason. Like last year, draft night could be eventful for reasons beyond the draft itself. In fact, I tend to believe that something rather significant will happen in the hours or days prior to the draft that will change a lot about how we view the future of this team.
Still, if all is quiet on the trade front and we're picking in the 4 to 8 range, I have to wonder how Brad Stevens is going to juggle the new guy (plus whomever else we get with the Nets/Hawks pick) into the lineup.