The Nets announced they're shutting down Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the final six games of the year, which could be tremendous news for the Celtics, since they own Brooklyn's unprotected first-round pick.
The Nets pick currently has the fourth-best odds (11.9 percent) of winning the lottery, but it’s only one game back from the Suns, who have the third-best odds (15.6 percent). With so few games remaining, it's possible the Nets resting Lopez and Young will have no impact on the standings, but anything helps. At the least, this only increases the chances of the Nets losing out, since they get outscored by 15 points per 100 possessions when both Lopez and Young are off the floor this season.
The importance of getting a top pick goes far beyond receiving the chance at selecting one of the top players available. Forget Ben Simmons; the difference between having the No. 1 and No. 5 pick could be the actually be the difference between Jimmy Butler or a rookie like Jamal Murray.
Sitting in the driver's seat of the draft would give Boston more asset equity to use in trade negotiations for a transcedent player. Players like Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, and Blake Griffin could all potentially be available this summer, but the Celtics might have to own a top 3 pick to be in a position to acquire them.
The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 17. Stay tuned, Celtics fans.