2020 NBA Draft Lottery: Updated format, date, how Celtics are impacted

2020 NBA Draft Lottery: Updated format, date, how Celtics are impacted

The NBA announced a 22-team season return plan Thursday, and included was a new potential date and an explanation on 2020 Draft Lottery positioning.

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery will take place Aug. 25 (if the season resumes July 31), with the actual 2020 NBA Draft rescheduled for Oct. 15 (also assuming the season resumes July 31).

Here's an explanation on the draft lottery rules from the league's press release:

The 14 NBA Lottery teams would be the eight teams that do not participate in the restart and the six teams that participate in the restart but do not qualify for the playoffs.  These teams would be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through games of March 11. The 16 playoff teams would draft in inverse order of their combined records across regular-season games and seeding games. 

Basing the lottery odds on records through March 11 ensures that teams go to Florida for the season restart and never tank.

For example, if the Wizards lost their first couple games during the restart and the Orlando Magic won their first few games and clinched the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference as a result, then Washington would have no incentive to win its remaining regular season games. So, regardless of how poorly the Wizards might play in the restart, they won't jump over the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks or any other team and secure better odds of winning the lottery.

How does the lottery format impact the Boston Celtics?

The Celtics could have three first-round picks in the 2020 draft -- their own, the Milwaukee Bucks' pick (top-7 protected) and the Memphis Grizzlies' pick (top-6 protected). Boston already will get its own pick and the Bucks' selection, but we don't yet know if the Grizzlies pick will convey. The Grizzlies will enter the restart with a 3.5-game lead for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If they collapse and miss the playoffs, they'd have the 14th-best odds (the worst odds) of winning the lottery.

Put simply, if the Grizzlies were in the lottery, the chances of them vaulting into the top four and keeping their pick are very slim.

If they did jump into the top four, and we've seen many draft lottery miracles happen, then Memphis would send its 2021 first-round pick to Boston unprotected. The most likely scenario is the Grizzlies securing the No. 8 seed and finishing outside the lottery, thus giving the Celtics their 2020 first-round pick.

NBA odds: Where Celtics rank among title contenders as season returns

NBA odds: Where Celtics rank among title contenders as season returns

The 2020 NBA championship officially is up for grabs. Should the Boston Celtics be in the title conversation?

The NBA's Board of Governors approved a 22-team format Thursday to resume the 2019-20 season later this summer at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The format, which calls for eight "seeding" games leading into a traditional 16-team playoff, guarantees the Celtics a playoff berth as the current No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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So, what are Boston's chances of winning it all? Caesars Sportsbook released updated NBA championship odds following Thursday's announcement and has the C's pegged at 15/1.

The Philadelphia 76ers come in after the Denver Nuggets at 25/1, per ESPN's David Purdum.

That's a favorable position for the Celtics, as only the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers have shorter title odds. Westgate SuperBook listed Boston at 16/1 prior to the league's announcement, so the sportsbooks clearly view the C's as a top-5 title contender.

Why the optimism? Well, Boston had the NBA's fifth-best record at 43-21 when the league shut down on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The C's also should benefit from a healthy Kemba Walker, who missed eight of the team's most recent 15 games while battling knee soreness but will have had four full months to recover.

If Walker is at full strength and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can continue their career seasons, Boston should be a force to be reckoned with.

The Celtics' title odds could change based on their first-round opponent: They would currently match up in the first round with the No. 6 seed Sixers, who have beaten Boston in three of four meetings this season.

But considering the C's have stronger title odds than both Philly and the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors, fans should feel confident about Brad Stevens' club entering the new playoff format.

NBA return format: Details of league's 22-team plan to resume season

NBA return format: Details of league's 22-team plan to resume season

The 2019-20 NBA season is back on.

The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan allowing the season to resume at Walt Disney World in Orlando under a 22-team format, league commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Thursday.

The plan passed by a 29-1 vote among teams, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, who reported the Portland Trail Blazers were the lone dissenters.

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“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” Silver in a statement.  “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.  We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”

Here are some notable details about the restart plan, per the NBA:

- The proposed start date is July 31st.

- The 22 teams will include the 16 clubs currently in a playoff spot -- eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference -- and six additional teams within six games of the No. 9 seed in their respective conference.

Those teams are the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns in the West and the Washington Wizards in the East.

- Each team will play eight "seeding games" that will determine playoff seeding in each conference. Those games will be selected from each team's remaining regular-season matchups.

While the league hasn't confirmed the schedule of those games, the Boston Celtics could be looking at an eight-game slate against the Milwaukee Bucks, Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat.

The Celtics currently are guaranteed a playoff spot as the No. 3 seed in the East. They're three games back of the No. 2 seed Raptors and 2.5 games ahead of the No. 4 seed Heat, so their seeding could change in that eight-game span.

These details all assume the league can create a safe playing environment amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the main takeaway is an exciting one: Basketball is back!