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.

Scottie Pippen: Celtics' Jayson Tatum capable of being best player on an NBA champion

Scottie Pippen: Celtics' Jayson Tatum capable of being best player on an NBA champion

Jayson Tatum has received plenty of praise during the 2019-20 NBA season for raising his game to an All-Star level, and one NBA legend is confident the Boston Celtics forward is capable of taking his talents even higher.

The Boston Celtics will enter the league's 22-team restart at Walt Disney World Resort later this month as one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. ESPN's Jalen Rose was among the first national voices after the restart format was announced to predict the Celtics were capable of going on a deep playoff run. He even picked the C's to win the conference and reach the 2020 NBA Finals.

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For the Celtics to make the Finals and contend for the franchise's 18th championship, Tatum likely will have to carry the team as its best player and go-to scorer. Chicago Bulls legend and current ESPN NBA analyst Scottie Pippen thinks Tatum is ready to take on that challenge.

Here's what Pippen said on ESPN's "The Jump".

Rachel Nichols: "Do you think Jayson Tatum is already, now, capable of carrying that best player on a championship team title?"

Pippen: "Rachel, I really do. I think this has been a breakout season for Tatum. He started out this season sort of on a mission to separate himself from the other players who've grown and developed, as well as really showing some leadership by becoming an All-Star this season. His scoring was really starting to peak right there (before the season was paused) -- he again separated himself a little bit from the other players to show he was going to be the go-to guy, the offensive leader for that team. I think if this team is to make a run, it has to rely on Tatum's ability to carry them offensively, and I feel like he's totally ready."

It's impressive when a six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer gives you this kind of praise. It's deserved, too.

Tatum, particularly during his dominant month of February, was going to toe-to-toe with some of the league's best players and putting up crazy stats. One of the games that stands out is the Celtics' thrilling double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers right before the All-Star break. Tatum scored 39 points and outdueled reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

The 22-year-old forward has shown he's capable of being the best player on a title contender, but he won't have to do it alone. The Celtics are the only team with three players (Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker) averaging 20-plus points per game, and Gordon Hayward isn't far behind with 17.3 points scored per game. Boston has great scoring depth, and with Tatum and Walker able to create their shot in any situation during crunch time, C's head coach Brad Stevens has plenty of options late in games when his team needs a bucket.

Celtics apparently brought awesome NBA title inspiration to practice

Celtics apparently brought awesome NBA title inspiration to practice

The Boston Celtics quite literally had their eyes on the prize Monday, it appears.

Celtics big man Vincent Poirier shared a video on his Instagram story Monday that appeared to show Boston's 2008 NBA championship trophy at the Auerbach Center.

How's that for some inspiration?

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The Celtics haven't won an NBA title since Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and the 2007-08 C's captured the team's 17th championship.

Many believe Boston can compete for a title during the NBA's restarted season in Orlando, however. Kemba Walker has had several months to rest his injured knee, while Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart give the Celtics impressive depth at both ends of the floor.

The C's were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference when the 2019-20 season halted in mid-March, but it many ways all bets are off entering an unprecedented playoff format that will be played in a neutral location without fans.

NBA teams are set to travel to Orlando this week to begin ramping up for the "seeding round" in late July. The Celtics' entire team is on board at the moment, and now the squad has some extra motivation as it gets set to enter the bubble.