The Boston Celtics are in the thick of a tight Eastern Conference playoff race. But they have three good reasons to do some Western Conference scoreboard-watching after the All-Star break.
- NBA POWER RANKINGS: Where do C's stand entering All-Star Weekend?
The Celtics own the rights to three selections in the 2019 NBA Draft that aren't their own:
1. Sacramento Kings' first-round pick (top-1 protected) or Philadelphia 76ers' first-round pick; whichever is higher
2. Los Angeles Clippers' first-round pick (top-14 protected)
3. Memphis Grizzlies' first-round pick (top-8 protected)
The C's essentially are guaranteed to land the Kings pick, so the worse Sacramento is this season, the better Boston's selection.
But the Grizzlies and Clippers picks are a bit more complicated.
If L.A. doesn't make the playoffs this season, the Celtics wouldn't get its pick this season, instead receiving its 2020 first-rounder, protected for the top 14. If the Clippers miss the playoffs again next season, that pick falls to a second-rounder in 2022.
If Memphis' pick lands in the top eight, it becomes the Grizzlies' 2020 first-round pick, protected for the top six picks. If that pick doesn't convey and lands in the top six next season, Boston would get its unprotected first-rounder in 2020.
Got all that? Good.
With the All-Star break upon us and roughly 25 games left in the regular season, here's every pick the Celtics would have in the 2019 NBA Draft if the season ended today, based solely on the current NBA standings.
No. 14 overall (via Kings)
No. 18 overall (via Clippers)
No. 23 overall (own)
No. 53 overall (own)
You'll notice the Grizzlies pick isn't on that list. Memphis currently owns the sixth-worst record in the NBA, so unless the lottery balls bounce in Boston's favor and give the Grizzlies a No. 9 pick or lower, the C's wouldn't get that pick.
Here's who's "ahead" of Memphis for picks seven through nine:
6. Grizzlies, 23-36
7. Wizards, 24-34, 1.5 games ahead
8. Pelicans, 26-33, 3 games ahead
9. Mavericks, 26-31, 4 games ahead
The Grizzlies would need to pass three teams and make up four games for Boston to have an odds-on shot of acquiring its pick, which seems like a tall task after they traded All-Star Marc Gasol at the deadline.
That means the C's may have to wait for the pick -- which wouldn't be a bad thing, considering Memphis shows no signs of improvement.
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