The Boston Celtics likely won't have a top-three pick in the 2019 NBA Draft like they did in 2016 and 2017.
But they could make up in quantity what they lack in quality.
The Los Angeles Clippers clinched a playoff berth Tuesday night, ensuring the Celtics receive their first-round pick in 2019, which was protected for picks 1-14. Boston also has its own first-rounder, the Sacramento Kings' first-rounder (protected for No. 1 overall) and a shot at landing the Memphis Grizzlies' first-rounder, meaning they could have a total of four picks in the top 30 this June.
If the season ended Wednesday, here's where Boston's picks would land:
14th lottery position (via Kings)
No. 20 overall (own)
No. 22 overall (via Clippers)
No. 50 overall (own)
Boston owns the rights to Memphis' first-rounder, which is top-8 protected. But the Grizzlies currently have the eighth-worst record in the league, and if they pass the New Orleans Pelicans, their ninth position in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery would go to Boston.
That's very feasible, as Memphis is tied with New Orleans in the Western Conference with two games in hand and has won five of its last nine games.
Grizzlies remaining schedule: vs. Golden State, at Phoenix, at Clippers, at Portland, at Dallas, vs. Dallas, at Detroit, vs. Golden State
Pelicans remaining schedule: vs. Sacramento, vs. Lakers, vs. Charlotte, at Phoenix, at Sacramento, vs. Golden State
But here's the catch: The Celtics may not want that Grizzlies pick this year. If the Grizzlies stay where they are, they'd keep the pick, and Boston's pick would transfer to a top-6 protected selection in 2020. If that pick doesn't convey, the C's get Memphis' unprotected first-rounder in 2021.
The Grizzlies don't look like they're getting better anytime soon, so the ideal scenario for Boston is that the Grizzlies hold onto their pick, tank for two more years and give the Celtics a high lottery pick in 2021.
Either way, Danny Ainge and Co. will roll into the 2019 draft with either three or four first-rounders, which could be valuable capital in a potential trade for Anthony Davis.
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