Celtics

Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown receive shoutout for efforts in NBA's restart

Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown receive shoutout for efforts in NBA's restart

The NBA is set to resume next month in Orlando, where 22 teams will gather to finish the 2019-20 season and crown a champion.

Training camps are expected to begin July 9, with games returning July 30.

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Designing one central location where the league could stage games and house the players to ensure the safest environment possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic was not an easy process.

On a conference call Thursday featuring NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts and NBPA president (and Oklahoma City guard) Chris Paul, two young Boston Celtics stars received a special shoutout for their efforts in the league's return process.

Paul made special mention of Celtics guard Jaylen Brown and forward Jayson Tatum.

The Celtics are one of 22 teams traveling to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to play eight more regular season games (also known as "seeding games") and a normal four-round playoffs.

The remaining regular season schedule for the C's and the other teams will be announced Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.

Will Celtics land Grizzlies' 2020 first-round draft pick? Scenarios explained

Will Celtics land Grizzlies' 2020 first-round draft pick? Scenarios explained

Do the Boston Celtics really want to beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night?

Here's why that's a question worth asking: The Celtics own the rights to the Grizzlies' first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, unless Memphis' pick lands in the top six. If the Grizzlies earn a top-six pick, they'll send an unprotected 2021 first-round pick to Boston instead.

Basically, whether the Celtics land Memphis' pick in 2020 comes down to whether the Grizzlies make the playoffs.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

IF MEMPHIS MAKES THE PLAYOFFS
It doesn't enter the draft lottery, guaranteeing its picks is outside the top 14. Boston gets the Grizzlies' 2020 pick.

IF MEMPHIS MISSES THE PLAYOFFS
... It's a little more complicated.

Here are the current Western Conference standings, with the Grizzlies clinging on to the final playoff spot with three games remaining.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (33-38)
9. Portland Trail Blazers (33-39) 0.5 games back
10. San Antonio Spurs (31-38) 1 GB
11. Phoenix Suns (31-39) 1.5 GB

The final Western Conference playoff spot is decided by a play-in series between the No. 8 and No. 9 seed, and Memphis is among four teams still in contention for that spot.

If the Grizzlies finish eighth or ninth and lose the play-in series, they'll enter the draft lottery at No. 14 and have a 2.4 percent chance of moving up to a top-five pick, which would delay the pick going to Boston until 2021.

If they miss the play-in game and finish as the No. 10 seed, their odds of landing a top-five pick increase to 5.7 percent. And if they tank all the way to No. 11, those odds bump to 6.1 percent.

Put another way: The Celtics, at worst, have a 93.9 percent chance of getting Memphis' draft pick this year.

In all likelihood, then, Boston will have three first-round selections in the 2020 NBA Draft:

-- Grizzlies' pick (top-6 protected)
-- Celtics' own pick
-- Milwaukee Bucks' pick (top-7 protected)

Earning the Grizzlies' pick this year probably is the best-case scenario for the Celtics. Ja Morant leads a talented young Memphis squad that should be better in 2020-21, which would mean a worse pick for the C's in the 2021 draft.

So, back to the original question: Do the Celtics really want to beat the Grizzlies? In short, yes: It's all but guaranteed the C's get Memphis' pick this year, so the lower the Grizzlies are in the standings, the better for Boston.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown continues to be MVP of the bubble for C's

Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown continues to be MVP of the bubble for C's

Jaylen Brown has improved every facet of his game in Year 4 of his promising NBA career.

The Boston Celtics forward is averaging career highs in every major statistical category, and he's done a stellar job playing the Robin to Jayson Tatum's Batman throughout the 2019-20 season.

So far in the Orlando bubble, though, it's Brown who has taken over as Boston's Most Valuable Player.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Brown has been on fire through six games in the bubble, averaging 21.7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 assists through six games. On a brand new edition of the Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely emphatically explains to Kyle Draper why Brown is indisputably Boston's best player at this point in time.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger as postseason nears | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"In this moment, right now. Jaylen Brown is the best two-way player on this team right now. Right this minute," said Blakely. "And I'll go a step further, Jaylen Brown is the best player on this team period right now based on what he's doing in the bubble. Now, when we get to the playoffs do I expect him to be their best player? No. I expect him to be in the top three. I expect Tatum or Kemba to elevate and be that guy."

Blakely also praised Brown for continuing to be a leader off the court while dominating on it. After Sunday's overtime win vs. the Orlando Magic, the 23-year-old spoke at length about the issues of police brutality and mental health.

"Jaylen Brown is killing it, man. I mean he has been just an absolute beast," Blakely said. "And the thing that I love about Jaylen is that not only is he being a beast on the court and helping his team win, but all the social issues that he was championing before he got in the bubble that he said he would continue to have those conversations and use his platform to elevate those discussions, he's kept his word along those lines."

Also discussed on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast: How will Stevens handle playoff rotation? Has Robert Williams earned playing time over Enes Kanter? Who is the Celtics' ideal first-round opponent? And is Gordon Hayward the C's X-factor for the playoffs?

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.