Celtics

Celtics

The Boston Celtics' seeding in the 2019 NBA playoffs is secured. Their first-round draft picks by way of the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers are mostly set, give or take a spot or two.

... But about that Memphis Grizzlies pick.

The Celtics own the rights to Memphis' 2019 first-round pick, protected for selections 1 to 8. If the pick doesn't convey this year, it becomes a top-six protected pick in 2020, then an unprotected first-rounder in 2021.

Considering the Grizzlies should be very bad for at least the next two seasons, the C's probably don't want their pick this year, a sentiment The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach confirmed late Sunday night.

But it appears Boston's fortunes will be tied to the ping pong balls.

With two games left in their seasoson, the Grizzlies are tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the NBA's seventh-worst record and just a half game behind the New Orleans Pelicans.

Here's a look at the standings entering Monday:

9th-worst record: New Orleans Pelicans, 33-48
T-7th-worst: Memphis Grizzlies, 32-48 (0.5 games back)
T-7th-worst: Dallas Mavericks, 32-48 (0.5 GB)
6th-worst: Washington Wizards, 32-49 (1 GB)

 

The Grizzlies have two games remaining -- at the Detroit Pistons and home vs. the Golden State Warriors -- while the Pelicans host the Warriors on Tuesday in their season finale. The Mavericks close out against the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, while the Wizards finish up with the Celtics on Tuesday.

If Boston doesn't want Memphis' pick, here's the ideal scenario: The Grizzlies lose both games, Dallas wins at least one of its last two, and Washington beats the C's. (Yes, it might behoove Boston to lose its season finale.) That would give Memphis the sixth position in the NBA Draft Lottery and a 96.1 percent chance of securing a top-8 pick.

If the Grizzlies finish with the seventh-worst record, there's an 84.8 chance their pick won't convey to the Celtics. If they land in the eighth-worst position, that number drops to 61.9 percent. And if they manage to pull off a win or two and pass New Orleans for the ninth-worst spot, there's just a 20.3 chance Boston will avoid the pick.

Got all that?

In all of these scenarios, we won't know the fate of the Grizzlies pick for sure until the lottery in May. But Memphis can help Boston's cause by dropping its last two games -- and getting a little help from its friends.

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