So you think that sitting 5 players in their last regular season game was done for rest only. Think long, long term as did Danny Ainge.
The Celtics, on Monday, by virtue of their 9th best record in the NBA were looking at the 22nd pick in this years draft. With 2 straight losses to Chicago and Milwaukee to end the season, the Celtics would still end up with no worse than the 9th best record, BUT, could be tied with as many as 3 other teams with the 9th best record (if those 3 teams won an additional game to give them 50 wins as well).
The 9th best record translates into the 22nd pick in the NBA draft, unless of course, you are tied with another team or 2, or in this case -3 other teams (San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Portland) which is actually where the Celtics ended up with after 2 losses to finish the regular season. Are you still with me? Intrigued?
So, a tie requires a flip of the coin, or 3 flips in this case, to see who ends up with the 22nd pick, the 21st pick, the 20th, and last but certainly not least in this case- the 19th pick.
The Coin flip was held yesterday and in a small make-up for not winning the NBA draft lottery for Kevin Durrant 3 years ago- the Celtics won. So because of those last 2 losses, the Celtics move up 3 spots in the draft which could be the difference between the unheard of Victor Claver picked #22 in 2009 by Portland, and 3 pretty good point guards in Darren Collison(Hornets), Eric Maynor(Jazz), and Jeff Teague(Hawks) who were picked right before Claver.
To pick a better example how about Cleveland’s very active forward J J Hickson picked #19 in ’09 instead of Alexis Ajinca picked by Charlotte right afterwards. 2006 might speak the loudest for an example- The Celtics selected Rajon Rondo at #21 while New jersey picked Marcus Williams at #22. Then again it comes down to the ability of those who are drafting because if that same draft was evaluated now, Rondo would be selected no lower than #5.
You’ll hear a lot more about this later when the Draft gets closer but this is one case where a loss, or in this case 2 losses, were big wins, or could certainly turn out to be.
sneak into a 4 team tie for the 9th best record, or the 23rd pick and with a luck of the flip of the coin could end with the