The Boston Celtics are the offshore betting favorites to win the 2017 NBA draft lottery. Which is odd considering they won the Atlantic Division title and finished first in the Eastern Conference – the first time they have been seeded No. 1 since they won their last NBA championship in 2008. As it turns out, way back in 2013 the Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and D.J. White to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, three future first round draft picks and the option to swap first round picks in the 2017 draft. Gee, do you think they’ll exercise that option?
As a result, the Nets may be missing out on Markelle Fultz who, barring any unforeseen event, will be the top overall pick. The Washington Huskies guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his sole college basketball season – becoming the first player since LaDrell Whitehead in 1994-95 to post over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game as a freshman –, and named to the All Pac 12 First Team, as well as an All American Third Team by the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and Sporting News. The offshore betting crackerjacks might think that Fultz would be as wasted on the Nets as he was on the Huskies – especially considering that the Nets are liable to trade him away for some magic beans.
The Celtics have a 25% chance of getting the top overall pick in the 2017 draft, though only five teams with the best odds ended up receiving the top 1 pick since the weighted lottery system was implemented in 1990. In spite of which Boston could still get their hands on some highly coveted prospects such as Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson. Ball led the nation in assists and broke the UCLA Bruins record for most assists in a season in 2016-17. In addition to that, the point guard was a consensus first-team All-American and won the Wayman Tisdale Award to the top freshman in the country.
As for Jackson, the Kansas Jayhawks guard was named an All-Big 12 First Team member, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, a second-team All-American according to Sporting News, and a third-team All-American by the Associated Press and National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2016-17. All things considered, the Celtics are already battling with the Cleveland Cavs for the Eastern Conference Championship and with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford on the roster, they are on the second tier of offshore betting faves, behind powerhouses like the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs, and the selfsame Cavs. Perhaps such unworthy prey as the Nets bring the Celtics no honor, but could it bring them another long-awaited championship?