By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Celtics didn’t quite land a golden ticket in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery. But they didn’t get the rug pulled out from under them, either, because their pick from the Grizzlies just got a little better.
Memphis ended up with the No. 2 pick when the NBA announced the draft order on Tuesday night. The New Orleans Pelicans complicated the Celtics’ chances of trading for Anthony Davis by landing the No. 1 selection. But as for the Grizzlies, their pick was top-8 protected so they get to keep No. 2 and push the Celtics back to 2020.
The good news for Danny Ainge is that the 2020 pick is top-6 protected, so the C’s could land a pick as high as seventh in the 2020 NBA Draft. But if the Grizzlies land in the top-6, the pick moves back one more year to 2021, when their pick would be unprotected for the Celtics.
So ideally, the ping pong balls bounce Boston’s way one more time next summer. Tuesday night helped Ainge in that this year’s draft class is widely considered weak outside of the top-2 picks. The Celtics only could have landed No. 2, if the Sacramento Kings’ pick skyrocketed up the board. Instead, the Kings stayed at their most probable spot at No. 14, where the C’s will pick next month along with 20 and 22.
It’s highly unlikely the Celtics land an impactful asset with any of their selections this year, but perhaps Ainge lands a useful role player. Next year may result in similar selections if the Grizzlies fall to No. 7 or later in the 2020 lottery. So for the Memphis pick, it’s best to keep those fingers crossed for one more year in hopes that Boston goes into 2021 with an unprotected pick.
And of course, the hope is that the Grizzlies continue to be a lottery team in the first place. Unless the player they take at No. 2 is a stud right away, that’s highly likely as well.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.