BOSTON — The Brooklyn Nets, for all intents and purposes, will be irrelevant this season. They lost their first seven games of the 2015-16 campaign and own a 2-10 record that’s not likely to get much better.
So why does everyone in Boston care how they’re doing?
The answer, of course, is that the Celtics own unprotected rights to Brooklyn’s first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. So, the worse the Nets are, the better chance Boston has of securing a high pick — perhaps even No. 1 overall.
The Celtics insist the club’s chances of hitting the lottery will be far from their minds when they host the Nets on Friday, a mindset eloquently described by Evan Turner at Thursday’s practice.
“You may be getting (expletive) disguised as steak, you know what I’m saying?” Turner said, via the Boston Globe. “So you really just focus on what you can control.”
But since we’re not the Celtics, we’ve decided to look ahead to next June anyway. Here’s a handy chart showing every draft pick Boston has accumulated over the next six years, courtesy of ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
For now, we’ll just focus on 2016. If the regular season ended Friday afternoon and draft order was based solely on team records, what picks would the Celtics have in the upcoming draft?
Spoiler: It’s a lot.
3rd overall (via Nets)
17th overall (own)
26th overall (via Dallas Mavericks)
31st overall (via Philadelphia 76ers)
38th overall (via Minnesota Timberwolves)
44th overall (via Memphis Grizzlies)
54th overall (via Miami Heat)
58th overall (via Cleveland Cavaliers)
Yes, you read that right. Assuming they don’t do any wheeling and dealing (which is a big assumption), the C’s will have eight picks in the upcoming draft, seven of which were acquired from other teams.
Their lot also could improve even more if the Mavericks can’t maintain their hot start (more likely) or if the Timberwolves climb the Western Conference’s ranks to earn a No. 9 seed or higher (less likely).
The cream of the crop, though, is the Brooklyn pick, which gives the Celtics extra motivation to take care of business against their Atlantic Division foe, whether they’d like to admit it or not.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via General Manager Danny Ainge talks about hiring new Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, center, as owner Wyc Grousbeck, right, listens in during a news conference announcing Stevens new position.