The order that teams will pick in the 2017 NBA Draft won’t be known until 8 p.m. ET tonight, but the Boston Celtics are already draft day winners.
The draft is designed for the worst teams to get better by picking great young basketball talent in the hope of eventual success. But thanks to a trade with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, the Celtics — a team currently competing in the NBA Playoffs on a quest for a title — will have a top draft pick.
Boston sent its stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (along with role players) to Brooklyn for five journeyman and several draft picks, including the right to swap the first-round selection in 2017. The Nets had the worst record in the league in the 2016-17 season, giving the franchise the best shot at the No. 1 overall pick — a pick that now belongs to Boston.
Basketball analysts have identified five players as college studs that will have immediate success in the NBA: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum. Because of how the draft lottery is set up, making sure the worst team doesn’t select beyond the fourth overall pick, Boston will add top-tier talent to a team that already has a loaded roster, highlighted by Nike-sponsored Isaiah Thomas and four-time NBA All-Star Al Horford.
If Boston — a team that will soon meet LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a chance to play for the NBA championship — doesn’t get a ring this year, there’s a good chance it will happen in the not-so-distant future.
The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery can be seen via ESPN tonight. The 2017 NBA Draft will take place on June 22.
Thomas and Horford, who wear the Nike Kobe A.D. ($159.99 via Foot Locker) and the Nike Hyperdunk 2016 ($139.99 via Foot Locker), respectively, will lead the Celtics against James and the Cavaliers starting Wednesday in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Tip off for Game 1, which will take place at TD Garden in Boston, is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.
And before the draft lottery starts, check out the kicks you’ll see on the court in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals below.