Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Here’s what we know about the 2014 draft lottery: The bottom two positions are likely cemented. Milwaukee is 12-48, and even after gutting its roster and with the potential it might not win another game this season, Philadelphia (15-46) will be hard-pressed to make up the 2½-game difference on the Bucks.
The standings are a bit more cluttered from there. The Orlando Magic (19-44) own the third-worst record in basketball and have a two-game cushion over the Celtics (including three games in the loss column).
Behind Boston, there is a cluster of four teams in the Lakers, Jazz, Kings and Knicks (who traded their pick to the Nuggets), all of which are within two games of the Celtics entering Thursday’s action.
What’s working in Boston’s favor is that 14 of its final 21 games are against teams that are currently slotted in playoff berths. The Celtics also have two games with a Detroit team that is still within striking distance (three games back of the final playoff berth) in the East.
I hate this time of year, but it’s necessary, I guess.
The real fight here is with our old rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, who got smoked by 48 last night. They are now just a half game ahead of the Celtics, holding the fifth-worst record in the league. The Celtics are the fourth-worst, ahead of Orlando, Philly, and Milwaukee.
Philly’s an abomination. They might not win again this season. I hope their pick busts and sets the franchise back a decade.
Follow that link and you’ll see that historically, the worst record doesn’t end up with the best pick. Of course, that has no statistical bearing on the future, but it does show that finishing with the worst record is zero guarantee that a team will get the top pick.
I would contend that it’s not necessarily where the Celtics fall in this draft that’s most important. It’s who falls ahead of them that’s most important. If Chad Ford’s last mock draft plays out (insider link), the Celtics would grab Jabari Parker in the fourth spot. It’s possible that he’d fall to fifth if the Lakers leapfrog the C’s since they need a point guard and there’s a good chance either Marcus Smart or Dante Exum would be available there.
You know by now that I’m on the Parker bandwagon. I think he’s the most NBA-ready of the bunch, and he’ll fill a need for the C’s. Wiggins might have a higher ceiling, but I haven’t seen enough fire from him to make me comfortable picking him. Embiid, to me, has the highest “bust” potential of the high-lottery guys. He very well could be great, but I think there is plenty of room for him to falter.
I’m assuming the Celtics are keeping Rondo, and, at the right price, Bradley. So that leaves Parker as the next logical choice. I think the C’s will be fine if they land somewhere in the top five considering need. But if something wonky happens like the Cavs slipping past the Celtics, then Parker is in danger of coming off the board.
So personally, if the Celtics finish with the fourth or fifth-worst pick, I’ll be happy. That puts them right in the mix for a top-five pick and right in the sweet spot, historically, of slipping into the top spot. Anything worse than five, or some aberration that risks targeted players coming off the board, and then we’re starting to get into “plan B” territory. And I don’t want to think about that right now.
Related links: CSNNE: Where can C’s still get building block in the lottery?
Page 2: KG is skipping this trip to Boston
Kevin Garnett will not face his former team Friday at TD Garden, as the Brooklyn Nets forward didn’t travel with his team to Boston because of back spasms.
It will mark the fourth straight game the 37-year-old Garnett has missed.
“It is tough for him,” his teammate and fellow former Celtic Paul Pierce told the Brooklyn media Wednesday.
“We had a chance to see him get out on the court and do some extra stuff [on Wednesday before beating Memphis]. But he is a competitor. He hates to sit out. The good thing is we need him to get his rest so he can come back full strength.”
Garnett has pulled out of his early season funk a little bit and the Nets are slowly climbing the standings to be where we thought they’d be. My joke back in July when I saw the Nets spending like crazy was “Wow, that’s a lot of money to spend on a 4 seed.”
Well, they’re 6th right now, a game out of 5th (behind Washington, so… yeah, they’ll be the 5th seed soon) and three games behind Toronto and Chicago who are tied for the third seed (actually, Toronto is percentage points ahead, but you don’t really care). The Nets are going to have to massage KG’s minutes to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs.
The bigger question now is… have we seen the last of KG in the Garden? He’s got one year left on his deal. And while it’s tough to imagine giving up 12 million dollars, KG would be the guy to do it. And if this year is any indication, he’s nearing the end of his physical ability to play a full season.
The biggest influence on Garnett might be what Paul Pierce does. He’s a free agent. And if Pierce leaves Brooklyn (I still say he’s going to the Clippers next season to play at home and with Doc one more time), then KG might just say “screw this, I’m done.”
A thank you from the Corbett Family
How can we leave you today? You have been so generous, so sweet so gracious to Louis, his brother and I.
You’ve poured your hearts into him and it shows. The smile has never left his face, even in his sleep. The look of awe has been there as soon as he saw his first Celtics poster in town and it got bigger every hour.
He has been given so many gifts this week. Shoes and gear galore which he’ll share around back in NZ to spread the joy further but the biggest gift, has been how Boston has taken him under your wing and cared for him. You’ve also ‘seen’ him for what he is, a12 year old boy full of joy, ‘living his dream.’
He has grown so much this week in confidence and opened his sights to what he can do, what he can be. ‘I could go to Uni here then work for the Celtics!’ When asked what he wants to do when he grows up.
Everyday in Boston he experienced kindness and saw generosity in action and the change that can bring to literally ‘make the world a better place’.
Boston, your city is stunning and your people are outstanding, they have the sweetest, biggest hearts. A HUGE thank you from Catherine and I for the welcome and care you have given Louis, Jerome and I. You have stocked not only Louis’ ‘visual database’ but have filled his heart and mind to overflowing with joy and love. There will be so much that he experienced this week that he can draw on now and in the years ahead.
We have a Maori saying in New Zealand which in English is ….
‘What is the most important thing?
It is people
It is people
It is people’
Dear Boston people, you are the most important thing.
Boston Strong = Louis Strong!
Thank you so much to everyone who smiled at Louis this week.
See you again soon!
Tim and Catherine
This was Boston, and Celtics Nation at its finest. Opening its arms to not only make a kid’s dream of seeing a Celtics game come true, but to blow that dream out of the water with an unforgettable experience.
Go to the Facebook page set up for this trip. Just look at what people did for Louis. It’s just been amazing.
I’ve never been more proud of my city and my team. And thank you Louis, for being the inspiration that you are.
The rest of the links