W2W4: Celtics at 2014 draft lottery

The Boston Celtics hope to vault to a top-three selection during Tuesday night's draft lottery. The Celtics own two first-round picks, including No. 17 via last summer's blockbuster swap with the Brooklyn Nets, and they'll find out where their own pick will be slotted when the league draws pingpong balls to determine the top three spots. Here's a look back at Boston's lottery history and what to watch for tonight:


What? 2014 NBA draft lottery

When? Tuesday, May 20, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Where? Times Square in New York

Why? Seeding the 14 lottery teams

The Celtics finished the 2013-14 season tied with the Utah Jazz for the fourth-worst record in basketball at 25-57 overall. A random drawing gave Utah a valuable tiebreaker, but the two teams essentially split their available lottery chances, with Utah owning a slight odds edge. Boston will have 103 of the 1,000 available pingpong ball combinations while hunting for a top-three spot, but the fifth and sixth spots remain the most likely landing positions.

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca will represent the team on stage during ESPN's live broadcast of the results, while team president Rich Gotham will be stationed behind the scenes to watch the pingpong ball draw earlier in the evening.


Fourteen pingpong balls, numbered 1-14, are placed in a hopper, with the potential for 1,001 different four-ball draws. Each team is assigned a certain number of combinations based on their final record. At least three four-number combinations will be drawn, slotting teams with picks No. 1-3 in this year's draft. In the event that a team has one of its combinations drawn multiple times, the numbers are simply reshuffled and drawn again until three different teams have been determined.

Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren revealed the team's 103 four-number combinations earlier this month. If you're hunting for a lucky number, note that all the combinations include the presence of either a 4 or 5.

Teams are slotted in inverse order of record following the determination of the top three spots.


Here's a look at the Celtics' probability of landing each possible position:

1: 10.3 percent

2: 11.1

3: 12.0

4: 0.0

5: 23.7

6: 34.2

7: 8.2

8: 0.3


From our friends at ESPN Stats & Information: Since the lottery moved to its present format in 1994, the team with (or tied for) the best odds has won only three of the 20 lotteries -- Philadelphia in 1996 (selected Allen Iverson), Cleveland in 2003 (LeBron James) and Orlando in 2004 (Dwight Howard).

So who will win the lottery? Past history suggests the third-worst and fifth-worst records in the league have been most likely to vault (four times each). No team with the 10th-best through 14th-best odds has ever won the lottery.

Teams with the fifth-best odds, like the Celtics, have vaulted to No. 1 four times. For Boston, this is its 12th lottery appearance, and the team has never owned a No. 1 pick in the common draft era (since 1966).


A look at the 11 players Boston has selected via the draft lottery:

2007: Jeff Green* (5)

2006: Randy Foye** (7)

2001: Joe Johnson (10), Kedrick Brown (11, via Denver)

2000: Jerome Moiso (11)

1998: Paul Pierce (9)

1997: Chauncey Billups (3), Ron Mercer (6 via Dallas)

1996: Antoine Walker (6, via Dallas)

1994: Eric Montross (9)

1986: Len Bias (2, via Seattle)

* Selected for Seattle as part of Ray Allen trade

** Selected for Minnesota as part of deal to acquire Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and a 2008 second-round pick (Trent Plaisted) in exchange for Foye, Dan Dickau and Raef LaFrentz


A look at all of Boston's draft picks over the next five drafts:

2014 Draft

1st round: Boston, Brooklyn (17)

2nd round: None

2015 Draft

1st round: Boston, Clippers, Philadelphia*

2nd round: Boston, Philadelphia**, Sacramento***

* Philadelphia's pick is lottery-protected

** Philadelphia conveys if in lottery in 2014 and 2015

*** Conveyed only if between picks 56-60

2016 Draft

1st round: Boston, Brooklyn

2nd round: Miami, Philadelphia*

* Philadelphia conveys if in lottery in 2014 and 2015

2017 Draft

1st round: Boston*

2nd round: Boston**, Sacramento***

* Boston has option to swap with Brooklyn

** If Boston swaps with Brooklyn, it loses pick if between 46-60

*** Conveyed only if between picks 56-60

2018 Draft

1st round: Boston, Brooklyn

2nd round: Boston