At long last we have arrived. Zero Hour. Judgement Day. The beginning of the End. The Four Horsemen have been set loose. The seven trumpeters are blowing their horns and the Seventh Seal has been broken. The rivers have become red with blood and hellfire rains down from above. The Beast is gathering the people before him, devouring all that are weak enough to join his accursed ranks. Heaven is preparing it’s angels for the coming battle against the forces of darkness. Now is the time all must face judgement for what they have done in life and answer for their sins and transgressions. Tonight is truly the hour of reckoning. Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery.
Everything the Celtics have done for the last five years has lead up to this. Every trade, every non-trade, every signing, every draft pick, every heavily criticized move by the legion of foolish fans who called for win-now moves instead of using their brains. Every time GM Danny Ainge has shown patience (much to my delight) in the face of overwhelming opposition. Finally, the Nets Picks will gain corporeal form.
I’d call tonight, where the Celtics have the best odds of coming away with the number one overall pick, the most important moment in Celtics History, but that’d be an insult to last night’s Kelly Olynyk show. All the moves that have been setting up a glorious future can start to take shape tonight and June 22nd, the night of the draft. All I want is for the Celtics to get the number one pick. That’s literally all I’ve ever wanted for this season. I didn’t really care how far they went in the playoffs. Them making the Conference Finals is just a pleasant surprise. But I’m worried last night’s win over the Wizards and the suddenly mute John Wall used up all of their good juju (quick Conference Finals thoughts: worst case scenario is that the Celtics win two games against Cleveland. I know they have no shot of winning the series so don’t get my hopes up whatsoever. And I don’t even really want them in the Finals because I don’t want them to get punked by the Warriors, who are going to absolutely toast the Spurs after Zaza “It was just an accident, I swear” Pachulia took out Kawhi). You can’t make the Conference Finals and get the number one pick. I’m more mentally prepared for the number four pick than I am the number one. I mean, the Celtics are the best franchise in NBA history at two things: winning titles and getting screwed in the lottery. Kevin Durant should have been stabbing the Celtics in the back to join the Warriors this offseason, not the Thunder. Tim Duncan should have had his number retirement ceremony in Boston, not San Antonio. Len Bias should still be alive. Add in the fact that the team with the worst record has won the lottery two straight years and things are looking grim. Then add in the fact that if the Lakers’ pick is outside of the top 3, they lose it to Philadelphia and somehow also lose their 2019 first round pick to Orlando, and Magic Johnson is going to be in attendance. I know Stern is “retired,” but this is still the NBA we’re talking about. This is still the Lakers. They’re getting a top 3 pick. The Knicks probably are, too. The Celtics are fighting an uphill battle against an opponent who bends the rules in favor of what’s best for business. It feels like the Celtics have a 0.0% chance of winning the lottery tonight. I’d honestly be fine if the Celtics got 2 and the Lakers got 1, because I know the Lakers would never pass on Lonzo. At this point my only hope of getting future Celtics Legend Markelle Fultz on the roster is other teams’ incompetence. It’s still too early to talk backup plans, but there’s only two outcomes to this draft that would be unacceptable to me: drafting Lonzo Ball or trading the pick. I’ve made my thoughts on Lonzo pretty clear. I’m going to love watching him crash and burn, just as long as it’s on a different team. Hopefully the Cavs will sweep the Celtics so everyone can realize they aren’t one move away from competing. Hopefully people will look at the disappearing acts Paul George and Jimmy Butler pulled off during the playoffs (at times good enough to make even James Harden, Kyle Lowry, and Game 7 John Wall jealous) and start thinking maybe, just maybe, giving up the entire roster to get one of these guys isn’t the right move. And hopefully all those people who wanted Ainge fired for not trading the farm for Serge Ibaka or P.J. Tucker (for the record, I was not on that bandwagon. I was on the “Ainge can’t draft” bandwagon that crashed and burned after Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Jaylen Brown proved their worth multiple times over) saw how the badly the Raptors STUNK against the Cavs and that copying anything they do is probably the wrong move. The East won’t be won in one day. It’ll be won in four years when LeBron has deteriorated and only averages 23,7, and 6. Be patient. Fultz is an all-star level player, but he won’t be next year. Maybe not even the year after that. But they have the Nets’ pick next year. And multiple first round picks as early as 2019. This is a long play. It’s about time everyone else got on board the Celtics 2020 Express.
I really can’t do anything but hope, at this point. I mean, I’m a decent person. I’ve given to charity before. I feel bad when I see stray animals. I’ve thought about helping old ladies cross the street. I deserve this. Something good has to happen for one of my sports teams, after all. Just let me have this one, please.
If When the Celtics wind up getting the fourth pick, I’m going to search out the nearest 18-wheeler and stand directly in front of it.