Feb 21, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) kneels on the court beside Boston Celtics guard Gerald Wallace (45) after being hit in the face against the Los Angeles Lakers during the third quarter at Staples Center. The Lakers won 101-92. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics Tank Report: What's At Stake?

All right, Hardwood Houdini readers: the truth has come out.

Despite player, coaches, and front office assertions to the contrary, the Boston Celtics are a team that is tanking as hard as any bottom-dwelling team in the NBA right now.  Whether the team always planned on sinking to the bottom of the standings is debatable – I like to think there was a shred of Celtic pride on hand when the season opened, if only to give the front office a chance to see how well the current roster really could play – but by now there can be no doubt that the front office has done what it needed to do in order to guarantee that this team will not even be sniffing the playoffs once April rolls around.

I’m not necessarily okay with this – deliberately losing doesn’t exactly jive with the integrity of the game, nor does it make me want to spend my hard-earned dollars on the product that Boston is selling – but at the same time I understand that the only reason this roster exists in the first place is because the Celtics needed to clear out some players and salaries in order to get the rebuilding process under way.  Now that we’re nearly 3/4 of the way through the season, with no chance of making the playoffs (even in the dreadful East), it’s time to embrace the tank and see how it benefits the Cs.

Following last night’s downright embarrassing loss to the Utah Jazz, the Boston Celtics own a 19-39, good for the fourth-worst record in all of the NBA.  (The Celtics currently are tied with the hated Los Angeles Lakers at 19 wins, but the Lakers have played, and lost, less games than Boston, giving them a better win percentage right now.)  If the Celtics keep losing, they could conceivably end up with the third- or even second-worst record in the league, but they will be hard-pressed to catch the abysmal Milwaukee Bucks, who have still only won 11 games this season.

Based on how the NBA draft lottery works, it is Boston’s “best” interest to remain among the league’s worst four teams, as only those four teams hold a double-digit percent chance of landing the first pick in the draft.  Here are the percentages for the bottom four teams in the NBA:

  • Fourth-worst 11.9% chance of picking first
  • Third-worst, 15.6%
  • Second-worst, 19.9%
  • Worst, 25%

With this current pool of prospects, even the idea of picking fourth is tantalizing, as that means the Celtics will be assured of being able to draft either Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins, or Joel Embiid, the four players considered by most people with triple-digit basketball IQs to be the top-four players in college basketball today.  So, as much as it pains a longtime Boston Celtics fan to say this, I have to admit that I am hoping Boston’s losing ways will continue.  Ack – I feel so dirty saying that!  Help me – am I a bad Celtics fan for saying that, or is that the only course of action any of us should be pursuing?  Leave your comments below, or @theamazingMrS / @HoudiniCeltics on Twitter!

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