Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles


Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles

BOSTON There was plenty of disappointment in the Boston Celtics locker room following Friday's loss to the Indiana Pacers.

But few seemed to take the latest setback for the Green Team harder than Chris Wilcox.

That's because this game was like most this season, one in which the 6-foot-10 big man made little, if any, impact.

Wilcox, who played less than three minutes, provided just 1 point and zero boards and failed to provide the kind of high-energy, high impact plays the C's were hoping for when they signed him to a one-year deal for the full, miniature mid-level exception (3 million).

In five games, he is averaging career-lows in just about every category, including scoring (1.4) and minutes played (9) per game.

He'll be the first to tell you that he has to play better.

"Whatever it takes for me to get going, that's what I'm going to do," Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I think I'm hurting the team right now."

Wilcox added, "I just got to get my mentals right; I gotta get right. I gotta get my confidence back."

You can blame it on his left shoulder injury, or being with a new team that has a goal in mind -- an NBA title -- that no team he has ever played for in the past ever seriously considered.

None of that matters.

He knows that the Celtics will need strong play from many, himself included, in order to continue its run among the top teams in the East.

But they'll need him to provide more than three minutes.

The lack of playing time was due to, more than anything else, his inability to give the second unit a lift. But head coach Doc Rivers is quick to come to the defense of Wilcox and the rest of the team's backup players, a unit that hasn't quite made the impact many were expecting.

"We do have to get more out of our bench," Rivers acknowledged. "That's on me. I have to find something that works for them, that we can give them. They're an energy group. They're not a scoring group."

Wilcox certainly falls into that category.

He has never averaged more than 14.1 points per game in a season, with most of his points usually coming on hustle plays or relatively close to the basket on dunks, easy put-backs or lay-ups.

When asked specifically about Wilcox, Rivers made it clear that the veteran big man's play was not something he was too worried about now.

"The guy, he missed a couple games," Rivers said. "He's working his way back. We're eight games into the year. So I'm not too concerned with that."

Despite his left shoulder still giving him problems, Wilcox refuses to use that as an excuse for his struggles.

"It's still sore, it still bothers me but at the end of the day I gotta go out there and play hard, man," Wilcox said. "I haven't been playing like myself. I know what I gotta do; I gotta get in the gym, get my work in and get better. It's that simple."

Draper: Better financial option for Durant to stay in OKC one more year


Draper: Better financial option for Durant to stay in OKC one more year

A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper discuss the chances the Boston Celtics land Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins.

Celtics begin working out draft prospects Wednesday


Celtics begin working out draft prospects Wednesday

BOSTON – The Celtics’ practice facility will become a basketball port-of-call in the coming weeks as some of the best young talent passes through, all with the goal of doing their best to impress the Celtics’ brass.

Austin Ainge, the Celtics’ director of player personnel, said Boston will begin working out players on Wednesday with the first group consisting of six players - two guards, two forwards and two big men.
“We’ll put them through a lot of different situations,” Ainge, who declined to identify the six players working out on Wednesday, told CSNNE.com. “We’ll see how bigs are at guarding guards, and guards defending bigger players, some of the roles they would have to play if they were Celtics…We’ll get a good look at what they can do in a lot of different scenarios.”
With eight draft picks [three in the first round and five in the second], the list of players making the rounds will likely be longer than usual.
Ainge said he anticipated the Celtics will work out 80-100 players, which is slightly more than they usually do.
“With trades, you just never really know,” Ainge said. “So we try to work out players all the way through 60.”
Speaking of trades, Ainge anticipates the Celtics will be on the phone more than past years because they have so many picks and, by all indications, do not plan to use them all.
If Boston can’t package some of their picks to acquire more talent, the Celtics will look even closer than usual at drafting players from overseas with the intent that they don’t join Boston’s roster for a couple of years.
Because Boston has so many picks, you would think they would be in position to be more selective than past years when it came to who they brought in for workouts.
“With our picks, it is in a player’s best interest to work out for us,” Ainge acknowledged. “But for us, we want to see as many players as possible so that we can draft the best fit, the best player that’s available.”
The draft lottery later on May 17 will determine exactly where the Celtics will be selecting with the pick they acquired as part of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013.
Boston acquired three picks as part of the trade. They used the first one to draft James Young two years ago.
This past season, Brooklyn (21-61) finished with the third-worst record, which gives Boston a 15.6 percent chance that the Nets pick it receives will be the No. 1 overall selection. 
If Boston lands one of the top-two picks, a workout with LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – the consensus top-two players in this year’s draft – is likely. And if the Celtics wind up with the No. 2 pick, they might work out Dragan Bender who is the top overseas prospect in this year’s draft.
In addition to the Brooklyn pick, which will be no worse than the sixth overall selection, Boston has another pair of first-round picks (16th and 23rd overall), along with five second-round picks (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th), at their disposal.


History of third-best odds in NBA draft lottery


History of third-best odds in NBA draft lottery

The NBA draft lottery is two weeks away, which means only two more weeks of hitting the “sim lottery” button on our computers while we should be doing work.

Since the weighted lottery system was modified before 1994 giving the team with the worst record a 25-percent chance at the No. 1 pick, the worst team has ended up with the No. 1 pick just three times, most recently the 2015 lottery to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 25-percent chance, in short, means that out of 1,000 ping pong ball combinations, the worst team going into the lottery has 250 of those combinations. If one of those 250 combinations is pulled, the No. 1 pick goes to that team.

The number of combinations drops per team from worst team in lottery down to the best at No. 14. Since 2005, there are 16 playoff teams and 14 lottery teams. Where the lottery teams rank in record determines how many chances they have at a winning combination. The No. 14 team in the lottery has five chances.

The Boston Celtics go into the lottery holding the Brooklyn Nets’ pick. The Nets finished with the third-worst record this season, giving them 156 combinations, or a 15.6-percent chance at the No. 1 pick.

Combinations are pulled for the top three picks. After that, teams fall into place based on record.

The Celtics have a 46.9-percent chance at landing a Top 3 pick. Picks 1-3 break down virtually equal, at 15.6-percent for the No. 1 seed, 15.6-percent for the No. 2 seed, and 14.7-percent for the No. 3 seed.

Because three teams could leapfrog them (remember, combinations are chosen for just the top three picks), they could fall to as low as the No. 6 seed, but no further. Boston’s chances to land the No. 4 or No. 5 seed actually increase from the first three picks, as they have a 22.6-percent chance at No. 4 and a 26.5-percent chance at No. 5. A No. 6 seed would be extremely unlucky, as there’s just a 4-percent chance at that.

So the question you want to know: How many No. 3 seeds have ended up with the top pick? Since 1994, it’s happened five times, though based on teams with the same record that season, ping pong ball combinations varied. (Example: in 1994, the Bucks were tied with two other teams for the second-worst record, giving them 163 combinations. I included them as one of the five “No. 3 seeds” previously mentioned even though technically they weren’t - it’s close enough.)

The No. 3 seed has never gotten the second pick. It’s gotten the third pick three times, the fourth pick four times, the fifth pick nine times, and the sixth pick once.

Since 2005, the No. 3 lottery team has won the lottery twice (2009, 2013). Let’s take a look at every third-seeded lottery team since then, where there they ended up picking, and who ended up going third in that draft.

Click here for the complete breakdown of each lottery since 2005.