Celtics keeps rolling, and so do the rumors

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Celtics keeps rolling, and so do the rumors

That's it!

Blow 'em up!

Screw this team and start building for the future!

You heard this from a lot of Celtics fans (and Boston media personalities) in the wake of Rajon Rondo's ACL injury.

You it heard again on Friday after Jared Sullinger suffered a similar fate.

Throw in the towel! These guys are toast!

Screaming!!!

In the meantime, the Celtics have run off four straight wins all four without Rondo, essentially three without Sullinger to climb back over .500. And it's not just that they're winning, but how they're winning that's so impressive. The energy. The ball movement. The commitment to defense. The passion and chemistry. It's a welcome development after what they gave us over the first few months of the season.

Of course, we'd be singing a far different tune had they not salvaged yesterday's win against the Clippers. Had they blown that game, like they were so close to doing, we'd be right back on the negative horse. They'd be the same old apathetic Celtics, undeserving of any expectations. But for now, there's hope. There's reason to remain (relatively) optimistic about the post-RondoSullinger Era.

At the very least, it's worth pumping the breaks on the "blow it up" talk. Especially when it's clear that that's the last thing Danny Ainge wants to do.

But that won't stop the rumors. From now until the trade deadline, short of the Celtics breaking off a 20-game win streak, we'll continue to hear rumblings of numerous deals that might be in the works regardless of how realistic those rumblings are. Why? Because that's the world we live in. No one cares about real. It's all about headlines and clicks.

I'm not breaking new ground here. But that's just the way it is.

For instance, take this latest rumor about a potential deal between the Clippers and Celtics . . .

"Los Angeles Clippers interested in deal for Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett, report says."

That's the ESPN headline, and when you click on the link, the story starts like this:

The Los Angeles Clippers are interested in acquiring Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics, the Sporting News reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources.While the Sporting News reported that officials from both teams talked about a deal before the Celtics beat the Clippers 106-104 on Sunday, sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard that no trade talks have taken place between the teams.
Look at that again.

It takes ESPN all of two sentences to render the headline meaningless. To blow the rumor out of the water. Honestly, if there haven't been any trade talks, then what's the story? That the Clippers wouldn't mind trading for Kevin Garnett? That's not news. It's an obvious and almost useless piece of information. Of course they want Garnett. Outside of the Spurs, any contender would jump at the chance for KG.

But now it's in the pipeline. Now everyone has to jump in and get their jollies. In this case, ESPN is saying: "OK, so someone else started this silly rumor, but we won't tell you that's silly until we can cash in on the sillyness."

By the way, I don't mean to single out ESPN here. Everyone does it. And everyone will continue to do it. It's a vicious cycle. No matter what happens next, the rumors will keep on coming. In turn, we'll be hit with round after round of stories like this refuting stories that were never stories in the first place.

And finally, our heads will collectively explode, bringing an official end to the human race as we know it. It's going to be a trip. And after it's all said and done, the Celtics still won't be any closer to trading Kevin Garnett to Clippers than they were yesterday or today. It will all be a big waste of time.

Unless the Celtics lose to Toronto on Wednesday.

In that case, FIRE SALE!!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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

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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

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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

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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.