Celtics Land Sixth Pick in Lottery

BOSTON – Percentages held true for the Boston Celtics at Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, as they drew the sixth pick in this year’s Draft. Boston entered the Lottery with a 34.2 percent chance of landing the sixth pick, the highest probability of any possible outcome.

The NBA Draft will be held on June 26 in New York City. The Celtics also hold the rights to the 17th overall pick, which they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets last offseason.

Boston is in line to grab a pair of talented players in what many are considering to be the deepest draft in recent memory. The depth of this year’s class, combined with the fact that the No. 6 and No. 17 picks have both featured many great players in the past, mean that the Celtics are likely to bolster their lineup with even more young talent.

Let’s start with the history of the sixth pick. Below is a list of many of the most successful No. 6 selections since 1978:

Top players chosen sixth overall.
Year Player
2013 Nerlens Noel
2012 Damian Lillard
2008 Danilo Gallinari
2006 Brandon Roy
2003 Chris Kaman
2001 Shane Battier
1996 Antoine Walker
1987 Kenny Smith
1988 Hersey Hawkins
1978 Larry Bird

Did you see that last name? That's the one and only Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Boston selected him in 1978, 18 years before it also chose Antoine Walker with the sixth overall selection. Walker went on to make three All-Star teams and teamed up with Paul Pierce to drive the Celtics to the Conference Finals in 2002. Six of the 10 players on that list made an All-Star team during their career and four won NBA titles.

You’d think that the 17th pick would yield far less success than the sixth pick, but that is far from the case. There have been plenty of stars who have slipped to that pick as well. Below is the list of the top players who were chosen No. 17 overall since 1980:

Top players chosen 17th overall.
Year Player
2012 Tyler Zeller
2011 Iman Shumpert
2009 Jrue Holiday
2008 Roy Hibbert
2005 Danny Granger
2004 Josh Smith
1996 Jermaine O'Neal
1989 Shawn Kemp

That’s a heck of a list too, isn’t it? Six of the eight players on that list were All-Stars during their playing careers, including two of the last six 17th overall selections.

There’s no doubt that Celtics fans are feeling a bit perturbed tonight after striking out on the Lottery yet again. But that doesn’t mean the glass is empty. There is plenty left to drink.

The 2014 NBA Draft is stacked with legitimate players and Boston owns two of the first 17 picks. The Celtics may have missed out on a top-three selection, but their team will improve – quite possibly in dramatic fashion – by the time June 26 comes to an end. That’s a fact.