Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Danny Ainge's patience pays off with Celtics' draft lottery win


They can follow what he called a "measured, organic growth path" and continue to build through the draft, or hasten things along via free agency and trades.

Philadelphia is picking in the top three for the fourth straight season, though they actually moved up in this year's draft.

The Timberwolves dropped back one spot in the order and have the seventh pick in the first round of the draft.

Ball and Fultz appear to be the two standout players in the 2017 NBA Draft, and the Lakers will likely take whichever of the two players the Celtics do not pick.

The 76ers' fifth annual trip to the NBA Draft Lottery ended Tuesday with a small but valuable payout. The Boston Celtics had the best chance to win, and they did.

And Danny Ainge is enjoying them both. The Lakers are rebuilding and don't need redundancy in the backcourt, which the assumed pick of Ball and Russell would create. "One is a lot about the future, and one is in the present". It's very exciting. We've never had that before, so that would be a lot of fun to explore those options.

In the meantime, the Celtics have an Eastern Conference title on their minds, as they prepare to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. "It's pretty wonderful", said Wyc Grousbeck, a Celtics owner who represented them on stage.

Boston entered the night with a 25-percent chance of landing the top pick, which was revealed just before 9 p.m.

"It's busy", Grousbeck said. It felt just like winning Game 7 [Monday] night. "We have that ability to gather information and intel kind of peer-to-peer, player-to-player that other teams may not have", McDonough said.

The Kings landed two spots in the lottery, including their own pick at No. 5. I'm just guessing here, but some people might not be surprised by that. With Magic Johnson in the building in NY as the team's representative, the purple and gold were awarded the No. 2 overall pick. Boston already obtained first-round picks from Brooklyn in 2014 and 2016.

After the lottery ended, Pierce wrote on twitter: "And look what I leave behind for the Celts on my way out #1 pick".

The draft is considered a strong one, loaded with point guards such as Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and De'Aaron Fox.

"That's all we working out for is the Lakers", the elder Ball said. "In this day's National Basketball Association, picks are very, very valuable".

Besides, blowing up the core makes far more sense after you get a much better sense for how good guys can be with the elusive secondary creator the roster has desperately needed now coming in the form of the pick. Bring him in before the max salaries kick in years later. In other words, they managed to keep their pick.

"KP missing the [exit] meeting, I was surprised, " Frazier said. It's hard for me to be patient.

"My emotions were, 'What am I doing on stage with these two great players?'" Grousbeck said with a laugh.

The temptation to trade for a player like George immediately is nearly overwhelming, but the flexibility the Lakers can attain by just holding out for one year while they develop from within is too juicy to pass up.

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