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

Loser Philadelphia 76ers

The Celtics are preparing to do battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the right to go to the NBA Finals. A lot could change before the NBA Draft next month, but the combination of Ball being the second best prospect in this class and a California native who could become the franchise pillar the Lakers are looking for makes this union feel inevitable.

The Philadelphia 76ers will select third.

However, the two prospective top picks in the draft are Markelle Fultz of Washington and Lonzo Ball of UCLA.

While some question if Fultz and Celtics star Isaiah Thomas could co-exist in the same backcourt, Fultz says that wouldn't be an issue at all if Boston does indeed select him. Although they haven't yet ruled out auditioning for other teams closer to the 2017 NBA Draft, Shelburne's source made it clear that Los Angeles has been their desired destination "from the start". He's now the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. Eddie Jones was the first one, selected 10th overall in 1994. They had banded together prior to the 2007-08 season, won the title that year and kept the Celtics at the top of the East until the Miami Heat's "Big 3" got together. What is known is that the flexibility of their No. 2 pick is already at work with teams knocking on their door.

There's a theory, however, that Danny Ainge is hesitant to use any of his precious assets to continue to build the team as long as LeBron James is at the height of his powers. The Lakers have so few of them, most of which have turned out well, that there was no one picked as their worst selection. Ball has openly expressed a desire to play for the Lakers, though he hasn't been as vocal about such a scenario as his outspoken father, LaVar. It's a Boston team that many wrote off after the Celtics fell into a 0-2, first-round hole against the Bulls. Not sure any rookie will fit. The draft is chock of full point guards and the Knicks just happen to be in the market for one.

NBA Insider Chad Ford is now listing Allen as the #14 prospect on his Big Board.

No disrespect to Divac, who was a solid center in his own right. That group, while not eye-popping, are eight wins -albeit hard ones - from winning an 18th championship, which began Wednesday night at TD Garden. Bryant is now ranked third all-time on the National Basketball Association points list.

Needing some more size inside, Boston could use their 53rd pick on IN center Thomas Bryant.

"The Lakers make the playoffs as soon as my boy gets there", LaVar said.

But, he didn't suit up for any other team in his National Basketball Association career.

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