The Memphis Grizzlies failed to make the 2020 NBA Playoffs and will enter the Draft Lottery, and you can bet the Boston Celtics will be paying close attention to how the ping-pong balls shake out.
The Grizzlies lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in Saturday's NBA play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers will play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. For Memphis, it's a painful loss after entering the league's restart in a playoff spot.
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The Celtics own the Grizzlies' 2020 first-round draft pick, but it's protected for selections one through six. Therefore, if the Grizzlies get lucky and jump into the top four in the lottery, they will keep their pick in 2020 and instead send the team's 2021 first-rounder to Boston unprotected. If the Grizzlies don't vault into the top four, they will have the No. 14 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and that selection will go to the C's.
Here are the Grizzlies' lottery odds:
--There's a 97.6 percent chance Memphis doesn't leap into the top four and sends the No. 14 overall pick to Boston.
--There's a 2.4 percent chance Memphis jumps into the top four and sends an unprotected 2021 first-round pick to Boston.
The draft lottery is scheduled for Aug. 20.
The ideal scenario for the Celtics probably is getting the Grizzlies' 2021 first-round pick unprotected.
Sure, the Grizzlies have a bright future with rookie Ja Morant and second-year forward Jaren Jackson Jr. giving the franchise a solid foundation. However, the Western Conference is ultra competitive, as we saw during the intense playoff chase over the last few weeks. You could make a strong case that several of the teams around Memphis in the West standings will be better next season. That scenario could make it tough for the Grizzlies to reach the playoffs in 2021.
The 2020 NBA Draft class also is fairly weak compared to the last couple years, so the Celtics having to wait another season for Memphis' first-rounder wouldn't be the worst thing.