NEW YORK - The Boston Celtics received a timely boost on Tuesday on the eve of their Eastern Conference showdown with Cleveland after discovering they will command the first pick in this year's NBA draft.
The Celtics earned the top spot in the draft lottery four years after their decision to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal that enabled multiple first-round picks to go to Boston.
That bold move paid off on Tuesday as the Celtics earned the top spot in the draft, giving them their first first pick since the introduction of the lottery in 1985.
It is also only the second ever time the Celtics will pick first. The only other occasion occurred in 1950.
"I'm glad we didn't trade it, you can write it down," Boston managing partner Wyc Grousbeck said.
The Celtics traded Garnett and Pierce after six seasons together which included an NBA title in 2008.
The Celtics faced long rebuilding process but steadily improved to win top seeding in the Eastern Conference this year.
The Nets meanwhile have declined, getting progressively worse results since the deal.
"Back in 2013 it felt like a fair deal for both sides," Grousbeck said. "This is what Brooklyn wanted to do, wanted to go all on it, chase a championship. They put together really a heck of a team, a great team. Now it's our turn four years later to take some benefits from the trade."
The Celtics also get another first-round pick in 2018 from the Nets.
"That felt pretty good," Grousbeck said after the draft lottery results were revealed.
"It felt like winning Game Seven last night. There's a lot of good feelings around the Celtics right now."
Markelle Fultz is tipped to be the top overall pick.
The Los Angeles Lakers meanwhile discovered they will get second pick.
The Philadelphia 76ers will select third.
"Tonight was a great night as we continue to build our team into a contender," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said.
"There really was no way to walk out of here disappointed given the possible outcomes we faced. We'll now zero in and focus on drafting a quality player at No. 3 who adds to our dynamic young core," he said.
"We also now have clarity that we'll have a 2018 unprotected pick from the Lakers."
Phoenix get the fourth pick while the Sacramento Kings round out the top five.
The Boston Celtics tonight won the NBA Draft Lottery. Listen as Managing Partner/ Governor of the Celtics, Wyc Grousbeck shares his thoughts pic.twitter.com/P5bhA1hD1C