NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Billy King is no longer Boston's biggest hero. That honor reverts to David Ortiz (or Tom Brady).
After trading their unprotected first-round pick to the Boston Celtics, the Nets and their fans (and even King) were rooting against embarrassment Tuesday night during the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery.
The Nets, who finished with the NBA's third-worst record, were in danger of giving the Celtics the No.1 pick in the draft. Luckily (or unluckily) for the Nets, Boston would up with the third pick.
"As players we weren't aware [of the Nets' position]," Isaiah Thomas said. "Even when I was younger I didn't understand how those picks worked out watching the Draft and the Lottery, but now I see players in the organization watching how other teams do throughout the season. But as players on the Celtics, we weren't worried about that too much."
It could've been worse, but the No. 3 pick is certainly worth watching for the Celtics, who could use it as a trade piece if they please.
"There's a lot more things to be disappointed about on this night," Danny Ainge said back in Boston. "It could have been worse, it could have been better. It is what it is and we'll move on and do the best we can to build a great team.
"Trading the No. 3 pick will be difficult, sure, because there's some very good players at No. 3," Ainge continued. "But there are some players that it wouldn't be difficult for. We'll be listening to that and we'll have a lot of communication internally to try to figure that out. ...We'll be looking at all of our options."
Boston had a 15.6 percent chance of landing the overall No. 1 pick, likely to be 6'9" Ben Simmons of LSU, and a 46.9 percent chance of being a top three pick. Now, they'll have to decide what they want to do with the No. 3 pick.
Let's not get things mixed up, though. It should've been the Nets who walked away with the third pick. This should've been Mikhail Prokhorov or Irina Pavlova sitting in that seat waiting for the pick. It should've been the Nets and its fans that walked away with some sort of reward after a gruesome 21-61 season.
Instead, Boston rejoices even though they didn't get the first pick. And Brooklyn even rejoices since they were saved from COMPLETE and utter embarrassment.
When the Nets initially made the trade, most fans and people within the organization were thrilled with the acquisitions. Prokhorov even told reporters that "the basketball gods smiled on the Nets".
"I think you're talking about then compared to later," said Jason Kidd, who was with the Nets at the time of trade and at on the dias for Bucks Tuesday. "At that point we were talking about now and trying to win a championship, understanding that you gotta move forward and the price you pay for that also gets a top-three pick."
The 2014 pick was apparently traded for KG, the 2016 pick was for Paul Pierce, the 2018 pick was the Celtics price for taking on Gerald Wallace's $30 million deal, needed to make the deal work. The swap in 2017? It may have been the way to reward Boston for agreeing to a sign-and-trade for Keith Bogans, who the Celtics had to pay $5.2 million in 2013-14.
So far, the trade has not been that costly. The first pick sent to Boston, the No. 17 choice in 2014, became James Young, a 6'6" swingman out of Kentucky who's been close to a bust. He may not last the off-season in Boston. And the Nets were able to swing a deal for KG, bringing back Thaddeus Young who's worked out well.
So now, Billy King Day is no longer a thing, but this nightmare still isn't done, and it won't be gone until we know how Boston's draft pick turns out. But for now, we'll call it a moral victory.
- NBA: Knicks, Nets grit teeth on lottery night - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Winners and losers from the NBA’s draft lottery - Tim Bontemps - Washington Post
- Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery - Bleacher Report
- NBA Draft Lottery winners and losers: Lakers win, Ben Simmons loses - Sam Vecenie -CBS Sports
- NBA draft lottery: 76ers big winner, Knicks big loser - Ben Golliver - Sports Illustrated
- Biggest winners and losers from the NBA draft lottery - AJ Neuhart-Keusch - USA Today
- 76ers Win NBA Draft Lottery, and Lakers Get the Second Pick - Zach Schonbrun -New York Times
- The gravity and the absurdity of the NBA draft lottery - Zach Lowe - ESPN