Celtics

Is it time for Celtics fans to worry about the 2018 Lakers pick?

(Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports)

All appears well in Celtics land in the midst of the team’s nine-game winning streak. Boston sits atop of the overall NBA standings with a 9-2 record and plenty of metrics are indicating that the Celtics are capable of sustaining this type of 50-plus win pace all year long, despite the absence of Gordon Hayward.

Perhaps more encouraging than the team’s stellar play is the fact that major contributions are being made up and down the roster with Boston’s youth, starting first and foremost with the pair of No. 3 overall picks in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The crown jewels from the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with the Brooklyn Nets are paying early dividends, making Danny Ainge and his staff look even smarter for leveraging the No. 1 overall pick last year into another protected first-round selection from Philadelphia, while also getting their guy in Tatum at No. 3.

Still, there has been one (minor) blip on the radar for Celtics fans and it has nothing to do with the current team. The odds of the '18 protected first-round pick from the Lakers heading to Boston next summer? It isn’t off to a great start.

The Lakers head into Wednesday night’s game with a 5-5 record, putting them closer to a playoff spot in the vaunted Western Conference than a 2-to-5 draft slot the Celtics would need them to fall into to pick up that '18 first-round pick. Otherwise, the '18 pick rolls into '19 top-1 protected first-round selection from either the Sixers or Kings (whoever has the better pick).

Given the fact that the Lakers are in town for an early season visit, the time feels right to take stock of the early “hot” start by LA and determine just how much Celtics fans should worry about the Lakers pick not making it’s way to Boston next June.

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