Lottery Watch: Lakers pick is slipping out of the top 5

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports)

Draft picks have always been a big part of the Celtics' roadmap to contention and keeping tabs on them is a complicated endeavor given the number of protections in play for a few of them (i.e. the Lakers pick in 2018).

With that in mind, I'm happy to introduce a new regular feature here at BostonSportsJournal.com with Lottery Watch, based on some positive feedback and interest from you subscribers. We'll be taking a close look at the lottery race every couple weeks (or every week as the end of the season approaches) to break down where the Lakers pick stands in the current lottery race. It's easy to look at the standings, so I'll be going deeper than that, looking at how other teams are trending and other variables (i.e. injuries, schedules, etc.) that may be impacting the race.

As a reminder, the Celtics own the 2018 Lakers first round pick only it falls in the 2-5 range after the draft lottery. Otherwise, the pick rolls over to 2019, where the Celtics get the better of the Kings/Sixers first round pick (top 1 protected).