Do the Celtics still have a realistic shot of receiving Lakers pick?

Jerome Miron/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 (i.e. the Lakers pick in 2018).

With that in mind, Lottery Watch is a regular feature here at BostonSportsJournal.com. 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; instead 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 things.

As a reminder, the Celtics own the 2018 Lakers’ first-round pick only if 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).

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Analysis: I did not think this column could prove to be unnecessary as we head into March and April, but the Lakers are making that a strong possibility with their stellar play of late. They’ve won 12 of their last 18 games overall, which makes them tied for the third best team in the NBA over that stretch.