Tyler Herro reminds us sometimes it's important to lose for a better Draft pick


Heading into Wednesday night you might have thought the Celtics and Red Sox were living in two different worlds.

The baseball team was counting the minutes to the moment it could put a wrap on the 2020 season, trudging through the most forgettable Red Sox season in history.

The hoop team, however, was keeping New England sports fans buzzing with their participation in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, entering the evening with a chance to knot up the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, the two worlds did collide.

The Boston basketball team lost to Miami in Game 4, 112-109, in Orlando. Why? Well, the main reason was a guy named Tyler Herro. This is where we start crossing paths between the Sox and the Celts.

Herro, a 20-year-old rookie, came off the bench to score 37 points. This history-making effort just so happened to come one day after the Celtics announced Romeo Langford -- he of a rookie season that saw the former Indiana University star average under three points per game -- was done for the season due to wrist surgery.

Why do we mention Langford at all during this gut-punch of a loss for Brad Stevens' team? Because he was the guy the Celtics had to settle for at pick No. 14 in the 2019 NBA Draft ... immediately after Miami took Herro.

It was the ultimate reminder: It's OK to lose meaningless end-of-the-season games for the greater good. That greater good this time being, of course, the catalyst to inch one win away from the NBA Finals.

The Red Sox, who have now won three in a row and are now the longest of long shots to get the Jack Leiter pick (No. 2 overall) because of their recent winning ways, did not bet the memo.

In case you were wondering, the Heat mastered the art of dropping in the Draft in the last week of the 2018-19 season, losing five of their last six including two to the Celtics.

In fairness, the Celtics had little say in where their pick landed due to the fact it belonged to Sacramento. And the Kings did lose their last four to fall to No. 14.

But this is more about Miami, the team that began the last 1 1/2 weeks with a .500 record but ended up picking one spot in front of the C's because it lost that last game.

Another case in point: On April 7, with two games to play the Pistons were just one game better than the Heat. They would win their last two, get swept by the Bucks in the first-round of the playoffs and end up picking one spot behind the Celtics. It landed them Sekou Doumbouya, who averaged 6.4 points per game in his 38 games.

Orlando was one more team which didn't heed such a lesson, winning 11 of its last 13 to get the opportunity to be bounced from the first round of the postseason by Toronto while ending up drafting Chuma Okeke with the 16th overall pick. Okeke never saw the floor for the Magic this season.

Flash forward to Wednesday night and you have Herro.

Miami deserves a ton of credit for identifying the former Kentucky star, especially considering some of the teams picking before the Heat who didn't. But for Celtics fans, praise isn't a priority right now. The what-could-have-been is what stings.

Remember it. It's a reality the Red Sox might be resurfacing in a couple of years.