NBA Draft

The start of Spring means the NBA playoffs are around the corner.  This should be good news all around for basketball fans, if you’re like me and completely bored of an even more uneventful NBA regular season than what is to be expected.  Yes, Chef Curry is still cookin, Kobe is still retiring, Lebron is still mad, George Karl is still in Sacramento, and the Spurs are still good.  The story lines have remained the same across the league since Halloween, and aside from a few Boogie tirades, Lebron social media standoffs and Blake Griffin blackouts, this season has lacked the high stakes and high drama we need to come from 7 games between Golden State and San Antonio, and the possibility of Boston, Miami or Toronto knocking off a tumultuous team in Cleveland.

With the postseason in view, the next few weeks aren’t only important to those 16 teams who will see the court in mid-April, but also to the organizations who are already looking toward next year, or have been for months.  NBA tank-a-thon 2016 is in full effect in Philly, LA and Phoenix, but come June 23rd, will it even matter? There’s a significant yet rarely discussed major detail in the tanking discussion – losing the most games rarely gets teams the coveted number one draft slot they so desperately want out of the draft “lottery.”

To be transparent, I support about 90% of conspiracies I hear about in general, and fully believe that there is no NBA Draft Lottery for the top 3 picks.  Those picks are bestowed upon the teams selected by Adam Silver, and David Stern before him, in order to keep parity in the NBA to the best of their ability while maximizing revenue and dominance in the major markets.  While I know this is constantly debated and there is much evidence to the contrary, I don’t really care to hear it, and basically operate under the assumption that this is fact.

That aside, it’s also important to note that the 2016 draft class is very shallow with a significant talent drop off after the first two picks – likely Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram – and there is abundant skepticism as to whether either of them will become a franchise, super star, foundational leader wherever they end up.  In some ways that makes getting a top 2 pick even more significant than in other years, but on the other hand, maybe it’s best for teams not to cash in their good karma in what might be a wasted year.

With that in mind, who has the best chance of locking up the draft’s top pick?  Let’s see…

If they were to show the draft balls on TV, as it stands now, Philadelphia and their impressive 9-64 record have the largest claim to the #1 pick with a 25% chance of opening their envelope (do they still do envelopes?) last.  They are in such desperate need of that franchise player to round out their squad of top picks in Joel Embid and Jahlil Okafor if they can ever stay healthy, and probably should be rewarded for what has been just an epic tank job, and potentially their best work to date.  But I just don’t see it.  They’re going to get a top 3 pick given that they have a 64.3% chance of landing on the medal stand, but the #2 spot seems like a better place for the Sixers so they don’t have to make the Simmons or Ingram decision, and can just play the hand they’re dealt.

That 9-64 record in Philly is particularly remarkable this year given that they have 7 more losses than even the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Lakers have been nothing short of terrible, and it comes at an optimal time when LA would have to give up their first round pick to Philly if it fell outside of the top 3.  Instead, the Lakers have a 55.8% chance of keeping their pick, and a 19.9% chance of it landing at #1, making it less discernible when Silver selects them to be the next and forever home of Ben Simmons, the kind of star that LA requires, forming an up-and-coming big 3 with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.

And there’s no one that would hate that more than Boston.  But Boston is in a weird spot with this year’s draft.  They’re seemingly in an incredible spot given that they have Brooklyn’s pick, and the 4th best odds of landing in the #1 spot, at a time when they’re urgently in need of a star to put them over the top.  On the flip side, their team is young but not that young and they’re actually a contender in the East given the right match up.  The star they need has to contribute now, not in a few years when their current core is on the decline.   If Silver bestowed #1 on the Celtics, it might make the most sense to complete some type of blockbuster trade that gets Boston star power this year.  But having the #1 spot go to the highest bidder doesn’t sound like the best thing for the NBA.  Boston and everyone else would be better off if they were to land #3, grab a role player who can help win some games, and continue their efforts to bring KD, Kevin Love or Boogie to the City on a Hill.

So that’s my prediction for this year’s “lottery” – Lakers, Sixers, Celtics (via Brooklyn) 1,2,3.  Minnesota’s too small for Silver to let them rise to dominance with Wiggins, Towns, LaVine AND Simmons, and the Bulls’ chances are too small at 0.5% to pull another Derrick Rose scenario so blatantly.  But there are still 3 weeks left in the season and anything can happen.  In the meantime, you can follow tank-a-thon 2016 here to stay updated on the odds across the bottom of the league.

And for the record, I know videos like this exist; I just choose to ignore them.

Davis & Teague

Anthony Davis, store the Chicago native and star forward from the University of Kentucky, medical was the #1 draft pick by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2012 NBA Draft.  Equally as impressive as his agility on the court is his highly publicized unibrow.  Davis will now become a household name in sports thanks to his #1 draft status and his choice to market and cash-in on an otherwise horrendous grooming faux pas.

In other NBA Draft news, the Bulls with the 29th lottery pick, chose point guard, Marquis Teague, also from University of Kentucky.

What You Need to Know:

  • Only 60 players are chosen within 2 rounds of the NBA Draft.  The NBA Draft is different than other pro drafts as the teams that did not make the previous season’s playoffs enter a lottery system to secure the #1 pick.  The worst teams are weighted with a better chance to get the #1 pick.  After the 14 teams that did NOT make the playoffs are chosen in order for the lottery, the remaining 16 teams that DID make the playoffs are slotted in order of the win-loss regular season record – which is why the Bulls ended up with the 29th pick.
  • NBA Draftees must be either 19-years old to enter the draft and/or one year removed from high school.  This new rule was adopted in 2006.  Before 2006, players could enter the Draft straight from high school – a la LeBron James.
  • The 6’10” 19-year old Anthony Davis was expected to be the #1 pick for quite some time.  The New Orleans Hornets won the #1 pick and had the worst record in the 2011-12 NBA season winning 7 games and losing 59 (of a condensed 68 game season).

    Two famous unibrows

  • Davis is also known for his disgusting unibrow.  However, in lieu of waxing, Davis is preparing to cash in on the thing and has already trademarked the phrases “Raise the Brow” and “Fear the Brow.”  Davis told CNBC, “I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it.” “Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique.”  Really?!
  • With their one and only pick in the draft, the Bulls chose point guard Marquis Teague, also from Kentucky.  As a 6’2″ 19-year old freshman, Teague is quick, agile and can easily get through defenders – but don’t expect him to play much his first year with the Bulls.  With Derrick Rose most likely out until January recovering from his torn ACL, John Lucas III or CJ Watson will get the nod for Rose before Teague.

    Marquis Teague

  • Marquis is the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks’ point guard, Jeff Teague.
  • Both Davis and Teague helped lead the Kentucky Wildcats to a National Championship in the NCAA Tournament this year against Kansas.  Kentucky put out 4-1st round draft picks last night.

Your Take Away Piece: “Teague was a good choice for the Bulls.  They need someone to play back-up point guard that won’t eat up a ton of salary.”

What’s Next:  Don’t expect to see Teague on the floor in November when the Bull’s season starts.  He’ll be considered a ‘rotation player’ and will get occasional bursts of time as he learns and gets better playing back-up to Watson or Lucas.

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