Friday, June 1, 2012

NBA Lottery

On Wednesday the NBA held its 2012 Draft lottery, which has resulted in two main stories. One was that the NAIA Charlotte Bobcats did not secure the first pick. And related to number one is the argument that because the league-owned New Orleans Hornets won the draft there is grounds for accusation of collusion. The issue with lottery conspiracy talk is that considering the  the Hornets had the fourth and tenth overall picks that meant that their combined chance was actually better than that of the Cavaliers, who had the third best probability for any teams' single pick. Not to mention, conspiracy theory is the norm in recent draft lotteries. When the Wizards had only a 10% chance in 2010 but secured the first overall pick there were rumors that the league did that out of compensation for the recent passing of their long-time owner, the magnanimous Abe Pollin. Even last year when the Cav's had the second and eighth best odds but won the first overall pick some intimated that the league manipulated the lottery so as to recompense the franchise for LeBron's departure and their meteoric descent in the East.

This draft has been touted as one of the deepest in years. So far the hype has mainly surrounded Anthony Davis, who--assuming he stays healthy--some have argued will automatically make a team playoff bound in his first year and after further development guarantees perennial 50 win seasons. So Davis is a lock at one. But what's interesting about this draft is that while it is far deeper than most years, DBSF predicts it will also have a high number of lottery busts.

Consider this Yahoo! mock draft. There are two sure stars in the top ten--Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist. Then you have player(s): with heart/ effort/ desire to compete outside of the second quarter issues (Drummond and Barnes); whose size, which was a huge commodity  in college but gets neutralized in the NBA because most threes and up are that big, no longer guarantees commensurate production (Robinson and Sullinger); who is a 6'3" two-guard, who shot under 35% from threes in college, which is concerning considering that they move the line-back in the NBA (Beale); who is a PG that didn't compete against premier talent in college (Lillard . . . outside of Nash and Lin think of a successful NBA PG that didn't regularly play against top college teams); and, yet another 6'10-11" North Carolina forward that doesn't really play the four and will likely take years to adjust physically and ability-wise to have a serious impact in the NBA (Henson).

That leaves Jeremy Lamb, who DBSF sees as a Richard Hamilton-type, and is surely worth his lottery status. In other words, in this highly acclaimed draft DBSF predicts 3.5 of the top ten--based on this Yahoo! mock draft--to truly pan out. (Henson is the 0.5 because by the time he finally develops into the defensive presence that will justify the pick he will likely be on a team that didn't draft him.)

Likely to fall out of the top ten are two PGs that will have ten-plus year careers in Marshall and Rivers. (Yes, Rivers isn't Wall/ Irving but at times he can get to the hoop at will and his Dad is Doc Rivers, who in the discussion of living human beings not named Greg Popovich, is the best for parental advice on professional matters when one's profession is basketball.) There's also Perry Jones, who if he doesn't Eddie Curry/ DeMarr Johnson his way out of the NBA, could be LaMarcus Aldridge.

Tyler Zeller will be a ten-and-ten guy, which while that might not blow your pants off, when you're trying to win championships it's usually a lot harder to find someone who consistently battles for 10 defensive rebounds and affects a dozen or so shots with his length on the defensive end than it is to find a 6'5" two-guard that likes to bring the ball up the court and needs 18 shots to warm up before he scores 29 points for every three times he score 15.

Terrence Jones could become a Thaddeus Young exponentiated, and Moe Harkless is one of those super-talented 6'8" 18 year olds that in most drafts goes in the first five picks but justifies the pick at about a one-in-four rate. Of course, that 'one' ends up being Rudy Gay and the other 75% is Eddie Griffin, Brandan Wright or any of those uber-athletic low-skill UNC 6'9"ers that abstain from playing in the post on religious grounds, or anybody did a one-and-done under Bob Huggins. Later in the first round there are promising scorers in Ross, Miller and Waiters, good back-up PGs in Teague and Taylor as well as some size in guys like, Melo, Moultrie, and Leonard, who while they'll never dominate an NBA game could prove quite serviceable in providing key bench minutes--think Darko Milicic or Jason Thompson.

In other news, Wally Szczerbiak questioned Kevin Garnett's play during clutch moments in the Celtics-Heats series on Twitter. DBSF always felt that Twitter exists for one of the NBA's softest perimeter players, who's entire basketball career is defined by his play in a late 1990s NCAA first weekend pair of games, to critique one of the NBA's all-time tough, high effort players.Also, apparently Michael Jordan cares much more about Patrick Ewing than DBSF expected as Jordan eliminated Ewing from the running for head coach of the Bobcats. DBSF always thought Charles Oakley was Jordan's best friend but even Oakley had to pay a tax for all the Vegas nights with Jordan and Barkley by becoming a Bobcats' assistant. 

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