The NBA May Have Finally Found a Cure To Tanking

Tanking is the biggest problem right now in the NBA, and it may be cured sooner rather than later. Per Grantland’s NBA robot Zach Lowe, the NBA has officially submitted a proposal that may be the solution to tanking. It boils down to this: evening out the odds of winning the lottery for all 14 lottery teams. Basically, why try to lose as many games as possible, if you will only have a minimally better chance at winning the top pick? Right now, here are the odds of winning the lottery for the four worst teams in the league, in order from worst team to fourth-worst: 25.0%, 19.90%, 13.80%, and  13.70%. The current lottery odds for each of the 14 teams is below. (Click to enlarge.)

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The new proposal would decrease the incentive to tank. Each of the bottom four teams would have an 11% chance at winning the lottery. And the team with the worst odds of winning the lottery would have a 2% chance under the new proposal, rather than a 0.5% chance. This evening out of the odds should decrease the likelihood of a race to the bottom by tanking teams. What’s the timetable for such a change to the lottery process? From Lowe:

The league could implement lottery reform as early as next season, though there are many hurdles to overcome before then. And it’s important to note that the league has kicked around several different proposals with varying weights; the 11 percent figure for the first teams is not universal among those proposals, sources say.

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Shabazz Napier’s Social Media Breakup With LeBron

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Heat selected Shabazz Napier with the 24th pick in the draft to appease LeBron? Shabazz wasn’t going to be the reason that LeBron would stay in Miami, but making the effort to trade up and get Napier would be a small gesture to LeBron. Not a big shiny anniversary ring or anything, but a small little gift as a token of their appreciation for what LeBron had done–just an example of the commitment they had to LeBron and his vision of the team. Pat Riley claimed he was a fan of Napier’s game anyway, and that the move was not purely to appease LeBron:

“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA [tournament] about him. Why not. If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”

But everyone knew that was BS. Ever since the NCAA tournament, LeBron had been complimenting Napier’s game and ability to run a team. Napier seemed to be profoundly lucky. Not that he wouldn’t have already been selected in the first round of the draft, but to having the best player on the planet so fond of you is definitely good for pro prospects. Continue reading

NBA Draft Losers

This year’s NBA draft didn’t see as many crazy picks as usual. The lottery went as scripted, for the most part. And then by the middle of the first round, things got interesting. The Raptors took some guy named Bruno, who no one had heard of. And he was called “the Brazilian Kevin Durant!” Then the Thunder took a big man, who hadn’t played in over a year due to back surgery–a guy that we only know about because of two or three games in the NCAA tournament two years ago! The Grizzlies then took a shooting guard who may or may not be able to dunk. That was just the beginning of the madness. Here are the players, fans, and teams that lost the NBA draft.

Toronto Raptors
That’s what you get for drafting a guy 20th overall that wasn’t even on one of Chad Ford’s ten big boards. Bruno Caboclo could be really good. In like four or five years! For a team that finally turned itself around, winning 48 games, you’d think the Raptors would be looking for a player that is NBA-ready and could be in their rotation next year. Caboclo might never make their team. Continue reading

NBA Rookie of the Year Power Rankings

Take a look at who has won Rookie of the Year. It’s a pretty incredible list. Winning Rookie of the Year is a pretty

Rookie of the Year winners are often franchise cornerstones.

Rookie of the Year winners are often franchise cornerstones.

good indicator of just how good a player may be. In the past 13 years, ten of the Rookie of the Year winners have made an All-Star game: Lillard, Kyrie, Blake, Rose, KD, Brandon Roy, CP3, LeBron Amare, and Pau. Those who didn’t make an All-Star game? Carter-Williams, who has only played one year, Tyreke Evans, and Emeka Okafor. Those guys are still good players. Eight of those players are legitimate franchise players: Lillard, Kyrie, Blake, Rose, Durant, CP3, LeBron, and Pau. Three of them would have been perennial All-Stars if not for devastating injuries: Rose, Roy, and Amare. The bottom line the Rookie of the Year list is pretty good company. This year has been called one of the deepest drafts in history. But the list of guys who could win Rookie of the Year isn’t quite as deep. Continue reading

NBA Draft Winners

It’s officially time to overreact to the NBA draft results and hastily hand out make-believe grades. Rather than grade every team, I’ll focus on those teams that won the draft. It’s almost impossible to tell who won the draft, until we look back on the draft in a couple of years, but we’ll go ahead and try anyway. Here are the teams and players that made the Deans List for last night’s draft:

San Antonio Spurs
Obviously. They always win the draft. The Spurs are the smartest team in the league. They always walk away from the draft with a player that will help them. It’s no wonder that the Spurs are the most successful team in the league in the past decade. They don’t waste picks. Last night, they got Kyle Anderson with the last pick of the first round. He was projected earlier as a mid-first rounder, but probably due to his lack of athleticism, he slipped. Anderson is a unique player that wouldn’t fit on many teams. Hell, on the Wizards, they’d probably stick in the corner and expect him to be a corner 3 guy. That’s obviously not his game. The Spurs will improve his shooting, no doubt, but they drafted him for his passing and playmaking. He’ll create even more open shots on the perimeter, which is scary considering how open most of the looks were against the Heat in the Finals. In a couple of years, or maybe even months, teams will be kicking themselves for letting Anderson slide so far. Continue reading

Three Steals in the NBA Draft

This draft was deep. Real deep. There was legitimate first round value available in the second round this year. That doesn’t happen very often. Last year, first round value was hard to come by anywhere. But this draft was unusual. Teams weren’t as stupid as usual! We didn’t have any Charlie Villanueva or Dion Waiters-like unexpected picks, or Anthony Bennett for that matter. The lottery went, for the most part, as most people predicted. There were some minor hiccups. Noah Vonleh slid a little bit. Aaron Gordon went a tad higher than people expected. Maybe, some people thought Embiid would slide a few picks further. But other than that, things were pretty rational, and that’s saying a lot for NBA GMs! Toward the second half of the first round though, things got a little frisky, as always. Some obscure Brazilian guy no one had ever heard of was chosen 20th! No really, like no one even knew who he was. He didn’t even show up on a single one of Chad Ford’s ten mock drafts, or however many he ended up doing. And the Hornets inexplicably appeased LeBron’s demand that the Heat get Shabazz Napier. The Hornets drafted Napier, and before the entire basketball universe could rejoice over the future 30 for 30 documenting Napier and Kemba Walker reuniting in the pros, Napier was informed he’d been dealt to the Heat. But aside from some of those crazy story lines, there were a couple of very good players that slipped unnecessarily far in the draft. Continue reading

NBA Draft: Who has the Most Bust Potential?

The NBA draft is a crapshoot. Everyone knows it. Look at the top five or ten picks from any given draft, and you’re bound to find players you either: A) have never heard of or B) forgot existed. For every superstar in a draft, there are going to be at least five guys in the first round that don’t make it more than a few seasons. That’s why there’s a couple approaches you can take to the draft. Maybe you only go for the safest players that you know will make your rotation. Or maybe you figure you can sign those types of guys in free agency and swing for the fences in the draft. That second approach seems more like something a real NBA GM would do. You know, kind of just say ‘Fuck it’ in the draft, and go for the tantalizing freakishly-athletic player who’s never come close to sniffing his potential, but you’re sure he’ll fulfill that potential on your team. Regardless of your approach, there are some guys who seem much more likely to be busts than others, and those are the guys you want to avoid. If you really question a guy’s ability, and are almost always left wishing he had shown just a bit more, but can’t stop thinking of how good he could be, then you’re probably looking at a bust. Let’s take a look at some of the first round prospects in tonight’s draft, rating them, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being a very safe prospect and 10 being Kwame Brown) on their chances of becoming busts.

Andrew Wiggins: 4
If you’re rating Wiggins on the chances that he comes a superstar in the NBA, then sure, he could definitely be a bust by that unrealistic standard. Almost everyone would be a bust by the standard that has been set for Wiggins. He probably won’t be a superstar. But he probably won’t fail either. He’s too athletic to completely flame out. He should at least be a starter in the league for a very long time and be a lockdown defender for many years in the NBA. Whether he’s ever a 20+ scorer, Wiggins should be a big contributor to whatever team drafts him. Continue reading

What the Tyson Chandler Trade Means for the Mavericks and Knicks

The Mavericks are hoping Tyson Chandler is the same player he was in 2011. In 2011, Chandler was the defensive anchor for the Mavs as they beat the Heat in the Finals. They caught many by surprise when they then let Tyson Chandler walk in free agency, signing with the Knicks. They had  struggled in the past few years to replace Chandler’s defensive presence. On the eve of the draft, the Mavericks made a splash, dealing Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, the 34th pick, and the 51st pick all for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. The move frees up some cap space for the Mavs in the 2015 summer, and makes sense since they’re trying to win now. For the Knicks, things are less clear. They have been vocal in their intent to make a splash 2015 free agency, so why commit to $7 million more with the Calderon deal that doesn’t expire until 2017-2018? The Knicks could easily end up trading him before then, but the deal is still confusing. After all, Chandler’s contract only has one more year. Phil Jackson is scheming, and maybe the deal boiled down to getting rid of Felton, as well as picking up a good young prospect in Shane Larkin. Chandler’s worth around the league has probably dwindled a bit in the past two or three years while he’s been in a Knicks uniform, but you would think the Knicks could still at least pick a 1st round pick for him.  Continue reading

NBA Draft: Who is NBA-ready?

The issue of “NBA-ready” is always sort of a backhanded compliment when it comes to the NBA draft. It is sort like saying a player has already peaked. Or that he doesn’t have as much potential as other prospects in the draft. Usually, it’s a way of saying the player is one of the less sexy prospects. You know what you’re getting. As if that’s a bad thing. The rosy-red delusions about how good a prospect could be in 3 yearsin 5 years, in 10 years guide many teams’ drafts. But the most NBA-ready prospect is rarely also one of the best players in the class. Sure, this year Jabari Parker fits that description. Usually though, the most NBA-ready prospects are found at the end of the first round, or beginning of the second. They slip because their game is too predictable. Too translatable. Sometimes, NBA-ready simply correlates with age. The more seasoned prospects are more ready because they stayed in college longer and developed more. Think Taj Gibson (26th), Arron Afflalo (27th), Jimmy Butler (30th), and Draymond Green (35th). Everyone knew those guys would make it in the league. They contributed whenever they got on the court. But for some reason, they slipped. They’d never be the all-too-coveted superstar that would lead a franchise to the promise land. Those are guys though, that every good team has. Continue reading