After nearly two weeks to cool off and speculate, it’s time to admit something about the NBA Draft Lottery. It didn’t totally work as it should’ve.
Sure, the worst team, the New York Knicks, didn’t get the first pick, and that was kind of the intention. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls didn’t get the vaunted first pick either.
No, it was the New Orleans Pelicans that got the first pick. A franchise currently in more turmoil than the BP Oil Spill in 2010. A franchise that up until May 14 had no real direction. Sure, you can argue the other four teams didn’t either but that’s neither here nor there. All the sudden now with Zion Williamson, the consensus No. 1 pick this year, the Pelicans will be just fine?
Did the top-4 teams tank?
Yes is the short answer. So the idea of the new draft lottery odds was to squash the idea of tanking and eradicate it from the league. I’m not sure the league saw what happened coming though. In the first 46 games of the year, Anthony Davis played 41 games for New Orleans. In their next 36 games, he played 15. In those games, Davis never played more than 34 minutes. In those 21 games not played, they went 7-14.
That’s an 82-game average of 27 wins. Not exactly a team looking to win. They also went 5-10 in the games he did play for a total of 12 wins in the back half of the year. Is that not how tanking usually works?
Memphis Blues in effect
To stick with sample size, in Memphis’ last 36 games, the Grizzlies went 14-22. Again, not a team lighting it up. After the trade of Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors, Memphis went 11-15, signaling that the tank was kind of on. If they are a contending, non-tanking team, how did you win just four more games than a talent-less Cavs team that went 10-26. I thought the Grizzlies were supposed to be so what happened?
Lakers doing the most (least)
So you say that the Lakers were competing for a playoff spot huh? Well, guess again. After the botched Davis trade and presumed idea that they were going to win, the Lakers went 12-24 in their last 36 games which is only two games better than Cleveland. So one team was tanking and the other wasn’t? Sure, we can say, but I won’t.
They tanked just like the other two. Since they weren’t terrible from the start, however, no one will say it that way. Now, no one played terrible quite like the Knicks with a 7-29 record in their last 36 games, but the point still stands. The Lakers only won five more games than awful Knicks squad in that time. How’s that possible?
So for all the things we heard about the draft and the draft lottery, it still didn’t work 100 percent correctly. Maybe next year, the NBA will do something different to change it up again. Probably not though as they got exactly what they wanted. To show small market teams along with large market teams that they all matter.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.