Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dear Draft Lottery, I Hate You

This jersey should have been teal Allen

I bet at least once a day something in this world makes you say, “Man, why is that like that?” Like why is there that gaping hole in the road that my tire just slammed into going 75 MPH? Why does my computer freeze up after I’ve worked on a spreadsheet for the last two hours without saving it? And why did I unnoticeably just dip my tie in yogurt before a big meeting? But even after I smash my stapler into the wall or huck my sandwich at a co-worker passing by, I tend to realize that no matter what, these daily annoyances in the real world will never cease. Within the sporting world however, things are different. We can fire the referees and umpires calling games well into their AARP years. We can eliminate the aggravating sideline reporters that bring absolutely nothing to the table. We can have analysts like Tom Tolbert and Suzyn Waldman killed—and the list goes on. But the one issue I would address first, is the pointless tradition of the NBA Draft Lottery. It makes absolutely no sense. Why shouldn’t the worst team get the first pick like in every other sport? Why should a team who narrowly missed the Playoffs be eligible for a higher pick than the #14 they deserve? And while you may be sitting there thinking, “who cares?”, think about the teams (and their fans) who have gotten royally screwed by this over the years. Don’t believe me? Check out the top 5 picks of the last ten Drafts and where some of the game’s superstars could/should of landed.

Note: the “Unlotterized Draft Order” simply means awarding the worst teams (record-wise) with the highest picks


Lottery Draft
1. Philadelphia: Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
2. Toronto: Marcus Camby (Massachusetts)
3. Vancouver: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (California)
4. Milwaukee: Stephon Marbury (Georgia Tech)*
5. Minnesota: Ray Allen (Connecticut)*

*Milwaukee traded the rights to Marbury to Minnesota for the rights to Allen and a future 1st round pick.

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Vancouver
2. Philadelphia
3. Toronto
4. Milwaukee
5. Minnesota

Analysis: You don’t need to be to be the head of NASA engineering to figure out that this means Iverson should have been a Grizzly (too bad Stern decided to restrict their # of ping pong balls--more on this later). Imagine all the fun we could have had writing about the endless saga between AI and “Big Country” Reeves? And how long do you think Allen would have tolerated that? A month? Two months? And where would he have ended up? You see, the entire landscape of the NBA over the last decade might have changed had the Grizzlies been awarded their rightful #1. In addition, as you continue reading take note of how many times Vancouver/Memphis reappears in the unlotterized top 5. If they had Iverson, would that have still been the case?


Lottery Draft
1. San Antonio: Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)
2. Philadelphia: Keith Van Horn (Utah)*
3. Boston: Chauncey Billups (Colorado)
4. Vancouver: Antonio Daniels (Bowling Green)
5. Denver: Tony Battie (Texas Tech)

*Philadelphia traded Van Horn, Don MacLean, Michael Cage, & Lucious Harris to New Jersey for Jim Jackson, Eric Montross, Tim Thomas, and Anthony Parker

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Boston
2. Vancouver
3. San Antonio
4. Denver
5. Philadelphia

Analysis: Thanks to "Champ Kind", I realized my mistake in thinking the Grizz had more ping pong balls than the C's for this Draft. But as he said, Vancouver's # of balls were restricted (ala John Kruk) due to the fact that they were still in their expansion era (which makes a ton of sense). Seriously, why hold back a team from drafting talented youth in their early stages? Does that make any sense at all? We'll see the same scenario later with the Bobcats. Anyway, the primary reason I hate the lottery so much is due to this season. After losing Lenny Bias and Reggie Lewis to premature deaths, Duncan was exactly what the C's needed. Now ten years later, banner #17 is still yet to be flying in Beantown. What a shame...


Lottery Draft
1. LA Clippers: Michael Olowokandi (Pacific)
2. Vancouver: Mike Bibby (Arizona)
3. Denver: Raef LaFrentz (Kansas)
4. Toronto: Antawn Jamison (North Carolina)*
5. Golden State: Vince Carter (North Carolina)*

*Golden State traded Carter and cash to Toronto for Jamison

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Denver
2. Toronto
3. LA Clippers
4. Golden State
5. Vancouver

Analysis: Assuming the picks would have remained the same 1-5, this not only means that Denver would have ended up with the Kandi Man, but that Vancouver would have had yet another All-Star caliber player to choose from (Jamison or Carter). Also, the Raptors would have been in position to nab their PG of the future in Bibby—a position they desperately needed after trading Damon Stoudamire to Portland.


Lottery Draft
1. Chicago: Elton Brand (Duke)
2. Vancouver: Steve Francis (Maryland)
3. Charlotte: Baron Davis (UCLA)
4. LA Clippers: Lamar Odom (Rhode Island)
5. Toronto: Jonathan Bender (H.S.)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Vancouver
2. LA Clippers
3. Chicago
4. Denver
5. New Jersey

Analysis: Need I even go on? I’m ready to burst into tears for Vancouver. And where the hell did Charlotte come from? They were the 14th worst team in the league that year—how is that remotely fair? Denver also got ripped off seeing that they should have ended up with one of those top 4 guys. Perhaps those two teams (CHA and DEN) made a prior deal that swapped their picks? I couldn’t find this info anywhere, if you find anything let me know.


Lottery Draft
1. New Jersey: Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati)
2. Vancouver: Stromile Swift (LSU)
3. LA Clippers: Darius Miles (H.S.)
4. Chicago: Marcus Fizer (Iowa State)
5. Orlando (from GS): Mike Miller (Florida)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. LA Clippers
2. Chicago
3. Golden State
4. Vancouver
5. Atlanta

Analysis: These are the scenarios that kill me the most. The Nets, with the 7th worst record in the league, nab the 1st overall pick. How can league officials allow this to continue? Do they enjoy seeing the Grizzlies and Clippers of the league struggle for decades? Why doesn’t David Stern realize that the game needs more parity and that eliminating the lottery is an excellent first step?


Lottery Draft
1. Washington: Kwame Brown (H.S.)
2. LA Clippers: Tyson Chandler (H.S.)
3. Memphis (from ATL): Pau Gasol (Spain)
4. Chicago: Eddy Curry (H.S.)
5. Golden State: Jason Richardson (Michigan State)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Chicago
2. Golden State
3. Washington
4. Vancouver
5. Atlanta

Analysis: Isn’t ironic that Jordan’s Wizards somehow ended up with the 1st pick? Quite incredible, wouldn’t you say? Too bad Kwame ending up biting them in the ass. But what if they had had the unlotterized third pick instead? At that slot they would have been in position to take Gasol and thus, could have been an entirely different team today. Seriously, replace Brendan Haywood with Pau and who beats the Wizards right now? But then again, with Gasol perhaps then they don’t sign Arenas or trade for Jamison. Remember, there’s always two ways to look at it…


Lottery Draft
1. Houston: Yao Ming (China)
2. Chicago: Jay Williams (Duke)
3. Golden State: Mike Dunleavy (Duke)
4. Memphis: Drew Gooden (Kansas)
5. Denver: Nickoloz Tskitishvili (Georgia)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Chicago
2. Golden State
3. Memphis
4. Denver
5. Houston

Analysis: Obviously the biggest observation we pull from this is that the Bulls should have had Yao rather than Jay Williams. While one guy is establishing himself as a premier center in the league, the other is writing blogs discussing how mangled his leg was after the motorcycle accident. What an unfortunate turn of events for both the Bulls and J-Will.


Lottery Draft
1. Cleveland: LeBron James (H.S.)
2. Detroit (from MEM): Darko Milicic (Serbia-Montenegro)
3. Denver: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse)
4. Toronto: Chris Bosh (Georgia Tech)
5. Miami: Dwyane Wade (Marquette)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Cleveland
2. Denver
3. Toronto
4. Miami
5. LA Clippers

Analysis: I find this Draft as the most interesting to break down. Notice how without the lottery, Memphis wouldn’t have even been a top 5 pick? That means Darko to Detroit would have never gone down. Thus, the unlotterized Draft would have most likely put ‘Melo in Toronto, Bosh in Miami, and Wade in LA (had the picks remained the same). Let that settle in your minds…


Lottery Draft
1. Orlando: Dwight Howard (H.S.)
2. Charlotte: Emeka Okafor (Connecticut)
3. Chicago: Ben Gordon (Connecticut)
4. LA Clippers: Shaun Livingston (H.S.)
5. Dallas (from WAS): Devin Harris (Wisconsin)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Charlotte
2. Orlando
3. Chicago
4. Washington
5. Atlanta

Analysis: It’s complete bullshit that Charlotte wasn’t granted the #1 overall pick in this Draft. They were an expansion team for God’s sake, give them a break. You may not think it’s a big deal now, but watch when Dwight Howard is absolutely dominating and Emeka Okafor is stuck on the sidelines reading Grant Hill’s autobiography.


Lottery Draft
1. Milwaukee: Andrew Bogut (Utah)
2. Atlanta: Marvin Williams (North Carolina)
3. Utah (from Portland): Deron Williams (Illinois)
4. New Orleans: Chris Paul (Wake Forest)
5. Charlotte: Raymond Felton (North Carolina)

Unlotterized Draft Order
1. Atlanta
2. New Orleans
3. Charlotte
4. Utah
5. Portland

Analysis: Um, notice how Milwaukee is nowhere to be found in the unlotterized version? But because of this senseless lottery tradition, they now own one of the best young versatile big men in the game. So, say Atlanta took Bogut instead, where would that have left the rest of the lottery? Would the Hornets have left Marv on the board and still taken CP3? What would Charlotte have done, taken Deron Williams instead? And maybe one of them would have nabbed Gerald Green instead of letting him free fall. Kind of crazy to imagine all the possibilities…


At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Champ Kind said...

The Celtics did have the most lottery shots in the Duncan draft - Vancouver was restricted from getting the 1st overall pick since they were an expansion team.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

That's what it was, you're right. I'll make sure to give you props. Thanks man

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Trey said...

in the '04 draft, i think i remember Charlotte traded their 1st pick to Orlando for the 2nd pick, a 2nd rounder and cash. Not positive, but i think i remember that.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous rom said...

I really don't like this article.
First of all we all know why there is a lotery, and that is for all team to continue to play basketball after their playoffs hope have disapeared.
You think a team like NY would try to beat detroit if there was no lottery???

Then you can blame the lottery all you want but when a team gets 5 top 5 picks in a row and in the end still sucks, well I'm sorry but maybee you should take a look at the management.

Finally we can't stop managers from being stupid so you never know who would have taken who if the draft picks were in a different order. Because detroit took darko in n2 doesn't mean that if denver was n2 they would have taken him too.

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Justin Poulin said...

Yup - Better regular season finish. Besides, the Celtics will get Duncan redemption this year and geta top 3 pick - I can feel it. Besides, Pitino would have screwed it all up and Duncan would have demanded a trade or signed elsewhere once he came off his rookie contract. Or, he would have demanded a trade and Gaston would have sent him for Vin Baker. I'm a Celtics fan, but bad management is bad management and you can't blame the lotto for the Clips and Grizzlies woes in those years. Look at what Dany Ainge has been able to do with middle first round picks - Did you see that Gerald Green Dunk?

At 3:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what champ kind didn't mention was that vancouver didn't miss out on the #1 picks because of the john kruk method. they had as many ping pong balls as their record allowed, but if they got the #1, they were swapped with the team who got #2. thanks to what happened in orland with penny & shaq, mr stern decided that expansion teams needed to pay their dues for longer than 5 years`

this doesn't take anything away from the fact that vancouver was a terribly managed team (thanks stu jax'n). big country for 65 mill? wtf. seriously, wtf.

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did Cleaveland manage to get the number 1 pick in the 2003 draft? Even though they would still have picked first if the draft was unlotterized, no other team who had the worst record was able to pick first in the lottery in the past 10 drafts besides them. Oh wait, a certain phenom was coming out of high school and it just so happened that he played high school basketball in Ohio. Conspiracy Theory? No way in hell was there a possibility of Lebron James playing anywhere besides Cleveland. Its as if David Stern automatically guaranteed Cleveland the first pick regardless of whatever happened with the ping pong balls. The NBA needed Lebron James in Cleveland, where else could they market him? In Denver, who owned the second worst record in 2003, or Toronto, who doesn't even play in the United States. The NBA would never be able to genereate as much revenue if he played on those 2 teams as they would if he played in the state he was born and raised in.

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you watch sports? LeBron would make money and be watched if he played in Baghdad.

At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said he wouldn't make money, I said he wouldn't make as much. You're telling me Lebron would make the same amount of money from endorsements in Cleveland as he would in New York or Los Angeles? Yeah right.

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At 4:07 PM, Blogger Diana said...

The NBA Draft is an annual North American event in which the National Basketball Association's (NBA) thirty teams (29 in the United States and one in Toronto, Canada) can select players who wish to join the league. These players usually come from college level, sportsbook, but in recent drafts a greater number of international and high school players have been drafted. As of the 2006 NBA Draft high school players gain eligibility for draft selection one year after their graduating class has finished high school, but only if they also are at least 19 years of age as of the end of the calendar year of the draft.


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