Some NBA Math to consider

The NBA has a lottery where the teams that dont make the playoffs get an opportunity to get the #1 pick in the draft. Based on how the ping pong balls fall, the draft order is defined for non playoff teams.

But lets have some fun with math. What if the 5 teams of the Hotlantic Division of the Eastern Conference also happened to finish with the 5 worst records in the NBA ? What if it was a photo finish and the “winner” of the conference stormed into the playoffs with say a 25 and 57 record. Would that team be better off in the playoffs, or in the lottery ?

We can even take out some of the inevitable drama and ask if would be worth it to go into the playoffs if the division winner finished with one of the say 8 to 10 worst records in the NBA.

A chance to get blitzed in the playoffs, or a lottery pick in what is being called the deepest draft since the Lebron/Josh Howard Draft. A possible long shot at Greg Oden, or the playoffs ?

Will teams tank the season simply because there is a chance they could make the playoffs in the Hotlantic division ?

Will this create the ultimate of ironies given that the Knicks don’t have their draft pick ? Could it be that if the division continues to win at the same percentages that only the Knicks will an incentive not to tank the season and win the division by default ?

Of course the chances of any of this are slim, right ?

It will be interesting to see what happens

48 thoughts on “Some NBA Math to consider

  1. If my team\’s record was already bad enough that they had no shot at making the playoffs, I would try to be at the top of the lottery list. The only point of the NBA is to make it to the playoffs and win a championship, so if you can\’t possibly do that, you might as well start working towards next year.

    Comment by Kevin Durant Fan -

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    Comment by Darren Cole -

  3. The LeBron/Josh Howard draft, LMAO!!!! Pathetic

    Comment by Ryan -

  4. I was in DFW when you bought the team. Dallas was, at that time, that bad of a team. The year you bought the team, my friends and I had season tickets and we asked ourselves the same question you are asking. The previous season there had been some mo the second half of the season, and it was continuing to a point the season you bought them, but, instead, the team really excelled after the announcement of your purhcase intent (I think it took most of the season before you were voted on, but you were already making changes, the best, BTW, was the first $3k in drinks free after games in the Mav’s Club…I still tell people about that!).

    Anyway, the Mavs didn’t tank. As others have stated, there were other factors that went into the tank/not tank decision. I am back in my hometown of Atlanta, and watch my childhood favorite Hawks as much as I can. We are now in that position, but I hope we don’t tank because we have so many young players (youngest team in the league by like 3 years) and that would kill their pshyche. But I hate it, too, because I don’t think they are good enough for the playoffs, or to even get close, and that means the Hawks’ 2007 #1 draft pick goes to Phoenix. The Mavs are my favorite team (other than the Hawks) and if we finish out of the top 3 worst teams, Phoenix gets the pick. so think of position 4-7 still having a shot at Oden or Durant or Tucker and having one of them end up with the Suns. Oh well, the Joe Johnson trade was approved by the league!

    Comment by Tom Smillie -

  5. In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins (who are very young and incredibly exciting to watch) were built from the draft, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

    Comment by Trent -

  6. “Lebron/Josh Howard Draft”


    If Josh doesnt make the All-Star, it will be as embarassing as the officiating of the Finals.

    It will be funny if he makes it instead of Melo too, but that’s what I think will happen.

    Comment by Henrique Valle -

  7. The “Lebron/Josh Howard Draft”? I realize Josh Howard was your pick, but he’s probably towards the bottom of the top ten stories that came out of that draft.

    Comment by James Etling -

  8. Think there will be two teams qualifying from the Titanic division in the Leastern conference. With both Toronto and New Jersey finishing ahead of the Bucks.

    That said, there probably does need to be a shift in the methodology in how draft picks are allocated, I would suggest just going with the lottery determining the top three pics and wins and losses determining all the other picks regardless if that means all the teams in the titanic would have a top ten pick.

    Comment by Farhan Lalji -

  9. The Lebron/Josh Howard draft? WOW.

    Comment by Zeke -

  10. Rob H, you would think so right?

    You’d also think that an NBA player would have enough respect for his team and coaches not to walk over to the opposing sideline and tell the other team the play his team is running before he inbounds the ball right?

    But that’s exactly what Vince Carter did while with the Toronto Raptors. He told the players on the other team what play was being run, who the ball was going to go to right before the inbounds play. Complete sorriness so never hold the bar too high for professional athletes, because they’ll let you down.

    Comment by Joshua -

  11. the First comment about teams don’t benefit from getting lottery picks is totally wrong. The same teams maybe in the lottery every year, but what about the Spurs where would they be without top pick Tim Duncan? Essentially they’d be David Robinson away from being the New Orleans Jazz if you catch my drift.

    In the long run you want to look back at an organization and have as many all time wins as you can pile up. The same way colleges pursue victories with absolute integrity (if you don’t count all of that under the table money exchanging hands). There are times when it does make sense to play your rookies and second teamers. What did Detroit accomplish by beating the Cowboys the last game of the season? I don’t know what the tiebreaker is but they would of finished tied with Oakland for the worst record in the league and they possibly blew a #1 pick by winning the final game of the season.

    All of that aside the main point of this entry is the Atlantic division is putrid and Jason Terry got straight up molested by Smush Parker Sunday night on his way to the basket.

    Comment by Joshua -

  12. I don’t know what it is. Sports math just goes right over my head. It’s like telling a guy raised on the metric system how many barrels there are in a hogshead.

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  13. Do you really believe that NBA players would be willing to lose on purpose, just so that one, or more, of them can be replaced next year? I believe that every NBA player has too much of a desire to win for this plan to work.

    Comment by Rob H -

  14. The posters that are proposing a change in the lottery system are missing the big picture while arguing a small detail.

    It is in the league’s best business interest to make non-competing teams more competitive. By punishing poor teams and giving them late draft picks, you’re reducing the likelihood of those teams becoming competitive, and therefore, the appeal of those teams to paying customers. The league doesn’t win when a team like Atlanta has empty seats all over the place.

    It doesn’t do any good to address a subtle problem like this with a solution that ultimately make the league less marketable.

    Comment by JJ -

  15. there’s never any guarantees that tanking will get you a stud. in 86 the bulls pressured jordan to sit out after he broke his foot to get a lottery pick. jordan refused. what happened? the bulls barely made the playoffs, then he dropped 49 on boston in game 1. some thought it was a fluke. he dropped 63 in the next game, basically his coming out party as an nba superstar, garnering him universal respect in the process for playing when doctors told him there was a chance reinjury could be career ending. had he tanked and the bulls made the lottery that year they may have gotten a high draft pick and taken… len bias. you never know what can happen so tanking is not the smartest move.

    on a tangential point: what happens when a team from the atlantic division makes the playoffs with the 9th best record in the conference (or worse)? it will prove the flaw in rewarding division winners with a playoff seed since they didn’t earn inclusion into the playoffs by their record over 82 games, but got in by being lucky enough to have division rivals who suck worse.

    so how to solve this problem? let the team with the 8th best record in the conference play the division winner (with an inferior record) for the 8th playoff spot in a one game “playoff” to see who gets into the postseason. reward playoff seeds 1-8 to teams according to best record, regardless of division. that way the best teams — the team with the 8th best record that would miss the playoffs to a division winner with an inferior record, and those crappy record division winners — can all get a legit shot at making the playoffs in a head to head battle on the court.

    Comment by db -

  16. So you think the East shouldn’t get a single playoff spot? I am sure Detroit will be happy to hear that. You play within the system you are given and in the NBA and other sports that means mediocrity is sometimes rewarded. Look at the NFL this year, an 8-8 team made the playoffs in the NFC and 9-7 Denver missed in the AFC. In baseball the Cardinals won the NL Central with a less than stellar record but won the whole damn thing.

    To Dale, who suggested that the bad teams should not get high draft picks. So this year for example the NBA champion would get the 1st overall pick and draft Greg Oden? Yeah that makes sense. Your good teams get better and your poor teams get worse and then the problem never gets better. In that case you would end up with a system like in soccer where Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are always at or near the top and the others struggle just to survive.

    Comment by Scott Gardiner -

  17. As a fan of the NFL I am not very familiar with the NBA or exactly how it works. It seems that there are a lot of opportunities to win games and lose games. There seems to be a lot more strategizing than the game of football. There are only five people on the court and a set of replacements mostly veterans who are on their way out to train the young guns. As a fan of Kansas City sports, I can safely say that I like the coaching job that Herm Edwards does. He emphasizes that you play to win the game, right. And then there’s Mora on playoffs.

    Cities with high demand for sports will understand that in basketball, it must not be the best idea to play to with blood lust every single game, if within the division there are teams with more star power than you. You play to get your team with the best possible set of players and to build franchises that will have the most buzz and hoorah around them. Then, dump the costly veterans who mentored your new players so that they play mistake free. There are five players on the court at once, and they need to play with strong synergy. If a team has awesomely talented young players, won’t it motivate everyone else to play harder?

    Comment by Charles Martin -

  18. In my opinion, the NBA shouldn’t have changed the draft after Orlando got Hardaway. They essentially reversed themselves from the decision they made when Jordan accused the Bulls of tanking to get higher draft position. Now tanking seems to be widely accepted and expected.

    Comment by Mick Ring -

  19. We all know that Mark is talking about the Heat. They are tanking, and tanking badly. Not only do are they currently keeping people out longer, they also are deactivating perfectly healthy players who can help them win games.

    Those players are not at the requisite 8% body fat, and they’re at 9% instead. A 1% difference at that weight is 3 extra lbs. But they are being kept out of the lineup, with an already atrocious record, it will get even worse with basically nobodies out there.

    Look at the number of people in their arena. It now only fills up when big names come into town. Everyone sees it with their own eyes, but who knows. Maybe I’m wrong, but with the “fortuitous” events on their roster, they could get bad enough to say hello to the Oden sweepstakes.

    Comment by Thanh Lim -

  20. I have always had two ideas related to this topic.

    1. Draft picks. #1 thru #3 should be rewarded to the best 3 teams by Win-Loss record that didnt make the playoffs. #4 thru #14 would be rewarded to the worse team in the NBA getting # 4, 2nd worse getting #5, etc. This gives the non-playoffs teams something more to work towards whiel still getting a decent spot to the teams with the worse records.

    2. Scheduling and seeding. Keep the seeding the same as last year, but change the schedule. The problem is that the the division leaders don’t mean much because the lack of contrast in how many times teams play within their own division vs. teams in other division same conference. Here’s what the NBA should do. Up it to 84 games9just two more games a year). Each team takes on their division rivals SIX (6) times. That’s 24 division games, higher than what it is now. Then each team takes on their conference rivals not in their divison only three times, alternating the home court advantage for that 3rd game every year. That’s 30 games. The outer-conference schedule stays he same (15 teams x 2=30) 24=30+30=84. I think the records will be more defined. If we still see division leaders with mediocre records, than we can always say that the reason no one team excels in that division is that the division itself is more competitive.

    Comment by Vil Vodka -

  21. I realize this isn’t exactly along the lines of your draft numbers and thoughts, but it is along the lines of NBA and the MAVS. I’m not sure if you have ever talked about it, but WTF is up with NBA.COM rarely talking about the MAVS?!?! They are the hottest team in the NBA right now and have the best record of any other team, yet, when you go to their site, it’s about every other team except the MAVS. If this is the commish trying to show his true feelings about you Mark, I think he is only showing what a complete douch bag he is.

    I typically always read Yahoo Sports because I just prefer Yahoo over any other sports outlet and also because the NBA never seems to have enough MAVS coverage on it. Call me a MAVS homer or call me what you will, but I have a valid point. I’m definitely not saying other teams don’t deserve the spotlight because I am for their fans getting to read info on their teams, but geez!!! Suns and Nash… EVERY TIME I OPEN THAT SITE! I love Nash and think he’s awesome, but guess what … the MAVS beat the SUNS both times they played this year. Tell me about JOSH HOWARD. Tell me about the late play of JET TERRY. Talk about how DAMPIER is having a stellar season so far and playing as good or better than any center in the league right now.

    Mark…I hope you put my rant up because I know you feel the same way I do. You have brought Mavs mania back to Dallas and yeah you’re a goofball a lot of times, but that’s what makes the Mavs the best team with the best owner in the NBA today. Don’t change a thing and keep up the great work.

    I’m done. Stay hard!

    Ron Wicker

    Comment by Ron Wicker -

  22. Isn’t Greg Oden still under contract to the Kentucky Colonels? I swear I saw him working under the basket with Artis Gilmore. Look at the guy. Did he get born at the same hospital as Danny Almonte?

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  23. I think Cuban’s original post improperly conflates the players, and especially the coach, with the organization. Do the players really care if the team has a high draft pick the next year? Wouldn’t they much rather make the playoffs and see what can happen there? Why would an NBA coach, which is the very definition of job insecurity, deliberately lose games when that’s a sure way to get fired?

    Anyway, this isn’t a really new situation. There are always teams on the bubble between the playoffs and the lottery (with its dreams, sometimes realized, of getting a top 3 pick). Yes, this season is the rare time where it could mean the difference between the 15th draft pick (if you make the playoffs) and as high as the 10th, but it’s tough to see that as being such a big difference to offset the increased playoff revenue. How often do teams trade up or down from those slots? It seems that at that point in the draft it’s all guess work by the GMs.

    Nice try, Cuban, but your speculation really is much ado about nothing.

    Comment by Marc -

  24. I think owners and fans might think its a good idea to throw the end of the season for better draft picks, but I can’t see how any player or coach would ever be willing to do so.

    The NBA isn’t the only place where the worst teams are rewarded either. The last place team in the NFL always gets the first draft pick, and near the end of the season I always hear that one team or another should not try and win any of the remaining games so they can get that #1 draft spot.

    Comment by Kraki -

  25. No disrespect meant but I think (note I did not say believe) that most of you are off base on your post. The lottery was setup by those good old crusty owners for one thing and one thing only to relieve us of our money. Or should I say, to entertain us then relieve us of our money. After all those crusty owners probably do have some kind of conscious. Theyre kind of like Exxon/Mobil and those other big oil behemoths that run up gas pricesthen claim its supply and demand. When we start complaining about it —-they run some public service ads in the media telling us what good corporate citizens they are.

    Well the draft is the same ways.Its designed to give us hopeman. You know keep hope alive.

    Those crusty old owners must have some kind of racket to keep the fans from the down and out franchises from jumping ship. Otherwise, youd only have a few teams showing up at the creek to take a leak. That wouldnt be any fun now would it? We’d have to watch the same teams over and over beat the snot out of those down trodden teams. So we (the fans) have to have some hope. Weve got to have something to look forward to.

    Heaven forbid, I have to dream back in the day when Russell was Russell, the Knicks kicked butt, or when Bird rained down threes on folks like they were standing in a bad monsoon. So all in all, what goes around comes around. As a fan, let me hold my head up high. I know those old crusty owners wont let my dream die.

    They might be crusty but they are not dumb. Theyve found a way to keep my hope alive.

    You know the more that I think about it – it just aint fair.

    Some of us are not fortunate enough to have a Dirk, Duncan, or a Shaq. At least let me hope. Don’t start talking about taking that away. Otherwise you keep messing around and Im gonna have to wonder; were in the heck is that guy called “chocolate thunder!”

    Comment by AP -

  26. I am sure they are going to make enough revenue of the plaoffs. It might cross the general agreements that they sign each time.

    Comment by vps hosting -

  27. There’s no question that there’s an incentive for a terrible team to be in the lottery instead of the 8th seed in the playoffs. Whatever minor financial / experience gain the team gets from getting swept in the 1st round does not offset the expected value from a chance to get a Greg Oden.

    I think there is a question, however, if that incentive actually trickles down to player performance. Because of player mobility, player and team interests aren’t always aligned. That is to say, a player should theoretically still play hard because it’s in his best interest to play well (more playing time next year, better contract, etc) independent of the team’s interest to be in the lottery. The Detroit Lions are a fine example of this, where the coaching staff and players had enough incentive to play hard their final game regardless of the best long-term interest of the team (granted, the NFL has less job security with no guaranteed contracts).

    I think ultimately this is an issue on the merits of divisions within a conference. I don’t know if it always made sense, or if realignment just changed the nature of divisions, but it’s becoming clear that divisions can cause some fluky results. Whether it’s the seeding issue of last year or the Atlantic division of this year, I think this leads to a philosophical debate. Do you abide and use traditional divisions because they create rivalries and marketable organization of the league, or do you emphasize overall conference performance, which may have more merit.

    Comment by JJ -

  28. Interesting concept tanking to draft. The NBA has at least attempted to keep some sort of “Honesty” in their system by having the “Lottery Lucky Ball” pick system. Take the NFL for example. The Raiders are a sure deal for first pick. Their is no attempt at honesty in this system except for the individual teams and their owner/coaches. If a team tanks they get a good pick. Then you have what happened this past weekend. The Lions had an opportunity to pick first. All they had to do was lose. The system was set to award their loss, over the Raiders because of the “Tie Break Rule”, so what do they do?…They beat the Cowboys! Goes to show you that no good deed goes unpunished. By winning they lose first pick. I only bring this up to show that while the NBA’s system isn’t perfect, it is by far a more honest system. Just because your team sucks in the NBA you aren’t guaranteed the first pick at least a team isn’t rewarded for poor performance.

    Comment by Brad Herbold -

  29. hey you know the dirk is my homeboy shirts that are sold through myspace, that the creator made over 20k in profits last playoff season alone, and was completely illegal and you tried to catch him, but you couldnt bc he had a p.o. box?
    that person really screwed me, if you would like the address, let me know.

    Comment by yeeuhhh -

  30. Mark is right about the NBA’s draft incentives. I think it’s clear that the NBA’s lottery system doesn’t go far enough to keep teams from tanking. I don’t think that the commissioner can legislate good decision making on the part of the Atlantic Division’s owners (who can’t seem to fire people based on performance).

    That’s why I suggest that draft picks be purchased every year. This would force teams to make good decisions about salary (which is always a problem in a talent-driven league). Bidding would be on opening night in a made-for-TV special, then those teams would play as hard as possible all season long. The draft pick price would count against a hard salary cap, but no money would exchange hands.

    This only works well with a hard salary cap, of course.

    And I have a suggestion for every sports league (now that they are all changing rules every year for some reason). Look up Rio Grande Games, the maker of board games like Puerto Rico. These folks have demonstrated a knack for editing rules until gameplay is balanced and interesting. They might have better suggestions.

    Comment by solomonrex -

  31. Help keep the Pens in PITTSBURGH!!!

    Comment by Dan -

  32. Good to know an NBA team owner believes other teams would intentionally lose to score a draft pick. Quite a league you have there.

    Comment by Joe -

  33. I was a strong proponent of not allowing the ACC to field a BCS team this year (They all sucked tremendously) I too feel that the NBA’s Eastern Conference should not be allowed to field a playoff team. The Western Conference could skip next yr’s draft entirely (save Memphis) and still not be affected.

    Comment by Clark -

  34. The only interesting thing in the scenario you laid out is what would you, Mark Cuban, team owner, do if faced with the same situation. What all of us fans woudl do doesn’t matter, although it makes for a fun debate. But there are only 30 NBA team owners, and you are one of them. So what I would find interestsing is what would you do.

    I predict that you would try to win, every game, because that is what competitors do. You might scheme to work up the draft board later, or create cap space in the year Oden and the rest of the draft class come available, but you would do everything possible to win now as well. Am I wrong?

    Comment by Rich Gross -

  35. A reply to dale.

    The NBA most likely believes that competitive balance is important to the long term success of the league. Essentially, and i think this makes sense, fans would not watch as much if the outcome of a game was not at least partially uncertain.

    If the best teams, the best organizations, got the highest picks this would never happen.

    Could you imagine San Antonio with LeBron? or What if The Mavs had Yao to go with Dirk?

    Obviously the league should not make it impossible for a team to acquire multiple MVP type players, but giving the worst teams first crack at it in the draft gives them a shot. The Cavs, Nuggets, and Heat would agree.

    Comment by Jake Kravitz -

  36. I’m mostly just surprised that you think that the teams from that division could play any worse. Now that would be impressive.

    Comment by techguy -

  37. A couple writers are saying getting a top draft pick actually hurts their team. This is completely false, and although teams may take chances on players straight outta high school, they still have the option on what pick they’re taking. No one is forcing you to pick someone who might blossom and might not. Take the Orlando Magic for example. A questionable team a few years ago, the Magic took Dwight Howard as their #1 and also took J.J Reddick this last year. They’re actually off to a nice start this season. Dale in the first comment says teams with higher draft picks don’t get better… that couldn’t be any further from the truth. At least if their pick blossoms into a solid player they can trade him for something of value.

    To blame it on high draft picks is the wrong way to look at the problem. What about poor management? What about poor scouting? The whole front office, team procedure coaching? How about the tradition of winning or making the playoffs? I live right outside of Dallas and the Mavericks sucked for years until Mark turned the organization around and started a winning, playoff tradition in Dallas.

    There are too many variables going into the equation of why a team loses are why a team wins to blame it on something like getting higher draft picks (usually better players).

    Comment by James Stevens -

  38. I think the playoffs are still worth it for the extra revenue and the extra chance at making the next round. Also the whole lottery thing is great. Sure giving the worst teams the first pick is the most fair, but fair isn’t as fun for us to watch.

    Comment by Dehumidifiers -

  39. I don’t think that New Jersey, Toronto, or Boston will all “out-suck” the Knicks. If they are all within a game or two of each other near the end, it could be interesting, especially since the Knicks last four games include two with the Nets and one with the Raptors. Remind me then, I have make some bets on Bodog.

    Comment by Frank D -

  40. I can not remember one team in recent history that has been a serious contender that built there team solely from the draft.

    No team is ever built through the draft, but you need a combination of good drafting and veteran acquisitions to win, and I’d argue that it’s easier to build around a high draft pick rather than paying full market value in the trade or free agency market, especially since teams rarely let their best players go.

    Look at the Spurs: if they didn’t have that one bad season, they don’t draft Tim Duncan. Manu and Parker were drafted, albeit not in the lottery. Their free agent acquisitions tend to be role players -Horry, Bowen, Barry – valuable, but not irreplaceable as Duncan. You can say that their success is the direct result of the high lottery pick – all the other moves are made to support that one lottery pick.

    Also, the Heat looks like a patchwork of veterans, but their best player, Wade, is a high lottery pick, and had to give up a former lottery pick (Caron Butler) to get Shaq. The Mavs wouldn’t be where they are if they don’t draft Dirk (lottery pick). And go back a few years, the Bulls were built around Jordan, Pippen and Grant, all high draft picks, and never had a major trade or free agent signing (except for Rodman, who came on the cheap because he wore out his welcome in San Antonio).

    The Pistons are the only recent champion that didn’t rely on its own draft picks, but they did get Ben Wallace by trading a former #3 pick (Grant Hill). So the lesson seems to be that even if you don’t win with your draft picks, you can still get value out of them.

    Comment by your sister's gay boyfriend -

  41. This is an interesting post, especially the brutally true observation that the New York Knicks, easily one of the worst run organizations in the NBA, have a legitimate chance at winning their division and avoiding the lottery. While there is an extremely low chance of them making it out of the first round, it would seem on the surface to be more beneficial to go to the lottery until one remembers that they gave the Bulls the right to swap picks with them in this years draft, therefore, unless they somehow wind up with Chicago somehow winds up with a better pick, it doesn’t matter if they win the lottery or not. The Knicks may wind up being the only team with any real motivation to make a playoff push. The rest of the Titanic division would be better served by going into the lottery and hoping the land a cornerstone player, a la Greg Oden, Kevin Durant (the best player in the country right now), Spencer Hawes, Tyler Hansborough, or Joakim Noah. This debate comes down to whether the team can morally justify ‘tanking’ or not. If I were running a team faced with this quandry, I would recommend, in the last quarter of the season, to begin playing as many young players as possible, letting them learn on the fly. Who knows, a young guy who never got a shot before might take off and you get the added benefit of coupling this unknown with your cornerstone that you get in the draft. Taking this approach, the worst-case scenario is that some unknown kid turns out to be so good that he drives your team into the playoffs himself, and then you have found yourself a potential cornerstone player in this manner, which is the real reason a team would want to enter the lottery in the first place.

    Comment by Alec -

  42. Your underlying message is that getting into the playoffs vs getting in the lottery makes it a hard decisions. But I would hope the players would go out and try to win as many games as possible. Period.

    Comment by basketball drills -

  43. Some bad teams may tank their season to get that higher draft pick, but as a previous poster already alluded to… not many teams are completely turned around based solely on a draft pick. They are turned around because of a change in ownership (i.e. Mavs) and a change in management, etc…

    A prime example of this is the Detroit Lions. Now I know the rules of the NFL are different from the NBA, but you can still see my point. Matt Millen has completely destroyed that organization and yet no matter how many draft picks (wide receivers 🙂 one team gets, it still won’t change the wins/loss collumn unless the business side of things is re-worked.

    Also, another important factor is… how many free agents want to go to teams that continually are in the preverbial celler? Not many I’d guess. Sure you’ll get the occasional big time player that will go to a horrible team simply for a ridiculous contract, but typically the better players and veterans will lean towards playoff or Championship contenders.

    I guess I really can’t see how tanking a season will benefit the organization in the long run, plus if you’re getting paid millions of dollars a year you should never tank a game or be told to tank a season by managment. If you are caught doing this… you should be out of the game for good. Now I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t currently happen, but it’s a slap in the face to the game and the fans to pay those ridiculous salaries.


    Comment by Sports Blog -

  44. It would seem that it would be better to get into the playoffs. I can not remember one team in recent history that has been a serious contender that built there team solely from the draft. Although Oden is good(when he stays out of foul trouble) the teams in the Hotlantic division are so bad that he alone will not be their savior. Or anyone else in this possible deep draft.

    How did there become such a huge disparity between the quality of teams in the East and the West?

    Comment by Brian May -

  45. It depends on the decision makers motives. Do you want a better chance to win or do you want some extra revenue in the short term? If you want to win, lose, you’ll have a better pick in the draft next year. If you want some money, win, you’ll go to the playoffs and get some extra money.

    When thinking about losing to get a better draft pick, you must know that your team will not advance in the playoffs.

    I think the point you’re trying to make is that there is a scenario where it could be beneficial to lose, right Mark?

    What would I do? I’d take my chances in the playoffs. If you choose to lose, what does that say about your integrity? What will your fans think. You’ll lose more money in the long term.

    You’re taking more than one gamble in the lottery anyhow. Plus since you’re likely to lose in the first round of playoffs, look at the difference in draft slots. It’s not worth it.

    Was I supposed to write this out as an equation? 🙂

    Comment by duhblow7 -

  46. Worth it is a relative concept, but your question is a good one. It would depend on how much each NBA team gets for being in the playoffs (extra ticket revenue, TV revenue, and the additional fan interest and merchandise sales that would come from a drive into the playoffs), AND a key is how good the draft is and what player they might get if they were in the lottery and got a high draft pick.

    Comment by basketball -

  47. Would it be “worth” it? $$$? You tell us. Just how much extra revenue does the team get for each post season game? A million dollars? (20,000 seats times $50) TV revenue? Then that money can be used to sign an already proven player as opposed to a “high risk” drafted unknown. Can you say Podkolzin?

    Anyway, I expect Toronto to end up in pretty good shape once Bosh returns and their rookies will continue to improve. And I have them finishing 38-44 on my website:

    Comment by greg -

  48. I know this isn’t the thought behind this entry but the whole process of awarding high picks to poor teams is wrong. Why is the NBA rewarding poor performance? Teams with high lottery picks seem to be there perpetually while teams that regularly have low picks continue to perform at high levels. There is this thought that teams will get better if they have higher draft picks. That is not correct. Teams get better by putting their house in order and by running a great organization. Knowing how to handle your personel and build a team are more important than where a team is drafting every year. That hypo team in the Hotlantic would probably wiff on their draft pick anyways. The NBA is doing them a favor by giving them the 14th pick vs the 5th pick. They just saved a few bucks.

    Comment by Dale -

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