Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4 comments Drew Sharp is Unhappy the NBA Lottery Works As It Is Intended to Work

Drew Sharp is upset that the Detroit Pistons haven't had better luck in the NBA Draft lottery over the past few seasons. He's mad that the Pistons are too good to get high lottery picks, but aren't good enough to make the playoffs. The only takeaway from this is that the NBA Draft lottery is broken and must be fixed. Of course, in the same article where Sharp complains the Pistons deserve a high lottery pick, he also points out how drafting high in the NBA lottery isn't a sure-fire way to land a great player. So Sharp is unhappy the NBA Draft lottery works in the way it is intended to because the Pistons deserve a high lottery pick that Sharp points out may not even get the Pistons an outstanding player. The last time the Pistons landed a high lottery pick, they drafted Darko Milicic. Since 2010 when the Pistons have drafted in spots 6-10 they have drafted Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Andre Drummond, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. So it seems like Sharp should want the Pistons to NOT get a Top 5 pick in the NBA Draft lottery. Alas, that is not the argument Sharp is making. He thinks the lottery is broken because it works how it is supposed to and he wants the Pistons to land a Top 5 pick that Sharp points out have a tendency to not live up to expectations anyway. Of course.

The NBA's lottery logic is egregiously flawed.

Not just flawed, but EGREGIOUSLY flawed. There is no coming back from how flawed the lottery is.

While the bad should be rewarded with the first dips into the pool of fresh, young talent, the league is failing miserably in maximizing the value of the process.

The No. 1 overall pick shouldn't be awarded. It should be won.

Instead of the draft lottery, there should be a draft tournament.

The logic is flawed. The worst teams should be rewarded with higher draft picks, so logically, the best way to do this is to hold a tournament where the winner of the tournament gets to draft first. So logically, the worst teams will be rewarded through the process of a tournament where the teams that didn't make the playoffs will compete for the #1 overall pick. Again, LOGICALLY (my God, there's no logic in this), it makes sense to maximize the value of the lottery process by holding a tournament, where the worst teams don't have a good chance of winning this tournament, in order to determine which team gets the #1 overall pick. How in the holy hell does it make sense to award the #1 overall pick to a team that wins a tournament, while acknowledging the worst NBA teams deserve the first shot at players in the draft? 

See, if a team is so bad that it is in the running for the #1 overall pick then that team logically won't be able to beat other NBA teams in a tournament. Therefore, it makes no logical sense to say, "Hey, the worst teams should have the best chance at getting the #1 overall pick," and then stating the #1 overall pick should be determined by the very same basketball games that showed the worst teams are the worst teams. Logically, the best "bad" teams will win this tournament and be awarded a better draft pick. It doesn't reward bad teams for being bad, it simply reproves the worst teams in the NBA are going to be the worst teams in the NBA and ensures a better NBA team gets a better draft pick than one of the worst NBA teams. It's not a bad idea, it's just an idea that doesn't achieve it's intended purpose. Logically. 

The current lottery system — a number of ping-pong balls in proportion to the number of games lost — punishes the Pistons more than other teams.

I mean, I would argue differently considering Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond exist on the Pistons roster. Or Greg Monroe DID exist prior to hitting free agency. Who the hell knows what's happening now? What punishes the Pistons more than other teams are really stupid fucking free agent signings. Ben Gordon, Josh Smith, and Charlie Villanueva would like to talk about this issue. Maybe Drew Sharp should look into stupid fucking free agent signings as the source of the Pistons' biggest issues.

Though bad the past six seasons, they haven't been dreadful enough to improve their chances at getting a top-three selection. The Pistons have a 3.89% chance of landing a top-three selection in Tuesday night's draft lottery.

The Pistons have been bad, but not one of the worst teams in the NBA. Therefore, the Pistons don't have a good chance of landing a very high draft pick. The lottery has worked as it is intended to.

It has been 12 years since they last got a top-three selection. The Pistons' problem is that they stay in the middle of the lottery pack. This will be their sixth straight season in the draft lottery, but they've never had a selection higher than seventh. The newly crowned NBA MVP, Golden State's Stephen Curry, was the seventh pick in 2009.

The Pistons made the playoffs from 2001-2002 through 2008-2009, so they had no chance at getting a top-three selection during those years. The Pistons didn't have a first round pick in 2012 and 2014. so that leaves the, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 drafts where they could have landed a top-three pick. The Pistons only had four chances in the last 12 years to get a top-three selection. They feel less cursed if you provide complete information, no?

The Pistons built the core of their current team in those four drafts, so it's not like they have really struggled finding talent in spots 6-10 of the first round. Considering the Pistons made the playoffs in half of those 12 years since they last received a top-three selection, I'm not sure what Drew Sharp is bitching about.

The draft lottery should benefit those close enough to genuinely contend for playoff series victories in the next season as well as those still molding a foundation onto which they could build a contender in another two or three years.

Whatever happened to the idea Drew mentioned where bad teams should be the ones who get the first dip into the talent pool? I guess that doesn't matter anymore.

I disagree the draft logic is flawed. Why should teams close enough to contend for playoff series victories be rewarded with higher draft picks? And let's be honest. The Pistons are good enough to contend for playoff victories only because they are in the Eastern Conference. They haven't won more than 32 games in a season since 2008-2009 season. They are consistently a mediocre team that has drafted well enough to win games, but have made other dumb moves that have held them back from making the playoffs. Why should this be rewarded over other teams who are just flat-out terrible? One man's "molding a foundation onto which they could build a contender in another two or three years" is another man's "they draft well, but don't draft well enough to cover up for other mistakes that are made in building the roster."

They might be the Eastern Conference lottery team best positioned for a dramatic surge upward if they score in the draft.

Maybe they are or maybe they are not. Who knows? Pretending this assumption is correct doesn't mean this assumption is actually correct. The Pacers, Heat, and Hornets all made the playoffs a year ago and two of those teams were missing their best player for a large part of the season. If any of those three teams landed a top-three pick then I would say they would surge upwards faster than the Pistons would, PLUS these teams have all shown that they actually can win a playoff series in reality (except the Hornets) and not theoretically on paper...you know, like Sharp claims the Pistons could.

Can you imagine a starting backcourt next season of point guard Reggie Jackson and Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell with Andre Drummond holding fort down low? Or how about Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Townes pairing with Drummond next season?

Can you imagine D'Angelo Russell slinging passes to Roy Hibbert and Paul George? How about Karl-Anthony Towns and Hassan Whiteside on the same team protecting the rim? What about Justise Winslow leading the fast break for any of these teams? If these players are any good they will help whatever team they are drafted by. Simply because the Pistons have a few good players doesn't mean they are more "worthy" than the Heat or Pacers, both teams who suffered injuries to important players this past season.

A draft tournament would help teams like the Pistons.

And obviously, because the draft tournament would help teams like the Pistons then it is a good idea. There's no doubt about that. The draft lottery would help teams like the Thunder, Pacers, Heat or Suns a little bit more.

It's something NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA Players Association should strongly consider — if for nothing else but silencing the annual harping from skeptics that bad teams deliberately tank for more losses and more lottery ping-pong balls.

Ironically, Drew Sharp is talking about harping from skeptics and he happens to be one of those skeptics. So Drew Sharp has created the idea of a draft tournament in order to help his hometown team get a top-three draft pick and to stop himself from bitching about teams that deliberately lose games to get a better draft pick. He's acting like this draft tournament is anything but an attempt to satiate his own bitching and whining about the lottery process by acting like he isn't one of these skeptics. I really do believe the media cares more about tanking than the average NBA fan does. I could be wrong, but the media bitches about tanking so much that they create their own echo chamber where they believe tanking to be a huge issue when I think it's a huge issue of their own creation. I'm not sure how much the public, outside of fans of the teams doing the tanking, care about the issue.

Winning to prove that you deserve to be the biggest loser.

There are 14 nonplayoff teams. But the 13th- and 14th-ranked lottery teams shouldn't eligible for the tournament.

LO-fucking-L! So Drew Sharp goes through this whole column talking about a tournament that rewards those teams that are close enough to contend in a playoff series, but aren't good enough to make the playoffs. Then he immediately eliminates the two lottery teams that are the closest (in terms of record) to making the playoffs from the tournament. The Thunder and the Suns would have made the playoffs if they were in the Eastern Conference, but those are the two teams that Drew Sharp so amazingly chooses as not belonging in the tournament specifically designed for good teams who aren't good enough to make the playoffs.

I would say this is a shocking example of ineptitude, but it's not shocking. It's typical of modern sportswriting. Drew Sharp has an end he wants to achieve and he'll be damned if he doesn't achieve that end, even if he has to contradict his intent. He wants a tournament for NBA lottery teams to prove they deserve the #1 overall pick because they have molded a foundation, so he eliminates the two teams that are closest to actually making the playoffs and currently seem to be the closest to molding that foundation to success. Brilliant.

Take the remaining 12 teams. The worst four get a first-round bye. Each will play in its own three-team bracket. The next eight play one another based on their lottery seeding. The four first-round winners will play the four worst teams in the second round. The second-round winners will represent the draft's Final Four.

Or maybe it should be called the Flawed Four.

And the intent of this tournament is? To reward the best teams in the NBA with better picks? Because if the intent is anything but that, then this tournament will not achieve it's intended purpose. The worst teams in the lottery have had 82 games to prove they don't deserve to make the playoffs. A draft lottery tournament will only go to reinforce this as true.

The NBA has expressed resistance in such a plan because it doesn't want anything detracting from the full attention on the league's best battling for an actual championship. But shouldn't all league parties involved want the best system possible for those teams striving to become a playoff team?

Yes, they should. Teams that aren't very good right now do want to become a playoff team in time, so that's why they get the best possible lottery position, because they aren't very good and they want to be a playoff team. Simply because the Pistons are a mediocre to below average team doesn't mean they want to make the playoffs more than a team like the Magic or Sixers, who aren't very good at all, want to make the playoffs.

The 19-year-old draft entry requirement effectively has rendered the current lottery system obsolete. You're extremely fortunate now if just one of the top-four players selected becomes a decently productive starter, let alone a superstar such as former No. 1 overall selections Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose.

Great, more LOL'ing for me. Drew Sharp writes this column about how the NBA needs to "reward" NBA teams who try to build good teams and almost make the playoffs with a top-three pick. Then Drew Sharp ends the column with "NBA teams are fortunate if a top-four player becomes a productive NBA starter." So if the Pistons need luck to get a productive player in the top-four of the draft then why would the NBA "reward" them with a top-four pick? The Pistons have found two productive starters with the four first round starters they had between picks 6-10. Why not just have the Pistons stay there since they have proven they can find productive starters in those spots and not "reward" them by turning the intent of the lottery around? 

I think this is hilarious and very Terence Moore-esque of Drew Sharp. He spends an entire column talking about how the Pistons deserve an early lottery pick and then writes that teams are lucky to find productive players with those early lottery spots anyway. He submarines his own point. Welp, I guess it's not really a problem that the Pistons don't get those early lottery picks is it? 

Over the past seven drafts, only eight of the 28 players selected in the top four have been even remotely impactful.

That's basically a 25% average (one out of four).

And THESE are the guys that Drew Sharp so vehemently wants the Pistons to be in a position to draft?

If the odds are that long in finding that one potential star among the top-four selections, then shouldn't the value of that pick be worth more than the random assembly of ping-pong balls?

Notice how Drew Sharp leaves out the 2007 draft. If the 2007 draft were included then it would be 11 of 32 players selected in the top-four that have been remotely impactful. If that odds are that long in finding that one potential star among the top-four selections, then shouldn't it make sense to leave the draft lottery as it is and allow the teams with the worst record to have the best chance at the top-four picks? After all, the Pistons aren't really missing out on anything special if that's hard to find a productive player in the top four picks.

Over the last seven drafts (2008-2014) I count 11 players that have been remotely impactful in the 5-8 spots in the first round and 9 players that have been remotely impactful drafted in the 9-12 spots in the first round. So what does it matter if the lottery is egregiously flawed for the reasons that Drew Sharp indicates? Why is a tournament needed if the teams that are building something great can still find impactful players later in the lottery? After all, Drew Sharp admits it's not easy to find great, productive players in the first four picks of the draft. So how is allowing them the chance (through a tournament) even a reward for teams like the Pistons? I guess we will see tonight how it goes for them.


Chris said...

Did Drew bother to think at all about his proposed draft tournament or did he just pull that out of thin air and throw it out there as a proposal. When exactly would this tournament be held? During the playoffs? Would the last few games of the season be considered draft lottery tournament games for those teams that qualify? If your gonna add more games good luck getting the players association to ever agree to that.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I think it took at least a few minutes to think of this idea. It would be held right before the playoffs start supposedly. It doesn't make sense to me at all. Why is a tourney needed to show what 82 games have already shown?

Anonymous said...

Is Drew affiliated with ESPN? This idea for the lottery pick is essentially Bill Simmons' scheme for the 'Entertaining as Hell Tournament', is it not?. Grantland removed Simmons from their slogan, too. Perhaps Simmons is an entity which is destined to exist through either one man or many, each contributing separate nuggets of Simmons' essence. He brings balance to the farce.

Bengoodfella said...

Shaco, I don't think he is affiliated with ESPN at all. His scheme is close to something that Bill wants to do as well, though I think Bill's is for the last playoff spot in each conference if I'm not wrong.

Bill Simmons is in all of us. His ideas are the ideas humanity will use until the very end of our existence at the hands of SkyNet.