Will Shields Announces Retirement
Willie Roaf left last year, Casey Wiegmann is likely to retire and now Shields is gone. What are the Chiefs going to do? There’s no instant improvement to be had on the offensive line via the draft and there’s no way they are going to pick up enough players at this point who can make a difference. Total bummer for anyone who has Larry Johnson in any fantasy keeper leagues. The guys might run the ball 400 times this year for 800 yards.
My Thoughts on NBA and Blowing Games
Ryan Gomes of the Celtics recently admitted to sitting out late in a game because his team was after a high draft pick. Milwaukee Bucks GM Larry Harris recently made mention of 4 of his original starting 5 players being on the bench because he was looking at the long term future of the team (you can say he’s worried about health of his stars, but I don’t buy it). It’s obvious that teams are trying to blow a lot of games right now. It’s the yearly race for the most ping-pong balls.
It’s obviously a joke. Everyone knows it, lots of people are saying it. Having teams intentionally blow games to try for a higher draft pick is hurting the popularity of the NBA. The appalling practice is downright insulting to fans who pay the exorbitant ticket prices. Sure, itâ€™s in the best interest of teams to try and draft a young superstar. History has proven that itâ€™s nearly impossible to win a title without one (see every NBA champion post-1970). The problem, is that it takes more than one player to make a great team (see every current team minus San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix). To be a dominant team, you need a core of good players along with a superstar. You also need a good coach and management structure. That is something that is completely lacking in the league these days. This theory can easily be proven given the immense number of games suddenly being lost by the bottom five teams.
So with the system we have now Memphis, Milwaukee or Boston will likely end up winning the Oden/Durant marathon. Either of these teams will turn that pick into a mild improvement next year, but ultimately bad coaching and management is going to keep that team in the same place they are now. Meanwhile, the truly deserving teams that are currently fighting for top playoff spots, will be left with average players that rarely have much hope of contributing for several years. Thus, the teams that are good now rarely don’t stay on top for very long.
A system like this leaves us with a league of average teams with the occasional group of above-average teams that are on top for a handful of seasons. Where is the fun in this? What happened to the long-time rivalries between dynasties like the Lakers and Celtics? What happened to Jordan vs. the entire NBA? Where did the days go when you could turn on a game between the Suns and the Knicks and actually not know who would win?
Plenty of folks, probably most smarter than I, have offered up solutions to this dire state the NBA is in. Many of these solutions have the same fundamental problems the current system does. There has to be some small advantage to help the struggling teams out, but it cannot be so great that there is incentive to lose.
So what do I propose?
Quite simple… keep a lottery as we have now, but make huge changes to level the playing field.
Currently, 14 teams don’t make the playoffs. In the current system, the 1,000 available lottery number combinations are divided amongst these teams and the odds are stack-ranked in favor of the worst team. I say keep this current number, but divide the picks completely different.
Once you do that, break everything down like so:
– Give each non-playoff team 45 chances in the lottery. (14 teams x 45 chances = 630 combinations).
– Give the eight teams that lose in the first round of the playoffs 30 chances each (240 combinations).
– Give the 4 teams that lose in the 2nd round of the playoffs 25 chances each (100 combinations).
– Give the 2 teams that lose in the Conference Finals 10 chances each (20 combinations).
– Give the 2 finals teams 5 chances each (10 combinations – 1,000 total).
You could easily arrange the playoff teams differently, maybe give a few less chances to the eventual NBA champions. Regardless, the structure is what matters.
By doing the draft lottery this way, there is not only no advantage to being a last place team, but there is also no strong advantage to say, losing your last couple games and missing a playoff spot (as some other suggestions leave open). This way there is still a reasonable (0.5%) chance that the NBA champion could get the top pick in the draft (current chance = 0%). Most importantly, all the non-playoff teams would only have a 4.5% chance of winning the lottery. The 4% different between the best and worst team gives a true level playing field and leaves the true advantage in the hands of teams who hire good coaches and make wise moves on the GM and owner level.
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