March SadnessApril 1st, 2011
Start the funereal procession. R.I.P. Jimmer. R.I.P Ohio State. Quick, Shaka Smart chant the right words to bring all my favorite teams and players back to life. It all happened so fast. Can somebody tell me where to poke my Jimmer doll to turn back time so I can re-watch the Sweet 16? OSU-Kentucky (91/100 excitement rating), SDSU-Connecticut (87/100), VCU-Florida State (93/100).
My first kiss with VCU was enough to make the NBA ignore my calls for a week. As a loyal fan since Halloween of 1994 (I'm the one on the right), I should have known better than to invoke the jealous rage of my favorite basketball association.
Never fear. I won't be in the doghouse for long. I have drafted a document that will seal our three fates forever. A compromise of love and forgiveness.
I call it: My NBA Draft Preview.
Though we still have the entire NBA playoffs ahead of us, the bottom teams are rounding out their seasons and place in the NBA lottery. Their paths will soon intersect with the NCAA's most freakish athletes. And Brunoslav from that country where his face is printed on the 1, 5, and 7 dollar bill.
Before we get into who will draft Bruno, here's a refresher on how the lottery works. 14 numbered ping pong balls are placed into a bingo hopper. When the lottery begins, four balls are randomly selected. Each team is assigned a certain number of 4-ball combinations based on their final record. The worst team in the league gets 25% of the 4-number combinations, the second worst team gets 20%, and so on and so forth.
The first three teams are decided by lottery, and the rest of the draft order is determined by reverse league standings. Last year, the 5th worst team in the league, the Washington Wizards, won the 1st pick despite only a 10.3% probability. Their reward: John Wall. The year before that the 2nd worst team won it (17.7% probability) and drafted Blake Griffin.
Statistically, here's how this year will pan out with probability of 1st pick in parentheses:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (25%)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves (20%)
3. Washington Wizards (16%)
4. Toronto Raptors (12%)
5. Sacramento (soon to be Anaheim) Kings (9%)
6. Utah Jazz (6%) - from the Nets for Deron Williams
7. Detroit Pistons (4%)
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (3%) - from the Clippers for Baron Davis
9. Milwaukee Bucks (2%)
10. Golden State Warriors (1%)
11. Charlotte Bobcats (1%)
12. Utah Jazz (.5%)
13. Phoenix Suns (.5%)
14. Houston Rockets (.5%)
Tell 'em what they've won, Bob!
Top 14 prospects:
1. Kyrie Irving, PG - Duke (Freshman, 6'2", 180)
2. Derrick Williams, SF - Arizona (Sophomore, 6'8", 241)
3. Harrison Barnes, SF - UNC (Freshman, 6'8", 210)
4. Perry Jones, PF - Baylor (Freshman, 6'11", 220)
5. Enes Kanter, C - Turkey (18yrs, 6'10", 250)
6. Jonas Valanciunas, PF - Lithuania (18yrs, 6'11", 240)
7. Jan Vesely, PF - Czech Republic (20yrs, 6'11", 240)
8. Kemba Walker, PG - Connecticut (Junior, 6'0", 180)
9. Brandon Knight, PG - Kentucky (Freshman, 6'3", 170)
10. Terrence Jones, SF - Kentucky (Freshman, 6'8", 244)
11. Kawhi Leonard, SF - SDSU (Sophomore, 6'7", 225)
12. John Henson, PF - UNC (Sophomore, 6'10", 200)
13. Kenneth Faried, PF - Morehead St. (Senior, 6'8", 225)
14. Alec Burks, SG - Colorado (Sophomore, 6'6", 200)
A few notes and observations:
-The experts are torn on Kyrie Irving vs. Derrick Williams. So are the Cavs. Either could go #1.
-The Cavs would have taken a long, hard look at Columbus-native and Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger. He's announced he will stay another year at school.
-Derrick Rose and Kevin Love would be seniors this year if they had stayed in school. Hard to think Memphis and UCLA wouldn't have beaten Butler and VCU. Kenneth Faried (#13) is the only senior in this year's top 14.
-John Henson (#12) has a wingspan of 7'4". He is only 6'10" and weighs only 200lbs. On a good day. See for yourself. I'm the one on the right.
-The lottery system was designed to discourage teams from tanking games for a higher draft pick. I sort of like it. The Cavs (15-59) deserve the 1st pick, but the worst they can receive is the 4th.
-The most undeserving team to win the 1st overall pick is either the 2008 Bulls (9th worst in league - 1.7% chance) or the 1993 Magic (11th worst in league - 1.5% chance). The Bulls drafted Derrick Rose. The Magic drafted Chris Webber who was traded for the #3 pick, Anfernee Hardaway.
So stab your Jimmer doll or score some luck for your team in whatever way you can. The 1st pick pays off. Enjoy the Madness.
Sat, Apr 2 - VCU vs. Butler (6:09PM ET, CBS)
Sat, Apr 2 - Kentucky vs. Connecticut (8:49PM ET, CBS)
Sun, Apr 3 - Championship (TBA)
By: Wiley Birkhofer