I may sound like a broken record, but the way the NBA handles their draft infuriates me every year. I still can’t for the life of me understand while the media and general public does not call the NBA out for having a lottery system in the first place. They have so little trust that NBA teams won’t tank that they actually have to have measures to protect against that. Baseball gets ripped for the steroids, where it’s going on in every sport, but the NBA tries to sell of the excitement of the draft as a cover-up for a tanking concern.
In every other sport the worst team gets the first overall pick (which could actually be a detriment in the NFL, but the intentions are good and that’s a conversation for another day) in order to give them a chance to improve. Not so in the NBA. They devised a ridiculous formula that flat-out doesn’t work. You don’t have to be a math genius to figure out something’s rotten in Denmark. All too often the team with the best odds doesn’t get the number one pick. That goes against mathematical probabilities. Here’s a look at the teams that ended up with the #1 pick and the odds.
2010: Washington Wizards got the #1 pick with the 5th best odds
2009: LA Clippers got the #1 with the 3rd best odds
2008: Chicago got the #1 pick with the 9th best odds
2007: Portland got the #1 with the 7th best odds
2006: Toronto got #1 with 4th best odds
2005: Milwaukee got the #1 pick with the 6th best odds
2004: Orlando got the #1 pick with the 1st best odds
2003: Cleveland got the #1 pick with the 1st best odds
2005: Milwaukee got #1 with 6th best odds
2002: Houston got #1 with 5th best odds
2001: Washington got #1 with 3rd best odds (Michael Jordan’s first pick, hmm)
2000: New Jersey got #1 with 7th best odds (Former NBA exec Rod Thorn’s first year with NJ, hmm)
1999: Chicago got #1 with 3rd best odds
1998: LA Clippers got #1 with 3rd best odds
1997: San Antonio got #1 with 3rd best odds
1996: Philadelphia got #1 with 2nd best odds
1995: Golden State got #1 with 5th best odds
1994: Milwaukee got #1 with 4th best odds
1993: Orlando got #1 with 11th best odds (1 in 66 chances, hmm)
1992: Orlando got #1 with 2nd best odds
1991: Charlotte got #1 with 5th best odds
So why would the NBA want the Washington Bullets, I mean the Wizards to get the number one pick? Simple. Gilbert Arenas disgraced the city and gave the NBA a bad name. What better way to put that fiasco behind you than awarding them John Wall. People are talking about Wall now and how Arenas has to adjust his game. The gun scandal is an afterthought.
I’m going to continue to be skeptical about the draft until they actually show us the ping pong balls. There have been too many instances where the two teams with the best odds have failed to get the top pick. In the last 20 years the team with the best odds only landed the top pick twice. The number two team landed it twice. That’s four times in 20 years of 20 percent of the time. The problem is, that number should be twice as high. That’s the same as the team with the 5th best odds won. The team with the third best odds has won five times. It’s staggering that 55 percent of the time the #1 pick goes to the team with the 3rd, 4th, or 5th best odds.