Saturday, April 19, 2008

What's the Chance?

With the Grizzlies locked into the #4 lottery spot in the upcoming draft it is time to figure out just how the 4th worst team in the league did in previous drafts. Not because it gives us any glimpse into the future but simply because there is nothing else for me to blog about. I am a NBA fan and outside of the Tigers don't know enough to comment on the potential lottery picks.

Lucky for 3 SOB readers, MemphisX is quite capable and will probably being writing something about it.

I do like History and Math however so I will blog about what I know something about. The NBA Lottery has been around since 1985 when the Knicks won the live lottery. The Knicks had the 3rd worst record in the NBA that season. Seattle and Sacramento tied for the 4th worst record. Since the lottery wasn't weighted back then it didn't matter if there was a tie-breaker. Seattle got the fourth pick (Xavier McDaniel) and Sacramento got the 6th pick (Joe Kleine).

After the 1985-86 season New York had the worst record in the league followed by Indiana, Cleveland (who traded their pick to Dallas) and Golden St. The Warriors had the 4th worst record in the league and the worst record in the Western conference but also had the same record as Chicago who made the playoffs in the East. Some things never change. The Warriors did better than the previous season and got to pick 3rd in the draft. They took Chris Washburn...

In 1987 the Spurs had the fourth worst record in the NBA. They choose someone named David Robinson after winning the lottery. Their franchise has never looked back.

The 1988 lottery had two teams that failed to win 20 games for the first time since the lottery was installed and a third team won only 20 games. The Clippers, with the worst record in the league, also had Sacramento's pick who was the 4th worst team. The Clippers picked 1st and 6th. I have not found any record that tells which envelope was which so we don't know if the 4th team won the lottery or the worst team.

1989 was the last year of the unweighted lottery. Expansion teams Miami and Charlotte (the Hornets not the Bobcats) had the worst records followed by the Clippers and San Antonio. The Spurs didn't win the lottery but did get the 3rd pick who turned into Sean Elliot.

Since all of those seasons were unweighted there was no true advantage in dumping games. You gained nothing from having the worst record or being the team just out of the playoffs. Everything changed in 1990. Now if you finished last in the regular season you got 11 Ping Pong balls, second to last got 10, etc all the way until the 11th team got one single ball. 4 teams failed to crack the 20 win plateau that season. Sure it could have been just a coincidence but it is rather interesting. The Charlotte Hornets had the 4th worst record in the league and picked 5th in the draft. That system last 3 more years with the 4th team picking second, fifth and seventh. So over the four years of the extra ball lotteries the 4th worst record averaged picking 4.8 and picked lower than their seed in 3 of the 4 drafts but never worse than 7th.

The current system began in 1994 and the fourth worst record netted Milwaukee the correct combination as they won the draft and picked Glenn Robinson from Purdue. In 1995 the fourth worst team picked 3rd. 1996 that team picked 4th. 1997 they got the 5th pick. In 1998 Golden St picked 5th. 1999 Toronto got the 5th pick. 2000 saw the Grizzlies pick second and draft Stromile Swift, 2001 Memphis (for the first time) picked Shane Battier with their pick at #6. 2002 saw Denver pick 5th. 2003 was Miami and they got the 5th pick. In 2004 the Clippers picked 4th. In 2005 Utah picked 4th. 2006 saw Atlanta pick 4th and last year Atlanta was again the fourth worst team and they picked 3rd.

So since the adoption of the current method the fourth worst record in the NBA has once, second once, third twice, fourth four times, fifth five times and sixth only once. That means that the team with the 4th worst record in the NBA has never picked 7th since the creation of this draft system.

So what does this tell us? Nothing because each drawing is an unique event. There is nothing to learn from looking into the past with this system any more than you can determine the next flip of a coin by the preceeding flips. You know on average the team should have just under a 12% chance of picking first and only a 37.73% probablity of picking in the top 3 but every year a team that shouldn't make it seems to beat the odds.

Maybe this year is Memphis' turn.

BallHype: hype it up!

Links: It's Finally Over Edition

Bethlehem Shoals (SLAM Online) cranks up the QuoteMonger and delivers the goods once again. This was the funniest thing I read all day and it wasn't even close.

David Berri (Wages of Wins) forecasts the NBA playoffs and examines the nucleus in Memphis.

Indy Star: A bear of a first NBA season for Mike Conley

The Grizzlies lost the lottery position tiebreaker with Minnesota yesterday. C'est la vie.

Empty the Bench has 5 Questions with Hakim Warrick and Mike Conley, Jr.

Hoops Addict lists Javaris Crittenton among their Players with Upside. They also have a nice profile of Marc Gasol.

The CA follows up with some quality thoughts of their own on "The Other Gasol".

City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) has some good analysis of Rudy Gay.

You should let Mike Conley Jr. pick your bracket next year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Section of FedEx Forum stands collapse -- With Leather says that Barry Zito is to blame.

Current and former Grizzlies Mike Miller, Stromile Swift and Chucky Atkins participated in the DUBS auto show to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Check out Rudy Gay's new shoes - The Nike Viz Air

Remember way back at the beginning of the season when we gave our preview of the Grizzlies for CelticsBlog? Plenty of other bloggers gave previews of their teams, too. Well, now it is time to revisit those previews and see just how wrong we were and figure out where we went wrong.

NBA Reviews
Atlantic Division
Central Division
Southeast Division
Southwest Division
Northwest Division
Pacific Division

Ballhype Grades for the Previews

BallHype: hype it up!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Don't Hire the Movers Just Yet

The fellas over at Hardwood Paroxysm were good enough to send me the link to this post from Jon Burkett of Passion and Pride, a fine Philadelphia 76ers blog. I enjoy most of Jon's writing, but he made a huge error by continuing to espouse the theory popularized by's Bill Simmons that the Memphis Grizzlies should be the team that is moving, rather than the Seattle SuperSonics. *Sigh* I try and I try, but at this point, I just cannot be nice about it anymore. The video sums up my feelings on the subject quite succinctly.

You tell 'em Howard Beale!

Here's why the Memphis Grizzlies won't be moving to Seattle anytime soon (once again for the hard of hearing and absent-minded):

1. Iron-clad lease with the city of Memphis for the next decade. Really, this is reason enough, but I'll give you a few more.
2. Strong corporate support, despite lukewarm fan support.
3. New, state-of-the-art arena already in place, rather than still needing one to be built with taxpayers' dollars.
4. Unlike David Stern's apparent apathy towards the fine citizens of Seattle (or is that a reflection of their own apathy???), he is committed to the NBA remaining in Memphis. He wasn't nearly as definitive about the NBA in New Orleans, though.

In fact, let's talk about the New Orleans Hornets a little, shall we? If we're going to bring up a team that Clay Bennett should buy and move to Oklahoma City, why aren't the Hornets -- who have already spent time in OKC -- being mentioned as that team? Why not let Bennett and George Shinn switch franchises, move the Hornets to OKC and keep the Sonics in Seattle? Let's be honest -- the population of New Orleans has dwindled to the point where it is obvious that they cannot support two professional franchises. That's not a judgment of them -- just a cold, hard look at the facts. There are not enough people with disposable income to support two teams. I'm not trying to "rob" the Crescent City of their fantastic team -- as Burkett, Simmons and others are trying to do to Memphians -- just illustrating that there are other, more obvious teams to use as examples when seeking to "fill the void" that the departing Sonics will leave.

That brings up another interesting point. I have yet to visit Seattle, but everyone I know of that has been there has absolutely raved about it. So, I'm quite sure that it is a great city. I do find it curious that over the past 15 years, all three of their major sports franchises have threatened to move, with the Sonics apparently being the first to actually do so. I remember that playoff series between the Mariners and Yankees that "saved" Major League Baseball in the Pacific Northwest. I have seen the stands sway as the raucous crowd cheered on the Super Bowl bound Seahawks. I've seen the Sonics go deep into the playoffs on the backs of Payton, Kemp, Allen and Lewis. If the fans in Seattle really, truly wanted to keep their team, they would have made sure that they did what was necessary to make that a happen -- namely, funded a new arena. I've also seen the attendance numbers for the Sonics over the last few seasons.

That's why Memphis gets thrown in there at the whim of every writer with something to say, you know -- attendance. The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine had some interesting things to say about 3 of the 6 teams at the bottom of the attendance rankings:

Competition hurts some NBA teams.

Of the six teams at the bottom of the NBA pecking order, three play in some of the best college basketball markets in America — an issue the NHL doesn't have to deal with in nearly the same magnitude.

The Pacers average a league-worst 12,179 at an arena within 90 minutes of Indiana University (16,699 per game) and of West Lafayette, Ind., where Purdue draws more than 11,000 per game.

The 76ers compete with five Division I schools within the city limits of Philadelphia and also with suburban Villanova, which sells out every game at a 6,500-seat on-campus facility and averaged 19,928 in its first two games at the Wachovia Center.

And then there are the Memphis Grizzlies, who share a building with the No. 1 Tigers and come up 4,000 short at the turnstiles. And the way they're going this year, maybe that's not the only way they would lose to their co-tenants.
That's right Mr. Burkett, he brings up your own Sixers team among those at the bottom of the attendance numbers with competing high-level college teams in close proximity, drawing fans away. How about you worry about the team in your own backyard before you come down South looking to meddle with mine? The Memphis Grizzlies are here to stay.

BallHype: hype it up!

Final Power Rankings 4-14 to 4-16


Grizzlies average ranking of 26.
Some nice kudos that the franchise has a youthful, bright future.


Power Rankings for 14 & 15 April '08
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