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How The Draft Lottery Reshaped The NBA Landscape

How The Draft Lottery Reshaped The NBA Landscape

neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): So we simply witnessed what our pal Zach Lowe referred to as the “wildest lottery ever.” The Zion-Williamson-to-the-Knicks (or its less-heralded cousin, Zion-to-the-Lakers) hype practice gained a ton of steam when each groups have been revealed to be within the Prime four … after which it crashed and burned on reside TV because the Lakers ended up at No. four and the Knicks at No. Three.

Guys, take me via every of your experiences and feelings as you noticed what unfolded.

chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): I feel we noticed instantly how loopy this new lottery system has the potential to be. By flattening out the worst groups’ odds of profitable, you get a better chance of one thing like final night time enjoying out. It was insane on the precise lottery right here in Chicago. There have been these monumental gasps once they introduced that the Bulls have been going to select seventh, the Suns have been going to select sixth, and the Cavs have been going to decide on fifth.

natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I used to be at a reasonably good Italian restaurant with a pal who doesn’t actually like basketball, and I made him pull out his telephone together with my telephone simply so we might see who had the quicker livestream. Sadly, this restaurant had a number of wooden paneling or one thing that was inflicting the sign to be fairly weak. Anyway, the livestream reduce out proper when it appeared just like the Knicks could be shut out of the Prime four solely, then it got here again on they usually have been within the Prime four, after which proper after that they acquired the No. Three decide. As dumb because it sounds, the expertise of getting my expectations lowered made the No. Three decide appear so much higher as a quasi-Knicks fan.

Additionally, we ordered pasta for dessert, which individuals ought to attempt.

tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): My fingers and toes have been crossed from the time Boston’s 14th decide was introduced. I began leaping up and down on my sofa and screaming someday between Phoenix’s sixth decide reveal and Cleveland’s fifth. There was a second throughout that window that I assumed 14 % actually meant one thing like 98 %, and I used to be prepared to purchase my Zion Knicks jersey.

chris.herring: Hahahahaha. Brutal.

neil: Our colleague Chad Matlin had an excellent expertise as properly that he granted me permission to share:

“a small anecdote from brooklyn final night time: I’m strolling house from dinner down Flatbush Ave and a person seems half a block behind me and begins violently screaming one thing, however I can’t fairly make out what. he retains screaming. I solely catch snippets. “FUCKING!!!” “ALL!!!” “LOSING!“”” this goes on for 90 seconds as he crosses road aimlessly, screaming the identical factor time and again. I lastly piece it collectively: “ALL THAT FUCKING LOSING FOR NOTHING!!”

And that’s once I came upon the Knicks didn’t win the lottery.”

Suffice to say, feelings have been operating excessive right here in New York.

chris.herring: LMAO

natesilver: I had run the numbers beforehand, and the No. Three decide — in a draft the place there’s a transparent drop-off between Nos. Three and four — is barely above the anticipated worth for the Knicks decide. Even in case you assume Zion goes to be reaaaaaaaaaaaly good, a 14 % probability simply isn’t that prime.

chris.herring: On some degree, the lottery course of and unveiling is absolutely, actually difficult for the typical individual — even for me — to comply with together with in the event you aren’t targeted on a single workforce and the place they’re ending up.

tchow: Yeah, Chris, within the hysteria final night time, the graphics on TV actually performed a trick on me: That they had the Prime four picks in particular person blocks on prime, whereas 5 via 14 have been listed under as they have been revealing the picks. Because the blocks have been getting crammed in, you noticed the Lakers, then the Grizzlies after which the Pelicans, and I went, “Holy shit, we obtained No. 1!”

chris.herring: One group being slotted decrease than you anticipate is beneficial info, however it’s exhausting to know precisely who it advantages till there are solely two or three groups left.

Rachel Nichols was explaining it in actual time, however it nonetheless takes a scorching second or two to register what all of it means, due to the decide swaps and protections, and so forth.

neil: It’s type of unimaginable that so many people dedicate time to watching the revealing of the outcomes of pingpong balls based mostly on chances, which every have obscure caveats (protections, and so forth), and it truly makes for compelling TV. The NBA is superb.

natesilver: Perhaps they need to reveal it one decide per day at a time over the course of the playoffs, type of like an creation calendar.

Consider all of the alternatives for #content material.

chris.herring: I’m nonetheless type of shocked that New Orleans ended up getting it. Makes an enormous distinction for them going ahead. All this time, analysts have been suggesting that they make a cope with the workforce that wins the lottery for Anthony Davis. Now they’ve the No. 1 decide AND Anthony Davis.

neil: And David Griffin stated their huge precedence is convincing AD to remain now. Is that possible?

chris.herring: It doesn’t appear probably the most possible to me. You’d love for him to vary his tune on that, however stories recommend that he gained’t. It’s extremely dangerous to gamble on the hunch that he’ll.

natesilver: I feel Zion may make it extra doubtless that AD is traded, if something

As a result of now the franchise has one thing to play for and promote hope/tickets for, even with out AD. So any state of affairs the place they’re simply being tremendous cussed and determined might be off the desk.

chris.herring: You don’t know whether or not Zion alone can be sufficient for them to make an enormous bounce within the subsequent yr, which is what you’d have to really feel higher about letting Davis check free company.

natesilver: New Orleans was one among simply three groups to win the lottery that was neither undeserving, nor boring, nor annoying. In order that was a win in my guide.

tchow: Nate, I disagree with a lot of that Venn diagram.

natesilver: Haha

neil: As an Atlantan who additionally as soon as labored for the Hawks, I assume I’ll take “principally OK.”

chris.herring: Neil, I’m positive die-hard Hawks followers have been disenchanted final night time. Basketball individuals appear to universally really feel that may’ve been his greatest match.

Did you all see the video of Williamson hitting the Hawks emblem twice earlier than the lottery started?

neil: SO many individuals have been taking a look at that!

tchow: It should have meant one thing!

neil: NBA conspiracies are the most effective.

chris.herring: It appeared which may have been his choice.

tchow: Are you able to think about all of the “it’s rigged” individuals if the Hawks did find yourself getting No. 1 after the brand double faucet?

chris.herring: Can’t keep in mind too many individuals WANTING to go to Atlanta, however I truly hoped he’d find yourself there after that.

neil: 😢

tchow: Zion with Trae Younger is actually intriguing.

But when we’re enjoying alternate universes and what-ifs, can we play “what if Zion did go to the Knicks?” Neil thinks proprietor James Dolan would have someway messed it up anyway. I disagree.

neil: Proper, my take was all the time that he must be comfortable he didn’t go to the Knicks. Every part that franchise touches goes to spoil.

tchow: However he might have modified that, Neil!

chris.herring: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting fairly adamantly that the Knicks wouldn’t have traded him. So it looks like they might have moved ahead with him, after which gone into free company capturing for the celebs.

natesilver: I feel it will have been dumb to commerce him. Like, extra dumb than individuals understand. When you think about the contracts, and that the Pelicans don’t rally have a lot leverage, I feel you’ll be able to even argue that Zion straight up is TOO MUCH for AD, with out all the opposite belongings that the Knicks have been more likely to should throw into the deal. However, anyway, I assume we don’t have to fret about that now.

chris.herring: I agree. You’re going to need and wish cost-controlled contracts for if you get different stars, anyway. Having Zion would let you do this.

tchow: Is it fallacious of me to assume that that is much more proof that the lottery was rigged? Like, the outcomes have been a lot the exact opposite of what you thought a “rigged” one would seem like that it’s virtually too reverse. Am I making sense? Like, the outcomes appeared to be what somebody would produce to show that one thing wasn’t rigged when it truly was.

natesilver: Tony I feel you’re overthinking this only a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit.

chris.herring: LOL

neil: In fact, they did invite a few of this rigging hypothesis by having Patrick “Frozen Envelope” Ewing there to characterize the Knicks.

chris.herring: As somebody who’s been within the room, it’s not rigged. They go to nice lengths to let individuals watch it. And make the precise course of obtainable on YouTube shortly after.

I feel the variance goes to be actually wild going ahead due to how they’ve flattened out the chances for the worst few groups, although. And truthfully, it is going to make it extra enjoyable and heartbreaking.

tchow: I do know it’s not rigged. However……

Simply kidding

neil: However yeah Chris, I needed to ask about that. Did we see the dying of tanking final night time?

Take a look at how a lot the outcomes on the prime differed from the rating so as of worst data:

natesilver: I imply, that’s how the system is meant to work, proper?

neil: Nicely, I’ve all the time thought these tanking groups underestimated the luck concerned within the lottery. Even beneath the previous system.

chris.herring: Final night time’s consequence was in all probability about as strong as you possibly can hope for from the league’s perspective if that’s the message you needed to ship. That being terrible provides you a greater probability however under no circumstances ensures you the easiest — and even second-best — decide.

tchow: Huge win for Mr. Silver. (Adam, not Nate.)

natesilver: And it’s not just like the Knicks have been categorically totally different than the Cavs, Suns or Bulls. They have been simply higher at tanking. No. Three is a relatively good end result vs. the remainder of that group.

BTW, somebody ought to verify the lottery ball codes to see what the outcomes would have been underneath final yr’s system.

neil: Yeah, it’s bizarre to think about the Knicks as “winners” final night time. However issues might have been worse.

chris.herring: The Knicks have been the one group with the perfect lottery odds that didn’t fall out of the highest 4!

natesilver: I actually don’t get the losers speak, and I feel it goes to point out how individuals’s intuitions about chance aren’t excellent.

tchow: 14 % means 100 %, Nate!

natesilver: Individuals have been treating it like 60 % or one thing, I swear.

neil: Knick followers’ expectations are all the time out of whack with actuality, although… (This can be a franchise that wins just like the Mets however acts prefer it has the pedigree of the Yankees.)

tchow: Neil, that is an NBA chat.

chris.herring: I’m on document saying that I really feel like the typical Knick fan expects dangerous issues to occur.

neil: Perhaps it’s extra the New York media than rank-and-file followers, Chris.

natesilver: This does depart open at the very least the tantalizing risk of buying and selling for Anthony Davis. If the Knicks do need to make a play for AD, this is likely one of the higher situations for them. There’s nobody who can commerce Zion to the Pels since they have already got him! The No. Three decide might be similar to one of the best single asset that the Celtics and Lakers can supply. And if the Knicks get Kyrie Irving, perhaps the Celtics don’t even attempt to get AD anyway.

The Lakers do have the No. four decide, however no less than based mostly on the scouting consensus, there’s an enormous drop-off between Three and four. We’ll see if the Pelicans agree with that or not.

chris.herring: I truthfully don’t have a way of what the Pelicans would like at this level.

The Celtics would clearly be in play, based mostly on their younger expertise and the draft picks they’ve. The Knicks simply received the No. Three decide and have two picks they received from Dallas within the Porzingis commerce. Although these picks might find yourself being lower-end ones, relying on how the Mavericks are sooner or later. After which there are the Lakers, who simply landed the No. four decide, plus all the blokes they reportedly provided in February for Davis already.

So it’s a mixture of which gamers the Pelicans like, plus how they worth the notion of future picks that may doubtless be decrease within the draft, versus larger ones they might make use of proper now.

natesilver: 🔥 Enjoyable scorching take: RJ Barrett might be the brand new Carmelo Anthony. Excessive-volume, medium effectivity, good rebounder, mediocre effort on protection regardless of good athleticism. 🔥

tchow: Wanting on the totally different mock drafts, it does appear to be there’s a consensus on Prime Three (Zion, Ja, RJ in that order) and the fourth decide is instantly the place you begin seeing disagreements.

neil: Which I feel speaks to how few really elite picks are on this draft class, Tony.

chris.herring: Completely agreed.

neil: However the Lakers can’t complain an excessive amount of. They solely had the 11th-best odds happening, so even shifting as much as fourth in a three-star draft is one thing.

chris.herring: On Tuesday I walked previous Gar Forman, from the Bulls’ entrance workplace, and he had a reasonably grim look on his face after the group completed No. 7. Thought it was noteworthy that the Bulls’ John Paxson all however acknowledged that with a decide that low, the workforce was extra more likely to commerce for a veteran versus making it work with a rookie.

It’s much more of a crapshoot outdoors of the Prime Three.

natesilver: We do know that the Pelicans didn’t just like the Lakers’ pu pu platter again in February. And that was earlier than Brandon Ingram’s DVT analysis. Though additionally earlier than David Griffin took over, so perhaps not as related now.

chris.herring: There are a number of choices now for New Orleans. Lots of people have been questioning out loud, too, whether or not getting Williamson may make the Pelicans extra more likely to discover a deal for level guard Jrue Vacation, who might assist a ton of groups as nicely.

tchow: Chris, Paxson additionally had one other fairly optimistic outlook on the outcomes that I hadn’t considered final night time:

John Paxson: “My thoughts instantly went to the truth that three of the highest 4 are going out West and New York didn’t get No. 1. In order that’s one thing in our favor.”

— Okay.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) Might 15, 2019

chris.herring: Yeah, that quote infuriated Bulls followers right here. It learn like one thing out of The Onion.

tchow: LOL

neil: Do the Pels have kind of leverage in an AD commerce now than they did on the deadline?

natesilver: Weirdly, they’ve much less, as a result of there’s nobody who can commerce them Zion!

chris.herring: Precisely. Doubtless much less leverage however extra flexibility when it comes to the trail they take, since they will really feel fairly snug about constructing their future round him.

natesilver: Are individuals too assured that Memphis will take Ja Morant and never RJ Barrett? They each have one obtrusive flaw (Morant: protection, Barrett: capturing), and traditionally, you’d relatively go together with the man who can repair his capturing than a man who might be too undersized to ever be an amazing defender. Barrett’s additionally virtually a yr youthful.

Simply to point out how a lot a yr can matter, examine Morant’s stats this yr vs. final yr:

neil: And the way does both have an effect on the place Mike Conley goes? They have been buying him fairly aggressively on the deadline however didn’t discover the best deal.

natesilver: I don’t assume Memphis has any enterprise retaining Conley both means.

chris.herring: I’m interested by that query, too.

natesilver: And I’m unsure it impacts their decide a lot. If you would like Ja, you possibly can maintain him and use Conley as a mentor if you’d like.

chris.herring: Memphis is likely one of the smaller markets within the league, and due to that, I feel they perhaps maintain on to gamers a yr or two longer than they need to. Maybe due to the ties these followers really feel to sure gamers.

Morant is seemingly ok the place you draft him after which work out the reply to that query with Conley later.

natesilver: The Grizzlies have traditionally been a bit allergic to high-usage-rate guys, and each Barrett and Morant use loads of possessions, so in some methods neither one looks like a pure Grizzly.

chris.herring: Morant is a superb passer, too, although, and averaged a double-double with assists. So I’d hope they make an exception on this case.

tchow: If I have been the Grizzlies, I’d take RJ.

chris.herring: Wow. Knick followers would love should you turned the Grizzlies’ GM.

natesilver: The factor that’s actually onerous to venture with Barrett is his protection. Numerous the comparables are fairly unflattering as a result of individuals need to typecast him as Andrew Wiggins 2.zero, perhaps simply because they’re each Canadian. However Wiggins was regarded as a man who was going to be a plus defender, and he’s been fairly darn horrible as an alternative. If Barrett’s an excellent defender, although, you begin stepping into an entire totally different set of comps, extra alongside the strains of Jimmy Butler (if he tamps down the utilization fee a bit) or Victor Oladipo.

neil: Simply goes to point out how a lot protection — which I feel can go missed for prospects at occasions (and is troublesome to foretell out of school) — can actually alter a participant’s professional trajectory. This, from ESPN’s mock draft on Barrett, sounds prefer it’s ripped out of the Wiggins scouting report: “he wasn’t the defender his bodily instruments recommend he ought to have been.”

chris.herring: In equity, Morant’s protection isn’t all that nice, both. That’s a part of what makes the No. 1 decide really easy, amongst different issues.

natesilver: Barrett was a a lot better rebounder, which counts for one thing. A a lot better and extra lively passer. And he was utilizing a ton of possessions, which typically yields decrease effort on protection. And Duke performed a really robust schedule.

I don’t know. If Barrett had shot 38 % from three as an alternative of 31 %, I feel individuals can be speaking about him and Williamson prefer it’s … I don’t know, the Kevin Durant/Greg Oden draft or one thing. And naturally, you possibly can’t simply disregard the distinction between 38 % and 31 %. However he’s a reasonably spectacular prospect if he learns learn how to shoot.

chris.herring: It’s so arduous to inform in school. The capturing is considerably predictive. However even when he had shot 38 % this yr, I feel there can be room to ask whether or not it was utterly actual.

I keep in mind Justise Winslow capturing a reasonably wholesome proportion from on the market throughout his lone yr at Duke, however so most of the makes got here with Jahlil Okafor being doubled within the publish, which left Winslow wide-open a number of the time. After which he initially struggled from three as soon as he got here into the league, which was what many people predicted.

natesilver: The low free-throw proportion is troubling for Barrett.

Like, Jayson Tatum — a man who’s been a a lot better Three-point shooter as a professional than individuals thought — shot free throws fairly darned properly in school. Barrett didn’t.

chris.herring: Utterly agreed. That tends to have strong predictive worth.

neil: It’s additionally value remembering that Barrett was truly the No. 1 prospect in that star-studded class going into their freshman seasons. However I’ve seen research that point out the load given to even one yr of school ought to far outweigh our priors for prospects popping out of highschool.

tchow: This chat is simply turning into a dialog about how Duke gamers carry out within the NBA.

chris.herring: Appears truthful to me:

tchow: Out of RJ, Zion, Winslow and Tatum, who’s the most certainly to additionally consider the Earth is flat?

natesilver: New Orleans is extraordinarily flat, so I’m guessing it is going to be Zion after a couple of years.

Take a look at our newest NBA predictions.