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The Orlando Magic weren’t done. After earlier trading Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, and Mickael Pietrus, and a first round pick for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Earl Clark, the Magic made another blockbuster move.
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This time they traded Rashard Lewis, who was never quite the same after serving a ten game suspension for a substance abuse violation to start last season.  After averaging 18.9 points over an eight-year span from the 2000-2001 season until the 2008-2009 season, he is averaging 13.6 points in his last 97 games.
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Lewis joins a crowded group of swing players in Washington with Al Thornton and Josh Howard, who just made his season debut. I don’t see the deal helping his fantasy value.
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Meanwhile Gilbert Arenas will likely have a diminished role as he joins the likes of Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

NBA Lottery Rant

19 May 2010

nba-draft-lottery

 

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.

Usually I oppose David Stern and his tyrrant ways, but this time I’m on board. He has suspended Gilbert Arenas indefinitely for the gun incident (see ESPN for story).

With all the violence going on in our country, especially in Washington D.C., the Commissioner had no choice but to react quickly and decisively. Ironically, the Wizards used to be known as the Bullets.

What should fantasy owners do? Unfortunately you’re going to have to wait this one out. He still has a ton of talent and until you know the extent of the suspension you have to keep him on your bench. Nick Young becomes and attractive option if you have a spot available.

Hopefully you’re going deep into your fantasy playoffs.  If you are there are a few situations around the league to keep your eye on.

The Bad Teams
If you have any Golden State Warriors players on your fantasy team, you know where I’m going with this.  Don Nelson is making it a point to play some of his younger players.  Corey Maggette, Andris Biedrins, and Jamal Crawford have been given healthy nights off in order to try his younger players.  If you’re in a daily league you can make adjustments, but if you’re in a weekly league it’s almost impossible to play any Golden State players.

The Toronto Raptors could put Shawn Marion in that category if they don’t feel The Matrix is in their long-term plans.  He’s a free agent after this season.  The Raptors may also shut down Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, who have battled through minor injuries this year.   They both played in the Olympics for their respective countries and could use a little R & R.

Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards could be a shutdown candidate.  He’s dealing with a hamstring injury now, and he could easily be given the last week off.

The Good Teams
This concern isn’t just limited to the bad teams though.  Once the good teams are locked into their seed, they can start to rest up before the playoffs.  The Cleveland Cavaliers are a likely candidate.  They maintain a solid lead over Boston and Orlando, and they could start reducing the minutes of LeBron James, Mo Williams, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  If Boston or Orlando can get some separation from the other, both teams could rest some of their stars.  Kevin Garnett is working to get his legs under him so he should be fine, but Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo could see reduced workloads.  Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, and Rashard Lewis  could experience that for the Magic.

The Los Angeles Lakers are running away with the West and have a deep bench.  Kobe Bryant, Paul Gasol, and Lamar Odom could see a reduction of minutes.  With Kobe essentially out of the MVP race, that won’t be a factor in keeping him in the lineup.  Two through eight in the West is pretty tight so those teams likely won’t be able to rest up.

Keep these things in mind as you set your lineup for your championship run.


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