Start your engines, the race is full on for the 2017 draft/lottery.
The annual NBA race to the bottom 2017 has entered the stretch run already post all star break.
The 2017 draft is universally regarded as a DEEP draft so the incentive to get a lottery pick is arguably higher than it is in the average NBA draft year. Sure there's no Lebron, Shaq, Duncan type #1 price at the top. Fultz isn't quite ranked in that guaranteed super star tier of those players but the depth of draft means teams have a lot of reason to want to get one of the potential stars in this lottery at positions 1-7 and then there is still possible star quality at 8-14 to finish out the lottery.
The depth of the lottery is another reason more big trades didn't occur at the NBA trade deadline. Adding to that the new CBA made the draft picks, especially for potential star players, even more valuable. Teams now have a much better chance of keeping their young drafted stars for the long-term.
Very few NBA teams were interested in moving a 1st round draft pick let alone a lottery pick. Even DeMarcus cousins couldn't pry the top pick away from Boston and they had to settle for 1 1st rounder from the Pelicans.
So while the NBA playoff race gets most attention as it should, the NBA race to the bottom is going just as strong.
Some quick observations:
- The pre-lottery biggest winner is already set and it is the Boston Celtics courtesy of the mighty Brooklyn Nets.
No one is going to catch the Nets/Celtics for the best lottery winning odds and ranking order, not even the mighty legendary:
- LAKERS! Lakers unlike most of the other contenders for the lottery already made their decisive move to ensure that they would give themselves the best chance for lottery success. Magic Johnson wasted no time trading away Lou Williams and the legendary Lakers have a proud 6 Game Losing Streak as they have moved solidly into 2nd place for the lottery prize.
- Phoenix is probably the only team that could potentially catch the Lakers and move them down to 3rd place in the race. That would be huge for the Sixer's chances of landing LA's top 3 protected pick but hang it up Philly, the odds are going to be 55.8% in favor of LA keeping their pick according the current standing below. The Suns didn't get the memo about the tank race and they're going the other way on a 2 game win streak as the Lakers lock in the percentage rewards for their tank operation.
- Orlando & Philly and all of the teams from #4 until almost the end of the lottery are tightly bunched up so that 1 game can change positioning several places and a 3 game winning streak can totally drop a team out of the top 10 within a few days.
- MIA went from a top lottery contender just a few weeks ago to a playoff race contender. Dallas is another team that seems to want to fight more the playoffs more than the lottery. Good for those teams showing some serious basketball integrity and respect for the game.
- Outside of the Lakers the other team that made the most blatant tank race move is the SAC Kings. Trading away their best player made sense when you realize that they needed to race down into the TOP 10 losers in order to avoid giving up their 1st round pick to Chicago!
Most of the talk is about how Vlade Divac got fleeced in the Cousins trade but they fail to mention how the Kings have went from giving up their lottery pick by keeping Cousins to now KEEPING their lottery pick because of the Cousins trade. It was a little scary for Vlade when the Kings won their 1st game without Cousins but now Divacs tank race move is looking great as the Kings have recovered with a nice 3 game losing streak!
They Kings have raced from losing their pick at #11 to now keeping their pick at a healthy #8 position in the 2017 Tank race. Nice work Vlade!
- Looking over the standing, even with the draft in sight, most of the NBA teams are still playing for wins rather than losses. That'll probably change a little when it gets down to the last few games of the season but mostly players and coaches will play to win till the end. RESPECT!