The What-If Game: 2012 NBA Lottery

06.30.11 8 years ago 7 Comments

What’s up y’all? I believe K Dizzle and JAY have been asking the question for a while now: what happens to next year’s lottery if the entire season is cancelled? Forgetting that it’s a LONG way off, it’s still an interesting argument. Who gets the No. 1 pick? Do they re-run this year’s order? Do they redo this year’s lottery odds? Do they do something completely random and probably inexcusable?

I tried to answer it this weekend, but in reality there is no definite answer because the NBA hasn’t made a decision. You can’t blame them. No matter how dire the CBA situation looks right now (and it looks pretty bad), it’s not in Stern‘s best interests to all of a sudden start talking about what happens if the entire season goes bye bye.

So nothing’s definite, but there are some theories out there. In a recent chat, Chad Ford wrote:

Word from the league is that it’s to be determined. Not sure how they’ll go about it and neither do they. I think everyone on both sides hopes that they’ll be, at the very least, a shortened season. Losing the whole year is a devastating scenario for both sides. But if they do lose it, I think they could have a lottery for the entire league. Give odds based on projected records for 2011-12. And let the ping pong balls fly.

Ford isn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar – he once said, “What sets Darko apart is his toughness in the post” – but we will give him the benefit of the doubt.

But imagine having a lottery for the ENTIRE league? How insane (could be good insane or bad insane) would that be? Let’s play the What-If Game (don’t kill me)…

-What if Miami somehow defied the odds and landed one of the top picks (although this might not happen because Cleveland has the right to swap picks w/ Miami in 2012 as part of the LeBron trade)? They could draft Anthony Davis or Perry Jones or Patric Young, either pair him with Chis Bosh for a super athletic, super wiry frontcourt, or they could just trade Bosh for even more assets, like say a serviceable PG and another future top pick. Or better yet, what if OKC landed the No. 1 pick and then had the rather disturbing question on their hands of “Wait, should we take ANOTHER young, athletic, potential All-Star player if we already have like three or four? Or should we swap this thing for two great vets, two ring chasers, two more draft picks & bundles of cash?” That would be scary.

-What if Dallas found it’s way into the top 3 or 5? Imagine that team with a Harrison Barnes or an Austin Rivers or a Marquis Teague? It would prolong their run, extend Jason Kidd and Dirk‘s careers and have Cuban kissing Stern on national TV.

-How bad would fans in Cleveland or Toronto or Charlotte feel if any of their teams got screwed over and landed in the 20s in a draft that – while it may have undeniable star power at the top – actually doesn’t have great depth? That would set them back another three years, missing out on Barnes or Myck Kabongo to instead land Alex Oriakhi.

-What if any of the older contenders (Lakers, Spurs & Celtics) ended up in the top 10 or even in the top 2 or 3? Someone out of Duncan, Kobe, Pierce/KG/Allen gets a big, unexpected boost to their ultimate resume because that team suddenly is right back at the top of the contenders with a great chance at more titles.

If they ever went this route and did an outsized version of the lottery with every team in the league, I bet we would get two or three top playoff teams that would somehow buck the system and get a top 10 pick in what is shaping up to be a loaded draft class. It wouldn’t seem fair, but it’s always inevitable with the lottery: someone would get screwed.

Just something to think about…

What do you think? Would this be the best way to handle things if the situation ever came to be?

Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.

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