With the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching, everyone is brushing up on the Draft Lottery odds. The NBA's random, weighed process for assigning top picks to non-playoff teams always inspires a few people to toss around some conspiracy theories when the ping pong balls don't come out in their preferred combinations, but I'm decidedly not one of those people. After all, it's a random process by design. The league wants strategic losing to carry some risk -- even the worst team in the league only has a 25% chance of landing the top pick.
The ping pong balls don't know (or care) what happened to your favorite team last year. David Stern can't make his preferred four-ball combination appear on command, no matter how badly you wan't to blame him if things don't break in favor of your favorite franchise. A poor outcome in a previous lottery doesn't entitle a team or fan base to a better result this time around. In other words, the odds simply are what they are...and here they are:
2012 NBA Draft Lottery Odds
While some sites chose to create mock drafts before the actual NBA Draft Lottery order has been determined, I've decided to focus on the lottery itself to predict and analyze which ping-pong ball combinations will appear in which order and why it will happen. This is 100 percent serious analysis. Enjoy:
No. 1 Pick, Milwaukee Bucks (0.7% Chance)
This is a Milwaukee Bucks website. The Bucks get the No.1 overall pick because this is my dream and I don't believe strongly enough in the premise of Inception to allow anything to change my mind. Upon receiving the good news, John Hammond will either (a) fall off his chair or (b) immediately rip the Bucks logo off his podium and scribble out a "Drew Gooden Free To Good Home" sign to display for the cameras.
No. 2 Pick, Charlotte Bobcats (21.5% Chance)
Sorry, Rich Cho. The Bobcats don't get No. 1 (this is a Bucks website, dammit!), but I'm not a heartless bastard. #PrayForCardboardGerald
No. 3 Pick, Golden State Warriors (5.8% Chance)
I would love to see the pick fall outside the top eight just to find out what the Warriors would be willing to trade the Jazz in a proposal that I can't quite wrap my head around (apparently their initial leverage in the pick protection isn't good enough...), but how about a big jump for the tank-tastic Warriors to send the anti-tank crowd into a tizzy?
No. 4 Pick, Washington Wizards (17.1% Chance)
John Wall deserves better than what Ernie Grunfeld has provided him. Rashard Lewis is on the roster (he's so forgotten at this point that even the training staff leaves him to Google the impact of his most recent injury). Andray Blatche declared himself a team captain in a speech last season. When I say John Wall deserves better, the bar is pretty low.
No. 5 Pick, Sacramento Kings (26.1% Chance)
The Aloofs...uh, I mean the Maloofs are a disaster
waiting to happen in progress. As a Bucks fan, it makes me very sad to think about the entire situation with the Kings.
No. 6 Pick, Cleveland Cavaliers (4.0% Chance)
I like what the Cavs are doing. Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, cap flexibility and a top-six pick? Sounds like a good start to the post-LeBron era to me.
No. 7 Pick, New Orleans Hornets (1.2% Chance)
The Hornets can't drop any lower than seventh, but I'm hoping they hit rock bottom. Their Mr. Lottery Ball campaign -- where they personify their lottery odds as a single fat white guy who makes bad jokes -- makes me angry. Even if I overlook the fact that four-ball combinations are used to determine team identity in the lottery, the jokes are lame. If the Hornets move up in the draft, every team will follow suit as a cutesie marketing plan in the offseason. For that reason alone I hope there is nothing positive to associate with the campaign when the smoke clears.
No. 8 Pick, Portland Trail Blazers (4.0% Chance)
Good luck for the Blazers? Let's not be silly.
No. 9 Pick, Detroit Pistons (81.3% Chance)
The basketball gods are angry that Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn isn't involved in the lottery this season (the T-Wolves owe their pick to the Hornets), but here's to hoping Pistons GM Joe Dumars ignores the fact that he already has Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey and takes up the Kahn tradition of making a nonsensical PG pick. If you need a Kahn story to hold you over, here's a nice place to start:
!!! RT @MarkDeeksNBA: If Michael Beasley had started one less game last year, his qualifying offer would have been $4.1 million lower. Alas.— Steven von Horn (@StevevonHorn) May 26, 2012
No. 10 Pick, Toronto Raptors (0.8% Chance)
I still have no idea what the Raptors are doing. That's all I ever think about when the Toronto Raptors are mentioned.
No. 11 Pick, Portland Trail Blazers (90.7% Chance)
Landing the No. 11 pick from the No. 11 slot doesn't qualify as good luck, so I'm not worried about this projection. The analysis from the previous Portland pick still stands.
No. 12 Pick, New Orleans Hornets (0.2% Chance)
That's right New Orleans, I still don't like Mr. Lottery Ball.
No. 13 Pick, Phoenix Suns (96.0% Chance)
No. 14 Pick, Houston Rockets (98.2% Chance)
Even more boring.