Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Presently, the NBA team with the worst record can drop no lower than No. 4 from No. 1, but the NBA’s currently proposed legislation could allow that team to drop from first to fifth in the lottery, league sources said. This would include a domino effect through the lottery, where the second-worst record presently dropping no lower than fourth, could fall to sixth. Then, the No. 3 team could drop as far as seven, and on down, league sources said.
Currently, the teams with the three worst records have an ascending chance of winning the No. 1 pick, including (No. 3) 15.6 percent, (No. 2) 19.9 percent and (No. 1) 25 percent.
The NBA’s proposal would flatten those odds, and give the three teams with the worst record the same percentage of earning the No. 1 overall pick, league sources said. Now, the worst record to the fifth-worst record has a gap of 25 percent to 8.8 percent, but new legislation would tighten that difference significantly, league sources said.
Another idea born out of the Competition Committee itself that could gather support, league sources said: No team can pick in the top three of the draft in consecutive years. For example, if Minnesota wins the No. 1 pick and drafts Karl-Anthony Towns, it can pick no higher than No. 4 in the next lottery. For now, that idea is outside of the league office’s proposal but is expected to be considered in the upcoming committee meeting, sources said.
Decades ago, the first pick was determined by a coin flip between the worst teams in each conference. If you were lucky, like the Bucks in 1969, you won the flip and got Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, future all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. (Unlucky coin flip loser Phoenix got Neal Walk, 7,157 career points.)
After Houston won the flip two straight years (netting Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson), the league realized teams might be tanking. Shocking! So the NBA lottery was born in 1985 – but despite revising the process several times, the league has never quite gotten it right. Unless you think Cleveland winning three times in four years is “right.”
The new potential changes would indeed make it more difficult to score big with the lottery, so it’s fortunate this didn’t come up three years ago. Danny Ainge’s Nets pick strategy would probably have not paid off so handsomely under the proposed new system. Also, if the new odds are implemented, the final Brooklyn asset might become less valuable than expected. But that’s Cleveland’s problem now.
Something that remains to be seen is how any new rules will affect traded and protected draft choices. The Celtics acquired the Lakers’ 2018 pick, but will get it only if it lands between second and fifth in the lottery. The Cs selected third in each of the last two drafts, so what would happen if the L.A. pick lands at second or third? Would the league consider that the Celts’ high draft positions were not the result of tanking?
We need clarity. Stay tuned.
On Page 2: Not sticking to sports
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts co-signed a preseason letter to the league’s players encouraging them in the pursuit of social consciousness.
In the letter, obtained by ESPN, Silver and Roberts told the players, “None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”
It’s interesting that this news broke a few hours before the kickoff of the NFL season (I, umm, missed the score, anyone know?). For the past year, many NFL players have followed the lead of Colin Kaepernick, protesting police treatment of African-Americans by kneeling during the National Anthem. Now the NFL is losing fans to boycotts on both sides of the situation – those who agree with the quarterback and those who disagree.
The NFL hierarchy and team owners haven’t really known how to react. And when asked yesterday why Kaepernick, a free agent, has not been signed by any team, commissioner Roger Goodell had a stupefying response.
The NBA is different. It seems like a long time since anyone said, “I’m not a role model.” Instead, NBA leadership is now formally recognizing that its players and coaches are adults who are not required to stick to sports. They have every right to speak out on social issues and human rights, so kudos to the league for supporting them.
Now, I’m not sure it’s wise for Dennis Rodman to take on brokering world peace, but if he is successful, athletes will never be told to “stick to sports” again.
Related: SB Nation – The NBA is encouraging player activism while the NFL is struggling with protest
And, finally: Leftovers from the press conference
Chuck already posted coverage of yesterday’s Cavs’ press conference, but here are a few leftover observations.
The Rest of the Links:
MassLive – Jae Crowder says Boston Celtics acquiring wings was ‘concerning’: ‘They showed me what they wanted to do’ | Jae Crowder told his mom about trade from Boston Celtics to Cleveland Cavaliers minutes before she passed away | Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury: Still plenty of questions after Cleveland Cavaliers press conference | Nick Galis, 2017 Basketball HOF inductee and Red Auerbach’s ‘only big mistake,’ has no regrets
The Ringer – No Small Wonder: What’s Next for Isaiah Thomas?