Who should win the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery?

Karl-Anthony Towns

It is that time of year again. The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight. Who deserves to win it?

I like to imagine a world in which the draft order is determined by Davometrics – my balanced consideration of each franchise’s fan base, history, location, ownership, front office, existing talent and any other miscellaneous factors that I consider relevant.

I want the best young prospects (such as Karl-Anthony Towns, pictured above) to have the chance to develop in the best possible basketball environment: in front of sold-out crowds of educated, passionate fans who will appreciate watching them develop; for owners who are financially committed to surrounding them with the necessary talent; preferably in a large, thriving metropolis that offers a superior quality of life and great marketing opportunities.

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Takeaways from the first three nights of the NBA season

It’s the opening week of the new NBA season, which means the League Pass fest is in full effect.

Here are my screenshot-backed observations from the first three nights.

This Spurs employee needs a manicure:

Spurs ring

It is not clear who is holding the ring here, but to whoever it is: Come on, dude. You’re on national TV. Don’t look like a tramp.

The Lakers’ season is already over:

Julius Randle

Just when you thought the Lakers could not get any more depressing, Julius Randle breaks his leg. A devastating blow for the lad, and a clear cue for the Lakers to embrace being as bad as possible and maintaining their top-five protected draft pick. With Jeremy Lin running the point like this, it seems inevitable.

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Chris Paul and the stats/résumé disconnect: How great is CP3 really?

The statistics place Chris Paul among the absolute greats to ever play his position, but he is yet to experience their level of playoff success. How does he stack up against them given the gap between his stats and his résumé?

Chris Paul

Paul is a four-time All-NBA first teamer and the best pure point guard in the league whose skills are well known to anyone reading this blog. He is a true floor general and orchestrator of his team’s offense. He is a maestro with the ball, one of the best distributors in recent league history and a multi-faceted scorer. He is also a relatively good defender – though not quite fully deserving of his six All-Defense nominations, as I recently laid out here.

617 games into his career, Paul is putting up averages of 18.6 points, 9.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals on 47.2% shooting. A true stat sheet filler, he already has 297 double-doubles to his name.

Historically, he is amongst elite statistical company. He is one of just five players to amass 11,000 points and 6,000 assists over his first nine seasons, and he currently ranks first all-time in PER among all guards – not a tell-all stat by any means but one that demonstrates his all-round statistical brilliance. Moreover, only five players have ever averaged 21 points and 11 assists on at least 48% shooting for a season. Only two have ever done it more than once: Paul and Magic Johnson.

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1993 NBA Draft revisited: C-Webb, Penny, Van Exel & Co.

The ‘93 Draft produced no MVPs and only two All-NBA First Team selections, but was deep enough to yield seven All-Stars and a couple of huge post-lottery steals.

As was the case with the 1992 Draft, the first pick had the best career and two players picked outside of the top 20 had top-five careers.

Here are the top 10 picks, retrospectively re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Chris Webber (picked No. 1 by Orlando, traded to Golden State)

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831 games, 37.1 minutes, 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 47.9% FGs, 20.9 PER.

Best season: 2000/01 – 70 games, 27.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 48.1% FGs, 24.7 PER, 55-27 record, All-NBA 1st team, 4th in MVP voting.

Most memorable moment: Behind-the-back dunk on Barkley.

The Rookie of the Year, a 5-time All-Star and a 5-time All-NBA selection, Webber never quite fulfilled his otherworldly potential or won a championship, but remains one of the most athletic, skilled and best passing big men the game has seen. Over his prime seasons (’99 to ’03, his first five with the Kings), he averaged 24, 11 and 5, and came within a Robert Horry three of making the Finals.

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1992 NBA Draft revisited: Shaq, Zo, Spree & Co.

The ’92 Draft produced an all-time great (Shaq), a franchise player (Mourning), three other All-Stars (Sprewell, Guliotta, Laettner) and a 7-time champion (Horry).

As was the case with the 1990 Draft, the top two picks actually turned out to be the top two players – something that has not happened since.

Two players picked outside of the top 20 ended up having top-five careers – further evidence that there are always gems to be found outside of the lottery.

Here are the top 10 picks, re-ordered to reflect each player’s NBA accomplishments:

1) Shaquille O’Neal (picked No. 1 by Orlando)

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1,207 games, 34.7 minutes, 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 blocks, 58.2% FGs, 26.4 PER.

Best season: 1999/00 – 79 games, 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.0 blocks, 57.4% FGs, 30.5 PER, 67-15 record, MVP, Finals MVP.

Most memorable moment: Alley-oop dunk to seal the Lakers’ Game 7 win over Portland in the Conference Finals

An easy pick then and an easy pick now.

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Who should win the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery?

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The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery will be held tonight. This year’s draft class (featuring Andrew Wiggins, pictured above) is a particularly impressive one, so it is more important than ever that the lottery rewards the right teams. Here I rank the lottery teams in order, from most deserving to least deserving of winning the top pick.

The order is determined by Davometrics – a balanced consideration of each franchise’s fanbase, history, location, ownership, front office and existing talent.

I want to see the best young prospects in the world playing in the best possible basketball environment: in front of sold-out crowds of educated, passionate fans who will appreciate watching them develop; for owners who are financially committed to surrounding them with the necessary talent to win; and preferably in a large, desirable metropolis that offers superior living and marketing opportunities.

Bonus points for other reasons will be awarded to a team’s case wherever I see fit.

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Nick Young shoots the brick of the season

The Nick “Swaggy P” Young experience is an eventful one. He recently attempted a ridiculous 540-degree layup, and the next ill-advised shot is never far around the corner.

Last night, he put the cherry on the top of this brutal possession by wedging the ball between the rim and the backboard – a huge rarity on a 3-point shot:

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Howard’s post game still ugly, ineffective and over-utilized in Houston

The tutelage of Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston has had as much impact on Dwight Howard’s post game as that of Patrick Ewing in Orlando and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Los Angeles: none.

Howard is getting roughly the same number of post touches than he did in Los Angeles, and is still just as feckless at taking advantage of them. His go-to move, if you can call it such a thing, remains an awkward sweeping hook that sometimes goes in and sometimes careens straight off the backboard to the other side of the rim:

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