Wednesday's 2012 NBA Draft Lottery will determine who
David Stern loves most will win dibs on Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson ... and who will face ulcer-forming decisions like "can we straighten out Andre Drummond?" and "Harrison Barnes is a better pro than college player, right?" As such, this is a Big Deal for NBA team bloggers; what happens on Wednesday sets the course of discussion for the next month. Fans of the lotto winner will start planning 2016 championship parades. Fans of the No. 4 squad will brace for civil war.
In other words, this is the best time of year to blog about a bad team.
We asked bloggers from the lottery teams to give us their rationale as to why their teams deserve to win the lottery and escape the bloodshed of draft talk. These are their responses.
Should the Golden State Warriors be rewarded with the No. 1 pick? While the fans certainly deserve something to cheer for, Nate Parham of Golden State Of Mind isn't sure the franchise is worthy.
The Warriors clearly deserve the top pick for 60 reasons already articulated beautifully by Bill Simmons.
Of course, that could also be used as 60 reasons why the Warriors don't deserve nice things ever again.
Instead of making a case for his own Utah Jazz, Amar from SLC Dunk makes a case against the Warriors!
All of the teams deserve the No. 1 pick -- EXCEPT the Golden State Warriors, whose abject and naked tanking should never be rewarded. The Warriors were capable of beating current 2012 Western Conference playoff teams regularly, but could not climb above a certain high water mark -- around the No. 10 or No. 9 rank. Even after the All-Star break they were within the Western mix, and in better position than the Jazz (who did make the playoffs).
But instead of fighting they traded for injured players, sat their best players, and even goaltended last-second shots by the opposition to ensure losses. Their dishonorable, cowardly actions go against everything fairness, sport and competition stands for. All this tanking because they did not want to live up to the terms stipulated in a previous trade -- where an honest effort at winning by 'State would have meant another team got their pick this year. The Warriors did not give their team, their players or their fans a fair effort this past season. Their cheating should not be rewarded with lottery luck.
Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys has a pretty uplifting argument for the Detroit Pistons.
If there truly are basketball gods, they should be smiling on the Detroit Pistons for the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery. Why? Detroit's ninth lottery placement belies just how difficult this season was -- instead it reflects how hard the Pistons fought until the very end.
The 4-21 start in Detroit was worse than those numbers indicate. After pacing the Bobcats for the worst record in the league, Detroit ultimately figured it out and ended up ninth in the lottery standings. But those 21 losses to start the season were worse than they appeared. Despite standing ninth in the lottery, Detroit matched Washington for the fifth worst margin of victory in the league. The pain for the Pistons was worse than the standings suggest, as the team tallied demoralizing loss after demoralizing loss.
After that 21st loss, the Pistons started figuring things out. While the schedule helped, the change was undeniable. After that 4-21 start, Detroit played .500 ball to finish the season.
When Detroit was finally playing playoff-caliber basketball, the rest of the lottery teams were figuring out how to lose. Toronto, Cleveland, New Jersey, and Golden State were all ahead of the Pistons in the standings at the trade deadline. They all leap-frogged Detroit on the gold rush of lottery-driven losses. Should they be rewarded for their failings, or should the basketball gods honor the team that went down to the lottery fighting its hardest in years?
Does Detroit need to win the lottery as bad as the Bobcats? No. Does Detroit deserve to win the lottery? Absolutely. It may go against common thought to reward a lottery team for winning, but the lottery was designed to prevent losing strategies. For a team so riddled with bad contracts, bad decisions and a rocky recent history, I think it's about time they deserve a break. And can you imagine a better pairing for Anthony Davis than Greg Monroe? Basketball gods, are you listening?
The Toronto Raptors' case presented by Raptors HQ's Adam Francis is dead simple: it's all about need.
Put it this way. The Raptors deserve the top pick in the draft; they certainly aren't getting top talent through free agency any time soon.
In response to the question about why the Portland Trail Blazers deserve to win the lottery, Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge simply responded: "Greg Oden." Ben's partner-in-crime Dave Deckard added a couple more chits.
Having Greg Oden not work out was like thinking you're a zillionaire lottery winner then having the IRS claim all your winnings for taxes. Losing Brandon Roy was like them taking your firstborn child as well. Now the Blazers are in the soup line. Please, sir, can you spare a third pick? Anything?
The Phoenix Suns' odds are long, but Bright Side Of The Sun's East Bay Ray has a compelling case nonetheless.
The Phoenix Suns deserve to win the lottery because few team fanbases have seen their team erode from contenders to complete mediocrity as Suns fans have. We deserve a star dropping into our laps after seeing Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire leave for greener (with dollar bills) pastures. Surely, the Suns have generated plenty of good will from fielding a team in the mid to late-00s that brought excitement, fun, scoring and team basketball back from the iso-heavy teams that had come before it, right? Anthony Davis to the Suns would propel them right back to contention, put Steve Nash back on the national stage, attract a big-time free agent, and the NBA would have another marquee team to compete with the likes of the Thunder, Spurs and Heat. As an added bonus, those who have been making up crazy "Nash to team X" scenarios for the last year or so would possibly see their heads explode that Nash will finish his career in Phoenix, on a contender no less.
Besides, shouldn't teams be rewarded with good luck when they at least attempt to field a playoff team instead of tearing everything down and delivering to their fans the product that was the 2011-2012 Bobcats? Come on, ping pong balls, win one for the anti-tanking crowd!
The Washington Wizards received a double dose of justification. First, from Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog, who is of good enough heart to wish for the 'Zards to have luck on their side.
I'd like to see the Wizards win the lottery (again). They are at least trying to build the right way -- through the draft. They want very badly to follow the OKC model but haven't had the luck/scouting to build much beyond John Wall. But they do have the intelligence to discard unwanted personalities and move on quickly from past mistakes instead of hanging on to them. A nucleus of Wall, Nene, and Unibrow Davis would be a very good start.
SBNation.com's Andrew Sharp appreciates the help, but takes a different tack:
I fully expect Stern to rig this for either New Orleans or Brooklyn, and if not them, Charlotte has an airtight case. But Washington deserves the pick because this isn't just one bad year we're talking about. It's 30-plus, with two- and three-year glimmers of hope interspersed ... then crushed in the cruelest way possible. The Wizards are the Warriors and Clippers, only the past decade or so has been twice as bad for us. Even good things feel like they're just delaying the inevitable at this point. For instance: they looked great with Nene for a second there at the end, but given the past for both him and us, I'm pretty positive Nene's knees will just explode at some point over the next 18 months. And then what? John Wall and Jan Vesley take over the league?
Think back to Kwame, Michael Jordan, C-Webb-for-Mitch Richmond, Jerry Stackhouse, Gilbert's knee injury, Randy Foye instead of Ricky Rubio, locker room guns, and then the last few seasons, when JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche were LITERALLY FRANCHISE CORNERSTONES. The last 10 years have broken my will to expect serious Wizards success now, soon, or ever.
That means we're due for a little luck, right?
The Milwaukee Bucks have a minuscule chance of leaping up to No. 1, leading BrewHoop's Frank Madden to turn to sarcasm at my expense!
The Bucks deserve to win the lottery because only Anthony Davis could erase the pain of trading away Jimmer's draft rights last year.
John Salmons is not going to be pleased when he reads this.
Should the Cleveland Cavaliers get another No. 1 pick? Conrad Kaczmarek of Fear The Sword thinks so.
The Cavaliers deserve to win it because I guarantee that the city of Cleveland has built up enough good karma over the years. For a city that knows nothing but heartbreak, the quick turnaround of adding Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving would be so incredibly un-Cleveland, that I think the fans would pass out. It'd be amazing for a passionate, yet depressed fan base and I think ESPN could find a way to work LeBron James into the storyline, so that'd be fun for them.
Also, Nick Gilbert is the freakin' man.
Tim Allen of Canis Hoopus went ahead and made the New Orleans Hornets' case since one of the Hornets' two lottery picks is actually the Minnesota Timberwolves' pick.
The Wolves definitely do not deserve the No. 1 pick, which is why New Orleans is going to get it this year with the Wolves' pick.
You'd expect my sappy case for the Sacramento Kings to be ... well, sappy. We did just watch the Maloofs (the only NBA owners too broke to spend David Stern's money) railroad the first feasible Sacramento arena plan in a decade to keep their options open. We are embroiled in the league's second longest active playoff drought. We haven't moved up in the draft since 1989 -- seriously, 1989 -- despite being in the lottery 14 times since then. (That 1989 luck turned into Pervis Ellison.)
No, none of the sap. I asked my friends at Sactown Royalty to give me the best case to pass on to The Basketball Gods. AnotherStupidSN delivered.
The Kings need the number one pick because the universe needs balance.
Life often seems chaotic, but on a grand scale the laws of nature are continually gathering pieces of an ever-growing puzzle, revealing purpose and clarity to those who take the time to see it. Waves cannot exist without the troughs between them; roots must burrow into the earth for sprouts to soar into the sky. Universal harmony requires that every yin must have its complementary opposite yang. Every DeMarcus Cousins must have its Anthony Davis.
Cousins, an offensive force of pure tact and skill, is a conundrum in his own right. He is simultaneously a brutish bully and a delicate artisan. His heft is both an asset and a restraint. His rebounding is rough and sharp as the coarsest stone; his jump shot and post moves as soft and pretty as wispy clouds.
Davis, a once-in-a-generation defensive prodigy, is a wondrous physical specimen of pure athleticism. He is all arms and instincts. He rarely seeks his offense, but when it finds him it is straightforward and efficient. His manner is as even-keeled as his defensive playmaking is devastating.
These men are two halves of frontcourt nirvana. Their talents combine to bring peace to the Kings' universe. They are root and stalk, and we shall enjoy their bountiful harvest for many seasons to come. But it is not only the on-court production that meets in perfect harmony. Demarcus Cousins has eyebrows that match his offensive skill: elegant, graceful, and balanced.
Anthony Davis is, again, the complementary opposite.
Bring balance to the universe, Basketball Gods. Bring the Kings the number one pick. Bring us The Brow.
The Bobcats deserve to win the lottery because the fuck y'all know what I've been through? Y'all see that fucking season? Y'all see the #HoopIdea shit I've had to deal with? The 'could Kentucky beat the Bobcats' dumbfuckery that continues? To see a parade of ignoramuses say in hindsight they knew what Charlotte should have done? To see a stupid movement to bring the Hornets name back gain momentum and those people acting like they'd watch every game this season and support the name just because of the Hornets name?
Fuck it all.
The Charlotte Bobcats should win the draft lottery because they are the Charlotte Fucking Bobcats, goddammit.
It's hard to argue against that.
The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery happens at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Follow our StoryStream for full coverage. Vote on which team has the most convincing case below.