Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hitting the Lottery Wall

As the time gets closer to following the bouncing ping-pong balls for the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night, we already know the chance each team in the lottery has for winning the first overall selection, and thus showing the money to the consensus No. 1 pick, Kentucky guard John Wall (above).

Based on their performance -- or lack thereof -- this season, the New Jersey-soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets have the best shot of securing Wall's services, 25 percent. The Minnesota Timberwolves are second (19.9 percent) with the Sacramento Kings third (15.6 percent).

The official NBA odds of each lottery club getting the first overall pick:

1. New Jersey / 25.0 percent
2. Minnesota / 19.9
3. Sacramento / 15.6
4. Golden State / 10.4
5. Washington / 10.3
6. Philadelphia / 5.3
7. Detroit / 5.2
8. LA Clippers / 2.3
9. Utah / 2.2
10. Indiana / 1.1
11. New Orleans / 0.8
12. Memphis / 0.7
13. Toronto / 0.6
14. Houston / 0.5

OK, fine. But during my morning ritual of exploring ESPN.com, I found a page that simulates the Lottery, and with a click of the mouse reconfigures the ping-pong ball combinations that make the Lottery results. I decided to make my own sample of 100 Lotteries and played 100 times. Yes, I do have a life, but not to worry -- it only took a few minutes; try it yourself at:


What I found was that while the first four spots played pretty true to form, there was a bit of rejockeying of positions beginning with the fifth spot. While the Washington Wizards have the fifth-best "official" chance at nailing down No. 1 (5.3 percent), my sample had the Detroit Pistons in that spot, which came up nine times (9 percent).

The woebegone Los Angeles Clippers, the Rodney Dangerfields of the NBA, can't get a break in my sampling, either. They have the eighth-best "official" chance at 2.3 percent, but their logo didn't show up once in my 100 tries. It was interesting that the Utah Jazz (ninth, 2.2 percent), Memphis Grizzlies (12th, 0.7) and Toronto Raptors (13th, 0.6) never came up, either.

Conversely, the New Orleans Hornets (11th, 0.8), popped up three times (3 percent) and the Houston Rockets (14th, 0.5) made one appearance (1 percent).

My unofficial odds of each lottery club getting the first overall pick, based on playing ESPN's NBA Lottery mock draft 100 times:

1. New Jersey / 22 percent
2. Minnesota / 20
3. Sacramento / 17
4. Golden State / 14
5. Detroit / 9
6. Washington / 7
7. Philadelphia / 6
8. New Orleans / 3
9. Indiana / 1
10. Houston / 1
11. LA Clippers / 0
12. Utah / 0
13. Memphis / 0
14. Toronto / 0


Thanks to my old high school friend and faithful blog reader Steve Conklin for pointing this out -- remember all the talk at the end of the NBA regular season about the Celtics and Doc Rivers parting ways? Funny that after the Celts' vanquishing of LeBron and the Cavs, all that talk has vaporized? It was Doc himself who once famously said, "When you win, you're a genius, and when you lose, you're an idiot." Lots of high IQ scores for Doc and the C's these days ...

On the flip side, not so high praise for Claude Julien and the Bruins (OK, so I was wrong about the B's). That loss is going to sting Boston for a long, long time. At least my personal quest for an all-Original Six Final is still alive, so I'm rooting hard for the Hawks and Habs.

No comments: