Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As NBA lottery approaches, a "big night" for the Brooklyn Nets would be a statistical anomaly--and very good luck (or a conspiracy)

"Could be a big night for brooklyn nets," tweeted the ever-optimistic Brett Yormark, CEO of the Nets and the Barclays Center.

He's referring to the chance to land the first pick in the NBA draft, where the clear choice is 6'10" Kentucky star Anthony Davis. It's a longshot even for the team to get a pick, as the New York Post's Fred Kerber explains:
The Nets, who after losing a tie-breaker with the Kings would slot in sixth if form holds — and immediately surrender the pick — have a 7.5 percent chance to land Davis. They will keep their own pick only if the gods of fate decide to place them at one, two (8.33 percent chance) or three (9.36 percent chance). Anywhere else, and the pick goes to Portland through the Gerald Wallace trade.
So the Nets roughly have a 25 percent chance to get a top-three pick, which would be the sixth in their history. Their only pick at present is No. 57 in the second round.
League hopes and conspiracy theories

Then again, stranger things have happened. As the Post's Tim Bontemps wrote:
The NBA will be watching, as well, and maybe secretly hoping it works out that way, too. With the Nets making a highly publicized move to a new city and new arena, it would be far from a bad thing for the league to see a talent like Davis land in Brooklyn.
“With all things being equal, we’d love this team to get off to a good start,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said at last month’s unveiling of the Nets’ new color scheme and logos on the day they officially became the Brooklyn Nets. “We recognize that it’s a zero-sum game in terms of wins and losses in this league, so I don’t root for one team to have a win over another team.
I've heard a couple of people repeat what former star and TV commentator (and admitted conpsiracy theorist) Charles Barkley said last month: the league might be rigging the lottery to ensure that the Nets land Davis:
"I'm going to be very leery if Anthony Davis ends up in Brooklyn. You know, I'm going to be very leery because I know the NBA has a lot riding on that new arena, especially if Deron Williams leaves New Jersey. They didn't get Dwight Howard. I'm going to be very leery if New Jersey gets that number one pick."
There's no proof this has happened before, as Harvey Araton points out.


The importance of Brooklyn and some NBA fudging

In the Bontemps article, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver is quoted:
“For financial reasons, [Brooklyn’s] hugely important,” Silver said. “In fact, the team is projected to become a revenue sharing payer, instead of a recipient, which makes a big difference. Enormous credit goes to Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov, who are investing roughly a billion dollars in this new, state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn, which not only will be a fantastic venue for the NBA but will essentially be a community center, as well.
Well, it's sure no community center. Nor are Ratner and Prokhorov investing roughly a billion dollars. They are assembling funds from various sources, including green card-seeking Chinese investors and bondholders.

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