Lottery odds factoring in?
As December approaches, time for Riley, Heat to consider playing for NBA draft
There was a point amid the Heat’s Jimmy Butler trade discussions when fans in the east end zone of AmericanAirlines Arena telephotoed images of Heat President Pat Riley and General Manager Andy Elisburg with their courtside monitors tuned to a Minnesota Timberwolves game.
Now the question is whether the next set of photos on social media show those monitors focused on Duke basketball.
Because winter is coming, the unexpected losses already are here, and the NBA draft lottery looms.
No, this is not the Heat discussion expected in late November 2018, but neither were the losses to the Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets.
In some precincts, the NBA race to the bottom already has been dubbed Tryin’ for Zion. In others, it could become Bottoming for Barrett or Collapsing for Cam.
And that’s just taking into account what Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils offer with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish.
At least at the top, the 2019 NBA draft appears as stout as any in recent years.
But this also is a season of change, and for more than the Heat’s unexpected firstmonth flop.
As part of the revision adopted by the NBA Board of Governors a year ago, the lottery math has changed. The race to the bottom now means only having to race to third worst, with the lottery participants with the three worst records all given an equal chance at the No. 1 pick, at 14 percent.
Beyond that, the first four selections, instead of the first three, now will be drawn in the random-butweighted process. What that means is that the team with the league’s worst record now could fall to No.
5 in the process, where the previous worst-possible drop was to No. 4
In previous lotteries, the No. 1 seed had a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, with the No. 2 seed at
19.9 percent and No. 3 at
15.6. Now it’s 14 percent across the board for those three seeds.
Ultimately, bad-as-better will remain the theme for those that have fallen and cannot get up.
In fact, if anything, the league’s revision may make the NBA more tank worthy, since all that is needed for the best odds is the league’s third-worst record, not the depths the Philadelphia
76ers accepted amid The Process.
And that could make the incentive stronger for late comers, teams that aren’t ready for a lottery reality at the moment, but might change their minds within weeks, depending on the bar set by current bottom runners Cleveland, Atlanta and Phoenix.
As a matter of perspective, 24-58 was good enough (bad enough?) for the No. 3 lottery seed last year. In 2017, it took 26-56. But in 2016, it required
In most seasons, outside of the depth (heights?) that Sam Hinkie took the 76ers amid The Process, the race to the bottom would happen organically.
Certainly not as much a focus in November or December.
But undeniably a focus in March and April, if not earlier.
That could give the Heat time to see how this all plays out, to see if there not only is such a thing as Dion Waiters but also such a thing still with Philly Cheese swag.
And yet, capped out until
2020 -- outside of the longest of longshots that Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson opt out of their contracts after this season -- there is something to be said about airlifting a Williamson, Barrett, Reddish into the mix in 2019, perhaps as the lure to an alpha free agent in
Until Tuesday night against the Nets, it all had seemed too preposterous. It simply is not what the Heat do.
And then reality stared back in the face -- no matter where the focus was on the monitors along the east baseline at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Already, the odds have become longer for the Heat to accomplish anything tangible in the standings this season.
Which is why it is not too early to at least familiarize with the new lottery odds, as well with what Coach K has brewing in Durham.
Could (or should) the Miami Heat again find a seat at the NBA draft lottery?Still on paternity leave when teammate Josh Richardson tossed his sneaker into the crowd during the loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, eventually fined $25,000 by the NBA, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he consoled Richardson upon his return. “I just told him, ‘Welcome to the $25,000 fine club. You’ve made it, son. And we’ve all been there before. So just move on.’ “Wade had been fined $25,000 by the NBA at the start of his 2016-17 tenure with the Chicago Bulls for a throat-slashing gesture after draining a decisive 3-pointer against the Boston Celtics. Wade said it was difficult to be away amid the Heat’s freefall. “It’s very tough. You watch J-Rich throw his shoe, you know the frustration,” he said. “And that’s what losing brings and it’s unfortunate that you can’t be there. I would rather be in the locker room when they’re losing, because that’s the time we all get to look each other in the eye and tell each other, ‘Hey, it’s going to be all right.’ “