Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Danny Ainge would walk down the street in Boston and be told that his Celtics shouldn’t win too many games this season, that they should play for the draft instead, i.e. lose.
“It’s not just that I get tired of hearing it, but coaches that are trying to be their best, players that are trying to be their best — they’re hearing it. They’re hearing it every single day,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “There are too many arenas that I go into where there are no ‘fans.’
NBA Scrutinizing Proposal To Reinvent Draft-Boston Globe
I hear you Danny-I got sick of it myself. I was one of the guys who was adamantly anti-tank at the start of last season. But as things progressed (or regressed is maybe a better word) and it became evident the hometown boys were simply not going anywhere, I loosened up a bit. Sure, what’s the point in winning if it’s only going to hurt our chances at getting a better draft pick? Why go out and bust your ass every night when it really means nothing in the grand scheme of things? But one thing I simply could not bring myself to do was “root” for the C’s to lose. It just wasn’t in my make-up.
It’s an odd dynamic, rooting for failure, but it’s also the function of the NBA Draft lottery, which offers teams that finish with the poorest records the best chance at landing a top pick. Because of that system, teams can lose when they win, win when they lose, and fans who drool over top prospects cheer on defeats when it seems like their team has nothing else to play for except the promise of tomorrow.
Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren has a proposal out there to stop teams from tanking. Or at least stop them from gaining anything from throwing in the towel. It features a set order for future drafts, and a random selection for who will pick in the top 3. Zarren has always been a numbers guy, and was at the forefront of the whole analytics movement that basically took the NBA by storm over the last few years. So it’s not surprising that he is now behind what would be a massive and controversial change to the way NBA organizations draft. Teams would be assured a pick in the top six every so many years and also a top twelve pick.
“It would allow for more certainty in team decision-making; you’re not subject to the lottery, moving up or down; and it eliminates the fan perception that teams should be losing,” Zarren said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March. “I think those three are all significant benefits.”
Sounds fantastic right? Well not to everyone. Opponents of the idea do not like for one the way a draft like this would effect trades that involve future picks.
“Right now, throwing in a first-round pick in a trade is like gold because maybe it has a chance to be something,” said an Eastern Conference executive, “but if I’m going to throw in the 2017 first-round pick and I know for a fact that it’s going to be the 25th pick, that’s like dirt. I feel like the wheel idea, there’s too much transparency on how the first round goes.”
Zarren has been asked to not comment publicly on the proposal anymore, and nothing is imminent at this point. As a fan, I just can’t wait until I can start cheering for my team in games that actually matter again. Hopefully, tomorrow night’s draft lottery will at least get the Celtics started on the path back to the top. *crosses fingers*
The rest of the links: