Tag: Vince Carter

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The conspiracy behind the NBA draft lottery


I dislike conspiracy theories.

I’m not some tinfoil-hat wearing lunatic raving about the Kennedy assassination, moon landing and Elvis’ true whereabouts. These are delusions, poor excuses for paranoid people to attack the establishment.

That’s not me.

But as much as I dislike conspiracy theories, I absolutely detest those in power preying on the powerless.

And, I’m sad to say, that’s what David Stern did for years and Adam Silver continues to do with the NBA draft lottery.

The lottery is fixed. I’m 100% certain. No doubt. Absolutely positive.

I won’t attempt to prove this with anonymous sources or innuendo. I’m a stick-to-the-facts kind of guy.

  • Fact: The actual lottery occurs in secret for no good reason. The NBA could end all the fixing accusations by simply showing the actual drawing in front of the cameras.
  • Fact: In the last three years, the New Orleans Hornets Hornets (14.8%), Cavaliers (1.7%),Cavaliers (15.6%) andhave gotten the No. 1 pick. The odds of that happening? Just 0 .4%. Are you really falling for something that has just a 0.4% chance of happening?
  • Fact: I have predicted the winner before each of those lotteries. The NBA always fixes it for the most obvious team.

Three years ago – before the lottery – I wrote:

The NBA no longer owns the Hornets, but is still committed to keeping them in New Orleans. With their arena improvements needing approval of the state legislature in July, the Hornets could ride the Anthony Davis buzz and ensure there are no hitches. The league spent a year-and-a-half trying to sell the team without finding a buyer, so maybe Tom Benson needed a No. 1 pick thrown in the deal. David Stern has also meddled in the Hornets’ business before, in the Chris Paul trade. Davis would help Eric Gordon, and therefore Stern’s reputation, because Stern was the one who handpicked Gordon for the Hornets rather than taking the Lakers’ offer.

Of course, New Orleans got the No. 1 pick and Davis.

Last year, again before the lottery:

Stern desperately wants to create a Cavaliers-Heat rivalry to boost rankings, and to do so, he must make the Cavaliers better. Dan Gilbert remained loyal during the lockout, and especially after LeBron became the worst example of players seizing control from teams, Stern will reward Gilbert with a second No. 1 pick.

Yup, Cleveland got the No. 1 pick and Anthony Bennett. (The NBA can lead a team to a the top pick but can’t make the team pick someone worthwhile.)

Last year, I wrote before the lottery:

I don’t know what Dan Gilbert is blackmailing the NBA with, but it sure works. Two No. 1 picks in three years is unprecedented in the current weight setup. Gilbert tried showing restraint on his golden goose, exercising his ability to get a top pick only every other year. But now, the Cavaliers owner is getting desperate. He traded for Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes and still couldn’t make the playoffs, and Anthony Bennett sure deserves a mulligan. Gilbert will cash in again.

Obviously, Cleveland got the No. 1 pick and Andrew Wiggins.

I’m no Ivy League genius. I can’t just magically predict something that has a 0.4% percent of happening. The only reason I knew how the lottery would unfold is because the NBA always gives the top pick to the most obvious team.

Every. Single. Year.

The lottery winner is always the team that the NBA has incentive to give the No. 1 pick.

So, who will get it this year? It’s painfully clear.

Here – regardless of the what the NBA will tell you – are the true lottery odds:

Minnesota Timberwolves

Odds of winning the lottery: 25.0% 100%

The NBA wants to tap deeper into the Canadian market. See the league’s flirtation with Montreal. Marketing the Raptors would have been the easy route, but they’re fizzling. The next-best option: Selling Andrew Wiggins, a native Canadian and budding superstar. That gets easier when the Timberwolves get better. (That they also have Canadian Anthony Bennett and Vince Carter’s closest dunking heir apparent, Zach LaVine, only helps.) The NBA will give Minnesota the No. 1 pick and gain a huge following across an entire country.

New York Knicks

Odds of winning the lottery: 19.9% 100%

The NBA literally invented the lottery to give the Knicks the No. 1 pick, Patrick Ewing in 1985. The league likes to claim it’s financially viable without a strong team in New York – which is true. But methinks the NBA protests a bit too much. This isn’t complicated. Better team plus larger market = more profits. The NBA isn’t interested in merely being viable. The league wants to maximize profits, and that’s why the Knicks will get the No. 1 pick.

Philadelphia 76ers

Odds of winning the lottery: 15.6% 100%

The 76ers have won. They’re a black eye on the league, their tanking an annual embarrassment. The NBA tried to alter the lottery format, but Philadelphia successfully scared off enough teams from changing the rules. So, the league has no choice but to give the 76ers the No. 1 pick and end their “rebuilding” process as quickly as possible. Plus – and it’s easy to forget now that the team has put itself in the pits – Philadelphia is a major market.

Los Angeles Lakers

Odds of winning the lottery: 11.9% 100%

The Lakers are the NBA’s best brand, and the league must protect it. Even in these last two dismal years, the Lakers have gotten many nationally televised games. The NBA needs that to continue, but for it to be viable, the Lakers must be better. A good Lakers team essentially has license to print money. That’s why the NBA is sending the No. 1 pick to Los Angeles.

Orlando Magic

Odds of winning the lottery: 8.8% 100%

LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the only players in the last decade to make the All-NBA first team and then leave their team that offseason. The Cavaliers got three No. 1 picks after LeBron left, and New Orleans got one after Paul. Now, the NBA  will get around to compensating the Magic for losing Dwight Howard. This is the NBA’s most important – and most secret – strategy for achieving competitive balance.

Sacramento Kings

Odds of winning the lottery: 6.3% 100%

Nearly a year ago, Sacramento approved funding for a new arena – for a Kings team that has now missed the playoffs nine straight seasons. Why? Because city officials knew the Kings would be rewarded with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

Denver Nuggets

Odds of winning the lottery: 4.3% 100%

The Nuggets’ attendance dropped from last season to this season by 2,199 fans per game – a bigger fall than every other declining team combined. Denver needs the jolt of a No. 1 pick, and increased revenues will follow. The NBA is well aware how this works. The biggest attendance jump from last season to this season? The Cavs, who won the last two and three of the last four lotteries.

Detroit Pistons

Odds of winning the lottery: 2.8% 100%

Not long ago, the Pistons led the NBA in attendance. Now, they rank near the bottom of the league. A suburban arena makes it easy for Detroit fans to ignore the Pistons when the team is struggling. The Knicks and Lakers play in bigger markets, but they’re cash cows regardless. Giving the Pistons the No. 1 pick will maximize the NBA’s overall revenue.

Charlotte Hornets

Odds of winning the lottery: 1.7% 100%

The NBA desperately wants to market Michael Jordan as an owner, but lowly Charlotte had to take steps before that was viable. The team rebranded to the Hornets and secured funding for arena upgrades. Now, the league will uphold its end of the bargain – the No. 1 pick. As long as Jordan doesn’t mess this up like Kwame Brown, Charlotte will become one of the league’s trendiest teams. That’ll move shoes.

Miami Heat

Odds of winning the lottery: 1.1% 100%

The Big Three era is over in Miami, but the Heat’s success the previous four years drew incredible attention. Some of Miami’s new fans followed LeBron to Cleveland, but many still cheer for the Heat – for now. These are not people with deep-rooted ties to basketball. If the Heat continue to struggle, these fans will move onto other forms of entertainment. So, the NBA will give the Heat the No. 1 pick and retain a huge number of fans who might be lost otherwise.

Indiana Pacers

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.8% 100%

Paul George’s comeback is such a feel-good story. A star player seriously injured himself while selflessly representing the Red, White and Blue. Then, he worked his way back quicker than anyone expected. The perfect next chapter would be a playoff berth – which gets easier if the Pacers get the No. 1 pick. The NBA knows people would rally around that narrative. Patriotism and perseverance sell. Wrap both into one narrative, and this has amazing potential.

Utah Jazz

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.7% 100%

There is no reason for the NBA to fix the lottery for the Jazz… which is exactly why they’ll win. The league wants to fool those who are catching onto the the lottery being a charade. What better way to do that than give a team like Utah the No. 1 pick? This is year the to do it, because there’s no historically elite prospect (not even Karl-Anthony Towns), and the next tier of players (Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay) is relatively close. The NBA will give the Jazz the No. 1 pick, allowing its premier franchises to still draft good players and throwing gullible fans off the scent.

Phoenix Suns

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.6% 100%

The Suns repeatedly playing well and missing the playoffs is a bad look for the NBA. Goran Dragic’s unhappiness and forced trade could bring this issue to the forefront, and the league hopes to avoid that. The NBA wants to keep its current postseason format, which creates an easier road to the playoffs for larger East Coast markets, without disruption. So, a small token to Phoenix – the No. 1 pick – is worth it. That will keep people from asking too many questions about why the Suns keep outplaying Eastern Conference teams and missing the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.5% 100%

The Thunder are the NBA’s model small-market franchise. Whenever someone brings up the advantages held the biggest markets, the league can point to Oklahoma City. The team is excellent, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are marketing giants. That all unravels if Durant leaves in free agency in 2016. So, the NBA will give Thunder the No. 1 pick in an attempt to convince Durant to stay with them.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.0% 100%

These guys always win.

So, there you have it. In case you can’t remember after the lottery winner is revealed, check back here to see why it was fixed for that team. Then, tell everyone you know why the NBA just had to have that team win the No. 1 pick.

Deep-shooting Warriors reach first conference finals since 1976 by eliminating Grizzlies

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is the NBA’s best shooter, maybe ever. He broke his own single-season 3-pointer record this year, and it’d be surprising if he doesn’t break it again. More than anything, that outside shooting made him MVP.

His range seems limitless.

Yet, he’d never made a shot longer from farther 43 feet in the NBA.

In the final moments of the third quarter in Game 6 against the Grizzlies on Friday, Curry picked up the loose ball and fired a 62-footer.


Curry and the Warriors are going further than they’ve been in years –  a 108-95  win over Memphis sending them to their first conference finals since 1976.

Golden State will host the Rockets or Clippers – who meet in a Game 7 Sunday – in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Curry, who scored 32 points on 8-of-13 3-point shooting and dished 10 assists.

The Warriors got off to a sizzling start, making 11 of their first 14 shots – including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc – to take a quick 15-point lead. The Grizzlies never led, but they cut the deficit to one in the third quarter.

Then, Curry’s long 3 helped Golden State extend its lead back to 15.

“There was a lot of – ‘Big Mo’ we call it – to end that quarter and keep the momentum on our side,” Curry said.

Momentum is definitely with the Warriors. After trailing Memphis 2-1, they won three straight to take the series in six games.

And as far as six-game series go, this was decisive. The Grizzlies won their two games by 7 and 10. Golden State’s wins came by 13, 15, 17 and 19.

This series shouldn’t take away from the Grizzlies’ fine season. They were good enough to advance further under better circumstances. Instead, facing the NBA’s best team, most of the breaks went against them.

Marc Gasol (21 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and five blocks) was exhausted by the time he checked out late in the fourth quarter – perhaps for the final time with Memphis, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Mike Conley played 39 minutes despite being banged up even beyond his facial injury. A hurting Tony Allen struggled through five first-half minutes and didn’t play in the second half.

It’s impressive Memphis kept up with Curry, Klay Thompson (20 points), Draymond Green (16 rebounds) and the deep Warriors as long as it did.

After the game, Vince Carter hung around even longer. Carter – who played with Stephen’s dad, Dell Curry, on the Raptors –waited until Curry finished his on-court interview and then hugged the Golden State star.

“You got this far, man,” Carter said. “Keep it going.”

Tony Allen says he’s 60% heading into Game 6, ready to compete

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three

After sitting out Game 5 due to a hamstring injury, Tony Allen said he’d play Game 6 of the Warriors-Grizzlies series.

Despite not being full healthy for tonight’s contest, the Memphis guard isn’t backing down.

Allen, via Marc Stein of ESPN:

“Our season is on the line,” Allen said. “I’m ready to go out there and compete.

“I want to be in this battle with my team.”

Asked to estimate how close he is to full strength, Allen said he rates himself at “60 [percent] maybe.”

Memphis, trailing 3-2, depends on Allen to take turns guarding Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. That’s no easy task fully healthy, but it’s even harder with a sore hamstring.

Plus, Golden State effectively neutralized Allen in Game 4 by “guarding” him with Andrew Bogut, who actually just patrolled the paint and left Allen open on the perimeter. Allen’s jumper was shaky enough that the Grizzlies had to pull him. A counter could be Allen darting around the court to set screens. But, again, that doesn’t sound like the ideal task for someone with hamstring problems.

Even a hobbled Allen should help Memphis, which was forced to depend more too much on Jeff Green and Vince Carter in Game 5. But the Grizzlies lost by 19 points. Can a hobbled Allen bridge that wide a gap?

Memphis’ best hope might be Allen’s toughness and resolve inspiring his teammates to play better.

Tony Allen out for Grizzlies-Warriors Game 5 tonight

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr effectively took Tony Allen out of Game 4 with a daring adjustment.

Now, a hamstring injury is taking Allen out of tonight’s Game 5.

Grizzlies sideline reporter Rob Fisher:

Allen came up big in Memphis’ Game 2 and Game 3 wins, but the Warriors effectively neutralized him in Game 4.

Golden State trusted Harrison Barnes to defend Zach Randolph, and “guarded” Allen with center Andrew Bogut. Bogut mostly sagged off Allen to patrol the paint, and Allen shot just 2-for-9, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers, in 16 minutes.

Without Allen on the court to cover them, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had an easier time operating. Now, the Splash Brothers should get that advantage over a full game.

Larger roles for Jeff Green and Vince Carter could boost the Grizzlies’ offense, but I doubt it outweighs the defensive drop-off. Memphis probably can’t keep up with the Warriors if the game becomes a shootout.

Allen contributes greatly to the Grizzlies’ toughness and defense, traits key to upsetting the Warriors. Though Memphis still has Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, it’ll be an even steeper up-hill battle tonight.

Vince Carter still has hops, shows them off on putback dunk (VIDEO)

Vince Carter

It wasn’t exactly vintage Vince Carter who showed up for Game 5 of the Grizzlies and Blazers, but he was a guy making some plays. He was diving on the floor at points, bringing some hustle (and nine points) to Memphis off the bench.

And he had one nice putback dunk off a Zach Randolph miss.

Carter helped spark the 99-93 Memphis win advancing them to the next round. The Grizzlies are going to need more — and more vintage — Carter in the next round against the Warriors.