Bucher: Likeliest NBA Draft Formula to Include Three-season Aggregate

For months, regarding the team-by-team order within the 2012 NBA Draft, the hard line has been that the league would cross the bridge as it was approached.  Today, with recent news that the league owners have arbitrarily applied a labor agreement deadline for Wednesday of this week, what was thought to have been a hypothetical is becoming more of a reality: there may not be a 2011-12 NBA season.

The Cavaliers, boasting two top-five rookies, may not get to suit up. The up-and-coming Thunder may not get to continue their ascent.  The aging Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers may be running out of time to repeat as league champions.  But where would this leave all 30 teams come this summer when it comes time to convert amateurs to professionals? Would we get a repeat of last year’s order, or at least lottery odds? ESPN’s Ric Bucher provides some color on the matter, most of which is not good if you’re a fan of the Cavaliers.

“[The] likeliest NBA draft order formula if no season,” tweets Bucher, “three seasons aggregated for order, then lottery for worst 14 [teams].  Slightly weighted in other ways.”

A quick compilation of the records through the last three NBA seasons, two of which conveniently placing the Cavaliers at the very top with 60-plus wins, places the Wine and Gold 22nd among all teams with 146 wins and 100 losses.

Naturally, though the league is comprised of 30 teams, the narrative turns to that of the Cavaliers versus the Heat. In a shortened season, or one which would entertain years prior to the 19-win disaster of 2010-11, there is a possibility that the evil Heat could wind up with a better draft selection than the deserving Cavs. As penned at WFNY roughly one month ago (you know, pre-trend), the Cavaliers acquired the right to switch with the Heat in the event that such an atrocity would occur.  The downside here is that the Heat, if we use the three-year aggregation, are slotted exactly one position behind Cleveland; both teams would be essentially grouped in with the Bulls, Blazers, Mavs and Spurs – the only problem is that one of these teams wouldn’t quite belong.

 Sure, it would be quite stick-it-to-the-man if the Heat were to land a top-five pick and Dan Gilbert had the opportunity to waltz up to the hopper and scribble his name on the Miami placard.  But in the event that the situation above comes in to play, the best hope that Cleveland could be looking at is a marginal move from, say, 22 to 15.  Additional salt is added into the wounds when the Sacramento Kings slot in second within said weighted system, essentially rendering any chance at acquiring their lottery-protected pick, acquired in the JJ Hickson-Omri Casspi trade, usless at this stage.

As much as fans want to shove the entire labor impasse in the players faces, chanting verbage echoing apathy and preferring season cancelation so that millionaires have to wait another season before continuing to add to their bankroll, the best case scenario continues to be one of play.  The sooner Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson can become acclimated with Byron Scott’s offense the better.  The sooner the disagreement drops the “dis” and teams can populate their team-owned facilities, getting in shape and being under the tuilage of NBA training staffs, the better. And the sooner that these 30 teams can get back on the hardwood, fans in seats or not, allowing play to dictate next season’s draft order rather than a Google-like algorithm, the better.

  • **bobby**

    Let it burn….

  • mgbode

    this is just one theory based on the NHL model. it’s complete conjecture at this point because the owners and players have yet to even discuss such a thing at this point (since it requires the season being cancelled and noone wants to be labelled as already having that in their mind)

  • Lyon

    That would be a major kick in the jewels. Cavs getting to pick 22nd b/c we were good in the past & now have about 3 players from that team.

    That would majorly set our development back I think

  • Emjay

    The folks in charge aren’t completely stupid, right? The way in which the Cavs would be screwed by such a proposal is obvious, right? So even if they went this route, they’d find some way to accommodate the Cavs’ situation, right? Right? They would do that, wouldn’t they?


  • Swig

    I hope it’s not just homerism, but I really hate this idea. It works for teams that are consistently good or bad, but it’s rewarding teams on the upswing, and punishing teams on the downswing. I’d rather see a BCS type compilation.

    College Hockey uses a raking system where more recent games are weighted more than distant games. It would still hurt the Cavs, but it makes more sense than a straight up aggregate.

  • Matt

    So does anyone else have the problem where this story doesn’t appear on the main page in Firefox, but does in IE?

  • Matt

    Hmm, just appeared in Firefox but with 0 comments. Curious.

  • http://exiledclevelander.wordpress.com AMC

    This scenario would be an absolute disaster for the Cavs in every conceivable way. For the Cavs to be shut out of the lottery for a draft that will be one of the most stacked in years despite having the league’s second worst record the last time a season was actually played could set the franchise back years. If this is the direction it goes, Scott is absolutely right – the Cavs are far better off if a partial season is played so that they can stink again and earn a high draft pick.

  • Shamrock

    That’s what happens when you go from first to worst – take your medicine and like it! 😉

  • MacNip

    I am perfectly fine with the Cavs getting the 15th pick if it means that system adjustments were put in place so all this superstar holding teams hostage and teaming up together crap is put to bed.

  • jimkanicki

    if there’s no season, it will be because a group of small-market owners –led by jordan/charlotte, allen/portland, kohl/milwaukee– can’t live with even a 50-50 split so long as the current player movement issues are not addressed.

    if that group has the strength to scuttle the season, you can be sure they have enough power to ensure mickey arison drafts somewhere 25 or higher.

  • christopher

    yawn……wake me up when actually decide how to draft, not when Bucher posts and article on how he “thinks” they will do it.

  • Nipsey22

    Good read…..I just hope it doesn’t happen. From what I have read and heard from the press, Dan Gilbert has become one of the leading voices of the owners during this lockout. If we happen to get to the point where this season is cancelled, I would expect, once again, for Dan Gilbert’s voice to be one that is leading the charge and that this described scenario will NOT become a reality. “In Gilbert We Trust”.

  • Harv 21

    Can imagine Gilbert protesting that sort of draft formula: “we’ve cancelled games in part to keep the stars from leaving and imploding franchises like ours, but the next draft will punish us further and reward Miami again despite their tampering.”

    But objectively for the rest of the league, I can’t think of a fairer way to decide draft order. They aren’t going to make a Cavs/Heat exception if it’s generally fair, especially if we have the rights to snag any lottery pick Miami gets.

  • natedawg

    Since there are so many smart people out there, isn’t there a +/- on wins or pts that a player contibutes to a team? Why not factor this into the equation depending on the current roster. This should help Cleveland out. You would think that for the most part, teams would be parting with people who are contributing negitavely to the team, not the ones who are helping the team out. Then you add in the effect that the teams have from loss of FAs.

  • architrance

    Great that this is just speculation, because that is an absolute ludicrous method of determining draft order. Drafts are always based on THE PREVIOUS YEAR’S RECORD – WHY MAKE THIS ONE DIFFERENT??? The minute you arbitrarily mess with draft order, someone is going to be complaining, they are safest if they just keep the order the same.

    The Cavs have already been especially screwed by the labor dispute in that they didn’t get to use their trade exception AND they reached rock bottom and had 2 picks in the top 5 in a year when most of the best amateur players stayed in school because of the uncertainty of the labor problems.

    Good grief.

  • jimkanicki

    just watched derek fisher. he isn’t close to getting it. he still thinks theyre a union. theyre not. theyre a cartel. they can set a price for their product. but they have to deliver consistent product.

    wouldn’t it suck if cleveland got 70octane gas and miami gets 200octane?

    shut it down. shut it down. shut it down.

  • Shawn

    Ahh, another terrible writer from ESPN thinking HIS idea is grand. Au contraire! No way this holds water.

  • saggy

    i think this is a wonderful chance for the league to turn lemons into lemonade. we are continually talking about richer teams amassing great talent. well, if the league just repeated this years draft slots (re-doing the lottery) they would be able to have the best players allocated to the worst teams yet again – further strengthening the rosters of those bad teams, and creating more parity. forget about the 3-year aggregate. that’s dumb.

  • jimkanicki

    ^^great point by saggy. … really great point by saggy.

    also agree with @18shawn. sure feels like the espn guys fixate on what they want to happen. really have to question where his data comes from since league is ostensibly still trying to play this year.

    espn is out for espn. a lot easier to sell commercials for kobe+dhoward vs melo+amare+cp3 than it is a popovich vs sloan team game matchup.

    and again i say, thank you dan gilbert for looking out for your fans.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    do last years entire finishing order (every team) in a lottery. Let Mavericks get a .1% chance, and fill it up to Minnesota getting something similar to the 25% chance they had last year. Draft. Gives the teams out of the top 11 a chance, but still gives the worst teams the best odds.