Part of me just wants to end things right here because there is almost too much material to cover here as far as why fans are the worst when it comes to the NBA draft. Maybe it’s because this is a “Football Country” (sorry Baseball, it’s not July yet) and if things aren’t presented to folks in a viagra commercial they don’t get it, but the amount of hate and confusion spurred towards NBA teams and college basketball players when it comes to the draft is bamboozling.
First, with the teams, it’s a mix of fans not understanding how the lottery works, and not being able to do simple math – common core is a helluva thing, ain’t it? The Los Angeles Lakers have been on a meaningless 4 game win streak right now and their last victory led to reactions like this
Apparently Jason Segal’s brother here is actually a Bulls fan, but whatever, he’s still wrong. A quick look at the NBA standings would reveal that Orlando (the worst organization in sports) and Philly (the most “nononononyesnonoyes!” organization in sports) are still 3 games back of the Lakers for the 3-spot in the lottery and there’s only one game left. Math is hard, but trust me, the Lakers finishing with a bottom-3 record is pretty safe.
Now, “oh my god Dan, it hurts their lottery chances”. Okay, sure, but not really. Looking at the last 5 NBA drafts (sample size, bite me), the 3rd worst record has landed in the top-3 four times while the 2nd worst record has landed there only three. That’s not to say that the third pick is preferable – it’s not – but it does show that there’s really not much of a difference and wanting your team to tank to the 2nd worst record (the Nets won the Sucklympics running away, congrats Boston on your #1 seed and #1 lottery spot). Seriously, look at the numbers, the percentage difference is 47% vs 55%. A coin flip either way.
The Lakers get to end their season on a high note and are really not that much more in danger of losing their top-3 protected pick than they would’ve been had they finished with the second worst record – in fact, if they and the Suns tie, they split the difference on lottery odds and are even at 51% to stay top-3. Personally, though their anger would be misguided, I hope they do fall out of the top-3, the Sixers get their pick, and we continue to see what a cancer Dwight Howard was for every team involved in that trade.
Onto the players, and this is where the armchair point-guarding reaches incredible levels of dumb. Because Adam Silver is the best commissioner any league has had in quite some time, the NBA in the last couple years changed its draft rules to allow players to declare for the draft in April with the option of returning to school by the end of May after the combine and pre-draft workouts have been completed… as long as they hadn’t hired an agent
A few of the notable names who declared in 2016, went through workouts, and then decided to return to school were Florida’s Devin Robinson, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Maryland’s Melo Trimble, and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson. Many others declared and dropped out before the combine. Of the 150+ that originally declared, only about 60 stayed in passed the May deadline.
The NBA’s eligibility rule is incredible and something the NFL should adopt as well. It would allow players who suffer freak injuries, like Washington’s Sidney Jones to return to school if their injury hurts their draft stock. It’s the flexibility with this rule that baffles me when I see reactions like these from Michigan’s fanbase when forwards D.J. Wilson and Mo Wagner declared for the draft – without agents – this week:
Shoutout Tyler Patterson for not being a fucking idiot. There’s also the chance that most of these people are fans of the East Lansing Community College Spartans or Ohio State, but between the 4 “hot takes” here, there are 220 likes which means that 220+ people don’t understand the rules.
There’s a very high probability that at the very least Wagner is going to return. Down in Gainesville, center John Egbunu, whose ACL injury derailed a probable Final Four run (almost made it anyway) will be testing the NBA waters, but few expect him to stick with it. His teammate Robinson has declared for a second time though he’s expected to remain in.
The current rules rightfully encourage the players to go to the combine, interview and workout with teams, get thorough feedback, and then make an educated decision – something these fans clearly haven’t done when they get on their high horse and decide to keyboard warrior for an afternoon. Criticizing a college player for declaring for the draft in 2017 is synonymous with throwing a fit that a Canadian Football team is punting on third down – you just look like an idiot.