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Sports Fan Insider
By: Matt Dery
Q: Do you think the Pistons should have tanked games to get a better chance at Anthony Davis?
A: Even if the Pistons did not give a full and quality effort down the stretch, it would not have mattered. New Jersey has lost five in a row. Toronto has lost four in a row. Cleveland is 4-17 in its last 21 games. Sacramento has dropped 8 of 10, and Golden State is “tanktastic” going 3-16 in their last 19 games. Fans want extra lottery balls and I understand their frustration, but I will take a team with a plan and an identity over some of these other clubs.
Q: Where are the Pistons right now with one game to go in the lottery standings?
A: The Pistons currently have the NBA’s 9th worst record. Detroit is 24-41 and Golden State (currently 8th worst) is 23-42. If the Pistons lose to Philly tomorrow night and Golden State beats San Antonio at home, the two teams will flip a coin for #8.
Q: What are the chances that the Pistons win the lottery?
A: If Detroit ends up with the 9th worst record, they would have 17 chances out of 1000 to grab the #1 pick. In 2009, the Bulls won the lottery with 17 chances out of 1000 and the #9 slot. The #8 position would have 28 chances out of 1000. Last year, the Clippers won the lottery at #8, but had to ship the pick (Kyrie Irving) to the Cavs as part of the Baron Davis/Mo Williams trade.
Q: Why did the Pistons win games then? Why not do what some of these other teams did and rest injured players and lose on purpose?
A: Again, this is an inexact science. The last team with the NBA’s worst record to win the lottery was the 2004 Orlando Magic. It has been nearly 8 years now since the team with the most chances has been awarded the top pick. The Pistons have a coach in place now in Lawrence Frank who has helped create a winning environment again. Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight are two young building blocks that have gained valuable experience and the organization is not one that believes in staining the integrity of the game. PTI’s Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon pointed it out last week that the league may have a “tanking” problem, with a handful of clubs losing games on purpose to secure a better lottery slot. The Pistons have never been mentioned in that conversation. It is not in their DNA. Remember, the Pistons have had no luck in the lottery the last two years and ended up with Monroe and Knight. The Bucks won it with Andrew Bogut in 2005 and have won nothing. Toronto won it in 2006 with Andrea Bargnani and has yet to win a playoff series. You can certainly make cases both ways, but I am merely pointing out that winning the lottery does not necessarily mean success.