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Pick Watch

Since there are still about four weeks left in the NBA schedule, I'll hold off on discussions of tie-breakers, home-away record and such, and just give you an early head's up about where our picks stand.  Like March Madness, if you keep an eye on which wins and losses help our picks, you can find yourself cheering for the Suns to beat the Warriors almost as much as you may cheer for the Richmond Spiders.  On any given night, we can check the schedule and become fans of a dozen teams.

6.  22-44  NJN
5.  18-49  TOR  (was, @okc, @den, @pho)
4.  17-52  MIN  (@lal, sac, @dal)
3.  16-50  WAS  (@tor, njn, @por, @lac)
2.  16-50  SAC  (phi, @min, @chi, @mil)
1.  13-54  CLE  (@lac, orl, njn)

The Wolves have gone 4-6 in their last ten, and have moved from second-from-the-bottom to fourth in winning percentage.  The team has played three more games than SAC or WAS, which means that while the other teams have more chances to get a win, they will be playing with less rest.  I can never advocate tanking, but plan to write an article exploring the difference in valuation in the weighted lottery for the final position.

Things get much more interesting when we look at our other picks:

Memphis Pick
2011: Top 14 protected
2012: Top 12 protected
2013: Top 10 protected
2014: Top 9 protected
2015: Top 9 protected
2016: Cash

Utah Pick
2011: Top 16 protected
2012: Top 14 protected
2013: Top 12 protected

If not conveyed by 2014 and if UTA 2014 1st rd pick is not within top 9 picks, MIN will have the option to swap 2014 1st rd pick with UTA. If MIN does not receive a first round pick by the 2013 draft and also does not swap 2014 first round picks with UTA, then MIN will receive UTA’s own 2014 second round pick

Several NBA executives believe that with a potential lock-out, many NBA prospects are going to stay in college.  With the likelihood of no summer league and a delayed start in the NBA, young players may stay in their current programs to develop their skills at this crucial age and live the life of the college hoops star. I think this will be especially true for players that wouldn't be lottery selections, and the choices in 2011 for the MEM or UTA pick would be from graduating seniors (true NBA prospects usually don't stay in school four years) or from a picked-over EuroLeague. Whether we pick or trade, I hope that both picks fall into the 2012 draft, which should be deeper, and also include many of the NBA prospects that stayed in school in 2011.

5.  41-27  Denver  (@orl, @mia, tor, sas)
6.  40-30  New Orleans (bos, @uta)
7.  39-29  Portland  (phi, @lal, was)
8.  37-32  Memphis  (ind, uta, @bos)
9.  36-33 (1.5 games out) Utah  (@hou, @mem, @okc, nor)
10  35-34 (3.0 games out) Houston  (bos, uta, gsw)
11  33-33  (1.5 games out) Phoenix  (gsw, @lac, @lal, tor)

A look at standings shows that while the Jazz and Grizzlies have been playing mediocre ball, the Rockets have surged, winning their last 7-of-10, and the Suns have dropped 4 straight.  The easiest way to delay both picks would be for one of these teams to push both UTA and MEM out of the play-offs, but a new option has arisen.

If UTA was to make the play-offs, their pick is still top 16 protected.  In the past, the bottom two play-off teams in the East looked to finish so badly that they would claim the 15th and 16th draft positions, but that isn't the case any longer.

6.  35-32  New York 
7.  35-33  Philadelphia 
8.  29-39  Indiana 

As you can see, the Jazz could displace the Grizzlies in the play-offs, and still be forced to keep their pick if their record isn't better than the #7 team in the East - who they currently lead by only half a game.


For a team like ours, striving towards the future and carrying three potential first rounders, its only natural that we keep an eye on the standings.  A lot of NBA games may affect our future, and it should make the last month of the season a little more fun to watch.