We humans like to try to make sense of the world, which is typically a fool’s errand. Even when met with randomized events — events we as humans have attempted to strip meaning from by constructing them is such a way that the only sense to make of it is pure fortune, good or bad — we try to build narratives.
The NBA draft lottery is a good example. We convince ourselves certain of these bad or opportunistic basketball teams deserve to win the lottery — and thus the right to draft generational superstar Zion Williamson No. 1 overall — more than others. We convince ourselves that there’s a way this could play out that would be good for the league and a way that could be bad. (We have no idea. It’s hilarious that we think we know.) It seems the collective basketball discourse has settled on the Hawks as deserving of Zion and, say, the tanked-out Bulls, Knicks, Suns undeserving. Because the Hawks hid it better and had a more stripped down roster from the jump? Huh?
The truth is that none of these teams deserve Zion Williamson. He’s an adult, and deserves to be able to decide where to play himself. No awful team should get the benefit of exclusive rights to the very best college prospect in perhaps a decade, maybe more, by virtue solely of being terrible and lucky. The really good teams who traded for outside shots at the No. 1 pick don’t deserve it either: they have profited off of desperation and/or stupidity and luck, and not the virtues of excellence. But someone will get lucky anyway, and Zion will have to pretend to be happy (maybe he will be happy! we can adapt to situations and fake it ‘til we believe it). All in the name of competitive balance.
But hey, it’s a fun half-hour of television, isn’t it?
Nothing to report.
NBA Draft Lottery Presented By Hella Meaningless Suns, Knicks, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Mavericks Games in January, February, March, and April: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Blazers at Warriors, 9 ET, ESPN
Series tied at 0-0
Lottery odds. I’m rooting for maximum chaos, per usual. Give Philly the No. 1 pick via Sacramento.
Kristian Winfield writes that the Sixers owe it to themselves to run it back.
The Cavaliers hired 66-year-old Michigan coach John Beilein, which is actually pretty fascinating. Mike Rutherford calls Beilein’s career arc the embodiment of basketball’s American dream.
Nathaniel Friedman on Kawhi’s shot, C.J. McCollum, and theology.
Kristaps Porzingis got jumped and maybe injured outside a club in Latvia. Yikes.
Kelly Dwyer’s West finals preview is free — check it out and subscribe if you love it!
Be excellent to each other.