If teams are tied with the same record, how is it determined which team gets which draft pick? This is of particular importance to the Bulls, since the Knicks could end up tied with Charlotte, Minnesota, Sacramento, Portland and Philadelphia for the same record. Putting aside the possible effect on the Bulls' lottery chances, the answer could easily be the difference between drafting 6th and getting, say, Joakim Noah (imperfect, but still a good fit for the Bulls) versus drafting 10th and getting god knows who. --Peter, Chicago
Watch NBA-TV this Friday. After the end of the regular season, the NBA has drawings to break ties for the draft, for lottery and non-lottery teams. Basically, they put ping pong balls in a hat--technically a half basketball. I'm not sure if it is synthetic or not and whether there could be a paper cut issue. Say two teams have 50 wins, balls with their logos on it go in the bowl to be picked out to decide who gets the higher pick, for example, 19 or 20. Bulls fans are concerned with the lottery teams all hanging around 32 wins with the Knicks. It's the same system, but with the lottery teams it goes by number of ping pong ball chances. Say two teams have the same record and that position has 151 chances. If two teams are tied with the same record, they divide the number of balls and the team that "wins" the drawing gets the extra ball, meaning if there were 150 balls or chances at that spot, one would get 76 and the other 75. Got any of that? The short answer is for lottery teams with the same record there is almost no difference in their chances in the lottery with 1,001 combinations. Yes, better to just wait for the results in May.
I want to know how the Bulls currently have the second seed if the rankings are based on division winners and then the teams with the best records? --Tania, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
We're all confused, as well. We think it has something to do with the NBA trying to convert to the metric system. The NBA does an awful lot correctly, but the league office can be stubborn and arrogant when it digs in its heels, and David Stern has decided there will be division champions for some reason when no one pays attention to it.
I was in Phoenix the other day and asked Mike D'Antoni about the division championship banners, and he thought for a moment and said he didn't think they had any, but maybe they would get some and hang them up somewhere. It's laughable and produces the inequity of this season of the team with the third best record in the East getting the fifth seed to accommodate the divisions winners.
In the long run, it would have been better for the Pistons to dump games to try to get to No. 2 to get an easier playoff seeding. Because two should play three, and now the one seed plays the third best record in the second round. They changed the seeding last year to make up for the Spurs-Mavs situation with the two top teams meeting in the second round. And there's still the nightmare scenario with a division winner getting a top four seed with the ninth best record.
With so many teams making the playoffs, divisions mean nothing in the NBA like they do in U.S. baseball and football. There should either be two divisions, or no divisions as everyone but the NBA lists standings this time of year by conference since that is how the playoffs work in the NBA.
They also could give teams division banners if they want, which gives the winner something, and seed teams by their record 1-8, which is only fair. But Stern doesn't like to admit mistakes, which is why it took so long to admit the new ball was a mistake. He doesn't want to admit his division concept is a disaster and meaningless, so we're probably stuck with the new, bad math of the NBA.
No matter how much everyone wants to talk about Detroit and Miami, Toronto is the team to beat in the playoffs. Why let them walk through the first round against the Wizards? Toronto is young, athletic and tall. Height is something the Bulls struggle against. I really do not see the Bulls making it past Toronto but it would be a lot easier if the Raptors have to go six or seven games against New Jersey while the Bulls only have to go four games against Washington. So does Skiles have the foresight to lose one when he needs to, or is the magical "50" more important then anything else? --Helen Dean, Gardner, Ill.
I don't see Skiles ever dumping a game, and sometimes you better watch out what you wish for. Yes, there have been occasions teams have benefited from losing, like last season the way the Clippers dumped their way to a better first-round matchup and some years ago when Don Nelson blew games down the stretch to get to the Jazz, whom he did outmatch using small guys on Mark Eaton and pulling a huge upset. I don't see Skiles ever pulling back and doing that, and the No. 2 seed remains the best playoff option for the Bulls, in my opinion. Starting with Washington would benefit everyone and I doubt you'd even need to watch the series. But I'm not as high on Toronto as you are. They don't have Steve Nash, and I think you can attack their guards. Their offense runs much like the Bulls with high screens and the Bulls know it well. Plus, it's an inexperienced playoff team and playoff coach who would be thrilled just to get to the second round. I'd like the Bulls in a relatively short series against them.
Why are the Knicks always complaining about other teams running up the score? Who invented this rule that you're not allowed to blow out the other team when they're playing like crap? Miami didn't whine like this when the Bulls humiliated them on Ring Night. Is it just the Knicks, or do other teams complain about this? --RMT, Gurnee, Ill.
I thought it was was way overplayed, sort of an unwritten rule of journalism -- I wish someone would write these down so we can show people and this won't happen--about not screwing up on a slow news day. It was a blowout game of no consequence, so when Steve Francis said something stupid (yeah, there's news for you) everyone acted like "it was on." Jerome James going after someone in the hallway? The guy couldn't catch Hot Plate Williams after dinner. You play and finish the game and if you don't like what the other team is doing, you play harder. I liked it better when George Karl was running it up against the Knicks earlier this season to get back at him for the Larry Brown mess and the Knicks and Nuggets ended up getting into a fight. Of course, the league didn't like it as much. It's just the product of frustration we see in all sports when a team is losing and can't do anything about it. I'd use that sticks and stones thing, but I don't think that works anymore in our crazed politically correct world.
If the Bulls are going to make a valiant playoff run, they are going to need a big man. So why not pick up Eddie Griffin? I know he is an underachiever but he has never met Scott Skiles. --TJ Alimi, Chicago
I can't recall if Eddie played this season, and if he did he'd be ineligible. I know there's a joke in that not meeting Scott Skiles part, but I can't come up with it. This guy appears to have some kind of serious emotional problems way back to school when he was fighting with teammates. He is the last guy you'd want to see on the Bulls. Maybe next to last. The Bulls did make a run at the trading deadline to try to get Bonzi Wells cheap, which I thought wasn't a bad idea, though if they did it would be the Bulls sending him home last week instead of the Rockets.
What if the Bulls get the No. 2 pick again? And, what if Oden is taken first? Do we draft Durant and try to make him a SG (thus putting BG back into the 6th man, "microwave" spot), or do we trade the pick, either down to pick up a future No. 1, or completely trade out of the draft for a big man? Durant could be extremely special, but would he fit on this team? --Jon Headlee, Richmond, Va.
The Bulls should be so lucky. When you get a good player you take him and figure it out and let him figure it out. The guy will be good, but playing in college these days is like playing in community college 10 years ago. Durant would have to get used to playing defense, which he doesn't do much of, and would have to put on some weight. He'd be a great player to develop, though Gordon would probably kick his butt for the next few years.
Do you think Jermaine O'Neal can opt out or ask for a trade? In that case how would the Bulls convince Bird to trade in the same division? Another option (much cheaper) would be Luis Scola (new All-Time Euroleague best scorer). Spurs still retain his rights, but with a high pick it would be enough. --Guillaume, France
I think O'Neal is gone with the Pacers about out of the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. They'd likely ask way too much, so it doesn't make sense to break up your team for a guy who really never has taken his team anywhere. I don't know much about Scola other than when a guy stays that long in Europe he usually doesn't have much NBA success.
I probably can't imagine how many emails you get about absurd trades that the Bulls should make. Mine, hopefully, will not fall into that category. According to nbadraft.net, the Bulls are projected to have the 10th pick. Assuming the lottery holds close to form, I am thinking package Noce along with that pick for Phoenix's fourth pick to get either Al Horford or Roy Hibbert. I feel Noce would bring some much needed 'D' to the Suns and would also be able to fit in with their up- tempo style. Horford would bring the skills of P.J. Brown, only 20 years younger and a legitimate post game. --Dave, Bloomington, Ind.
First of all, there's no way to project what pick the Bulls will have. Most of this is moot until the lottery. But if the Suns get four there is no way they give it up because they love several of the players projected there. You also overvalue Nocioni. Plus, the Bulls don't believe in trading a player for spaces in the draft. Plus, rarely if ever in a very good draft, which this is, do teams trade down. This isn't the NFL where you can get good players in later rounds. The NBA is built on stars and high level players from the top of the draft. Yes, I think we're getting into absurd trade territory now. But that never stopped me.
I like how all the writers jumped on the Eddy Curry bandwagon, and then he laid an absolute egg against the Bulls. Speaking of big men, if the Celtics were to get the first pick and take Greg Oden, is there any chance they would part with Al Jefferson? Would they be willing to take the Knicks' pick for him, or would the Bulls have to give up more? I haven't seen him play, so I don't know how good he is but I saw he averaged 16 and 10 this year. --Dan, Grand Rapids, Mich.
If you watch him play you'll see they have no intention of giving him up. And though it is hard to believe, much of the NBA doesn't function as a feeder system for the Bulls. The other thing about Oden is he isn't Bill Russell. He's a bit on the deliberate side, though I think a lot of that is coaching. Also, despite his physical appearance, I'm told he's somewhat immature and I think the adjustment to the NBA will be difficult for him. And he's a center and Jefferson is the kind of scoring four who would complement him. Other than that, it all sounds like a reasonable proposal.
Do you see the Bulls making a deal with the Knicks this off-season so they can get their 2008 lottery pick? --Randy Klecka, Lakemoor, Ill.
No, but I'm told the Bulls can have the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall and the Yankees.
Ben Gordon and the ninth pick in this draft (probably about where the Bulls will be), a second round pick in this draft, and the Bulls first-round pick in 2008, for the No. 1 pick, which will be Kevin Durant? --Ron, Waynesboro, Va.
I have found it interesting that I've gotten so many lottery and draft proposals. Perhaps we should wait for one playoff game. My sense is fans feel the team isn't quite complete, though I believe the chance for a better-than-expected playoff run is possible with as dysfunctional Eastern Conference as there ever has been. No one--and I repeat no one--will trade out of the top of this draft. Scouts generally tell me you can build a team around either Oden or Durant, players in the long run who may not need another star but just pieces around them because their potential is so high.
If the Bulls get lucky and get a top-three pick courtesy of the Knicks, do you think that pick alone is valuable enough to trade for an experienced big man or do you think the Bulls well keep the pick? --Thach, San Diego
Once John Paxson got rid of Jerry Krause's guys, he became more conservative with his guys. Paxson has done well in the draft and is good at evaluating and projecting talent. I think he'll keep the pick given it is a good draft and scout around for a sign-and-trade with Nocioni.
I remember seeing Jordan and Pippen at Bulls home playoff games last year. I was just wondering, do the Bulls pay these already wealthy legends to come out and support their old team, or they come out simply because they want to watch the game? Also, what happened with Luc Longley's Bulls memorabilia after his house suffered a devastating fire? Did he manage to save anything, such as his championship rings? --Luis U., DeKalb, Ill.
Luc has another house in a beach area and I heard he had some memorabilia stuff there, though I don't know specifically what. Jordan usually goes to a suite at the Bulls invitation, while Pippen likes to sit behind the basket near the Bulls bench. The Bulls have an open invitation for them to come anytime at the cost to the Bulls.
Isn't it about time for the NBA to contract some teams? The East is just awful. Would anybody really miss pro basketball in Oklahoma, Charlotte or Atlanta? --Ron, DeKalb, Ill.
Atlanta would be a good start. It's amazing what a mess that franchise has become with the ownership battle in court. It's a disservice to the fans and the NBA and something David Stern should pay more attention to: mismanagement. You'd have to look at Memphis with the sale situation as well if they don't get Oden. There'll never be a contraction because of the lost jobs, and Oklahoma City was a good market and Stern virtually promised last week they'd get a team, likely either Seattle or when New Orleans inevitably moves again.
I am a huge fan of the Bulls and have been following the team closely since 1996. If this team loses in the first round of the playoffs this year, do you believe there is any chance that Skiles will be ousted out of Chicago? --Adi, Arlington, Va.
No, and if he were he'd have a job quickly. I know the Pacers have liked him as well as the Bobcats. His stock is sky high around the NBA after the turnaround with the Bulls, though Paxson deserves considerable credit as well. Also, I'd add myself for trying to trade so many players that they continue to try to show me up by playing better. I'm hoping for a playoff share. If the Bulls collapse in the playoffs, I think there'll be player changes first, though I don't expect it.
I'm being simple here. Why don't the Bulls try to make another run at Bonzi Wells for the playoffs? --Nick Russell, Tampa, Fla.
He is ineligible because he played this season and wasn't released before March 1 and the TV rights fees would be too high to watch Skiles and he wrestle on the sidelines during games.
Who's the most Jordanesque player in the league? My vote is for Wade, who can get to the rim like Mike, gets to the line like Mike, is as fierce a competitor, a sometimes 3-point shooter, was playing great defense this year before his injury, and has never missed the playoffs, even before Shaq when he even won a few games in the playoffs on last second shots as a rookie. --Joe, Chicago
I'd say Kobe is closest because of the manic competitive drive and scoring ability, though Wade is a close second. The difference with Wade is size and not being as good a defender as the other two, thus not being able to impact the game on both ends, though Kobe hasn't been very good on defense this season, mostly, I'd say, because he'd had to do so much on offense. Though that's also where he trails Jordan as Jordan did both for a longer time.
Years ago, when Bernie Bickerstaff was coaching the Wizards, a columnist (which could have been you) commented that Bickerstaff was one of the worst coaches in the NBA. Last night I heard Stacey King commenting on how great of a job he has done with the Charlotte franchise. Has there been a turnaround or is this a case of the right fit, for the right team, at the right time? Also, why does the NBA keep recycling coaches that have had moderate or little success to the point that Tim Floyd even got a second chance? --Todd, Homewood, Ill.
It was me. I wish some other guys would get a chance, so you can see guys without experience like Avery Johnson do well. Though I find Bernie to be a likeable and professional person, I thought coaching was not his strength. I think he believes analysis is not my strength. I remember that column well since I was commenting some on the lack of racism in the NBA, though I always wondered if anyone caught it. I noted how Bernie could continue to get jobs without being very good and it wasn't just bad white coaches getting rehired, as many suggested. I felt in my own ironic way of looking at things, that this was another way that showed the NBA being the most color blind place in the U.S. I remain most proud of that. I also have wondered since whether I could even write that anymore with the insane reactions to political correctness in this era, though I'm not sure who would have picketed me. It was sort of tongue in cheek, but I do have to shake my head when commentators build up every coach and never criticize a coach in any way while easily condemning players.
I think the Bobcats have playoff level personnel and have vastly underachieved. I see them finish games badly, blowing leads and often undisciplined. I hate the way Ray Felton dribbles between his legs 10 times before he shoots (he doesn't pass often), and you can see a tension there between Adam Morrison and others that seems to go unchecked. I don't see many adjustments when teams change up on them, and I'm not sure what the system of play is. It's a terrific opportunity for a coach because we'll be saying in a year from now what a magnificent job somebody did in turning that around. I wonder sometimes if the commentators aren't watching, or don't know what is going on or are simply members of some secret society who swore a blood oath not to criticize one another.
They are team employees, officially, so that inhibits some. I think one reason is the commentators rarely if ever talk to any players and rely on the coaches for their information, so they feel they have to be nice. It is the Jeff Van Gundy school of broadcasting: Genius time out! But it certainly is misleading to viewers and you won't see Bernie on any lists to coach other teams. Tim Floyd got a second job! We both remain amazed.
Sam, I think I've uncovered your ruse! All year you've been pretty tough on Big Ben but looking over the stats from last season to this season you can't deny his impact on the court. Team rebounding numbers and points per game are up and opponents points per game (97.2 - 93.6) and rebounds (41.7 - 40.8) are down. Sure we're second in team field goal percentage (43.8 compared to 42.6) but last year teams were killing us on second shot attempts. Face it, you love Big Ben don't you!! East conference finals await. --Bill, Skokie, Ill.
You've got me. I was a secret agent for Skiles and Paxson motivating him and it worked.
The Bulls have a lot of options in the upcoming draft, but I think the scenario where they get the No. 3 pick is the most intriguing given that Oden and Durant will both be off the board. The Bulls have a lot of good young assets with which to explore trade possibilities. Do they take a big like Noah, Hawes, Wright or Hibbert? I don't see them taking Horford with Deng and Thomas on the roster. Do they look at taking a guy like Brewer and maybe trying to package Gordon, Duhon, Deng, Thomas and/or Nocioni to Minnesota for Garnett? Do they trade the pick outright? --Simon, Brisbane, Australia
Three would be interesting because I wouldn't rule out Horford, potentially a power forward who could score. Though Noah doesn't score, he fits their aggressive, smart style. There's really perhaps up to 10 really good players in this draft and teams will be salivating to move up. It could also lead to a deal, though it probably would have to be for a really good player, like Gasol. Though they usually go with their pick, I wouldn't rule anything out depending on how the playoffs go.
Do you think teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves should be penalized for such obvious tanking at the end of the season? KG is 100 percent healthy and hasn't played in a week, and may not play again this year. I am a Wolves fan and I find this sickening, but somehow no one here seems to care. Maybe you could pass this info along to David Stern. --Nathan, Minneapolis
I commented on it in my notes Monday and find it appalling. I agree the league should take some action, but it is most disappointing that the brass in Minnesota and Garnett would treat the game that has done so much for them and means so much with so much disrespect. I believe Garnett has injury issues, that he's not 100 percent. But at least show up and give some effort for the people who bought those season tickets. How can you ask them to do so again? I know Joe Smith never would do such a thing.
I thought I remembered reading that the Bulls would have the second pick in the second round from Boston. According to Nbadraft.net, they get the lesser of Boston's two picks, so they actually will end up with like the 12th pick. Which is correct? --Andrew, St. Louis
I admit I don't keep up on seconds since the Bulls don't need more rookies, especially another second rounder. Of course, you could use one in a deal. This also suggests to me you have way too much time on your hands and should volunteer at a charity. I'm told the Bulls get the lesser of the Boston/Golden State pick, so that's Golden State's. They also get Denver's second, which isn't very high, either. I suspect they'll try to deal both or include them in a deal. I swore off seconds after the Khalid El-Amin, Bryce Drew, Jake Voskuhl bonanza of 2000
I am thinking of the Eddy Curry situation in particular, but why does it seem like columnists completely dog players when they are in town, only to turn and say good things about them when they are gone? Many Chicago columnists, yourself included, really gave it to Eddy when he was here, but now many say positive things about him. I watch a fair number of Knicks games and Eddy looks to be basically the same player he was when he was here. Yet he was criticized for being fat and lazy with the Bulls, while he is now referred to as "The Man." When sports teams acquire new players, fans are naturally excited, anticipating the improvement they believe the new player will bring. By criticizing players on the local teams, doesn't that drive a wedge between the sportswriters and the fans? I think writers should report the truth, but many often go over the line in their criticism. --John, Brookfield, Ill.
Doesn't it show more credibility to challenge someone face to face when they are here? I would think the sin is to write critically when they leave. It's easy to be tough on a guy after he leaves and nice when he's here. I wrote recently how the Knicks view him. I wouldn't view him that way. Players understand more than you think. It's not like reporters are their friends, or should be. You should appreciate the willingness of media to be honest in opinions. I liked Eddy because while I was tough on him in his game, it wasn't personal about family. You can say it's personal in criticizing his job performance, but that's what I should be doing for fans if I see it that way. Because fans aren't around the team, the hope is we can bring them insight. I didn't think Eddy was a good fit for the Bulls and said so. I respected Eddy because he never got upset and understood it was part of the NBA. Eddy is never going to be a great defender or rebounder, but he's improved with the Knicks and done what they want (the Bulls wanted him to play more defense), so he deserves the praise for working at it.
Which team(s) in the lottery would have a spare power forward or center that they would be willing to move and the Bulls would be interested in acquiring if that team had won the No. 1 or 2 pick in the draft and selected Oden or Durant. And who would the Bulls have to give up? --Ron, Waynesboro, Ill.
You could get Jermaine O'Neal, Zach Randolph, probably Pau Gasol and Andrew Bogut if the Bucks get Oden. As the Bulls showed at the trading deadline, they aren't giving up a top player and my guess is they search for someone expendable and whose name came up in trade talks in February, like Drew Gooden, to fill their power forward spot.
Sammy (does anyone call you Sammy?) what do you think the Bulls' draft board looks like? I guess they're focused on the playoffs, and maybe haven't made their wish list yet, but assuming we learn nothing new in the playoffs, what will it look like? I imagine they will rank players that they most want, and then take the highest player still available when they get their pick. Here's my guess: (1) Oden; (2) Durant; (3) Horford; (4) B. Wright; (5) Noah; (6) Yi Jianlian; (7) Hawes; (8) Hibbert; (9) Brewer; (10) Thabeet; (11) J. Wright; (12) Splitter; (13) Green; (14) Young. --Brad, Northbrook, Ill.
Mostly Sosa and Zell now. It's early for that draft ranking, though Brewer could move up and Thabeet definitely down. Green probably is higher than that and I don't see them that high on Yi. Obviously it will give them plenty of flexibility once the Garnett rumors kick into high gear. And I'll hardly be alone this time. It's going to be the Summer of Kevin.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times