If you have not listened to it yet, I chatted with Drew Cohen of FansRising.com about his fan-driven petition to the NBA to reform the lottery system. You can get more information on it over at his Web site — NBArrassing.com — and listen to the full podcast below.
As that made clear, and as Magic fans have had to endure the last few years, is that teams are seeing the benefits of angling for lottery position and not necessarily doing everything they can to win as the season winds down. It is hard to process any other reason for the Sixers to trade Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes off an already depleted roster at the trade deadline.
Hoopshype broke down the numbers and found that the phenomena of tanking takes place after the All-Star Break. That is when records for the worst 10 teams in the league tends to dovetail.
This year, the 10 worst teams in the league had a combined win percentage of 27.1 percent. Since 1995, the average combined win percentage of the 10 worst teams is 31.0 percent. The 27.1 win percentage is the worst the league has seen since 1997. Tanking, it would appear was a problem this year in a way that it was not in years past. Or maybe those teams were just worse — depends how far into the sand you want to stick your head.
The Magic, for their part, also saw that late-season dip that other teams at the end of the season tend to have.
After the All-Star Break, the Magic went 7-21 for a .250 win percentage. If the Magic kept up their post-All-Star Break pace, they would have finished with about 20.5 wins. If the Magic had kept up their pre-All-Star Game pace — 16-38 — they would have finished with 24 wins. So they were not entirely off their pace from the first half of the season.
It was certainly better than the 2013 season when the Magic fell off a cliff in the second half of the season. They were 15-37 in the first half of the season and just 5-25 after the All-Star Break. That is a pace of 24 wins in the first half of the season and a measly 14 wins in the second half of the season.
If you want to accuse the Magic of tanking, 2013′s disastrous finish is the way to go. That only netted them the No. 2 overall pick (and Victor Oladipo). Hopefully that serves as a reminder that it remains a Lottery and the worst team in the league is not guaranteed the top pick in the Draft.