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ESPN Insider- five lotery to playoff candidates

aamir543
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ESPN Insider- five lotery to playoff candidates

Can someone please post the five lotery to playoff candidates article. Thanks in advance!


akhan786
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Updated: April 22, 2011, 3:43

Updated: April 22, 2011, 3:43 PM ET Five lottery-to-playoffs teams Several teams make the leap every year. Who are next season's candidates? * Email * Print * Comments26 By Kevin Pelton Basketball Prospectus Archive Deron WilliamsJeff Hanisch/US PresswireBoth Deron Williams and Brandon Jennings could be playoff-bound next season. This time last year, five current playoff teams -- the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in the East and the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets in the West -- were busy preparing for the lottery rather than worrying about how to upset an opponent in the opening round. That number is somewhat on the high side, and tied for the most turnover among playoff teams in the past three decades, but an average of exactly four teams per season have jumped from the lottery to the postseason in the past 10 years. Which teams are most likely to pull off the feat next season? From most to least likely, here are our five picks, and reasons they will -- or won't -- make it to the postseason in 2012: 1. Milwaukee Bucks Why they'll make the playoffs: The Bucks were battered by injuries this season. They lost more games due to injury (277) than any other team in the NBA. Given average health, the Bucks should be improved. Why they'll stay in the lottery: Even when they were healthy, veterans like Drew Gooden and John Salmons were not especially effective. Milwaukee needs more from them. The Bucks are the most likely non-playoff team to reach the postseason next season for a few reasons. First, we've seen this Milwaukee group achieve such success; the Bucks were the No. 6 seed a year ago. Teams a year removed from a playoff run get out of the lottery 40.7 percent of the time, as compared to 27.3 percent for all other teams. Second, while the 2010-11 campaign was disappointing, bad luck was a major factor. In addition to the injuries, Milwaukee's point differential was more typical of a 39-win team than of a 35-win one. The big X factor for the Bucks next season is the development of point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings was unable to build on his promising rookie campaign, but his talent is obvious. If Jennings steps forward, so will Milwaukee as a team. 2. Houston Rockets Why they'll make the playoffs: Not only did the Rockets have the best record of any non-playoff team, they went 17-8 after the All-Star break but were unable to make up enough ground on the last playoff spot in the West. Why they'll stay in the lottery: How much of that success can be traced to Rick Adelman? Houston's head coach won't return by "mutual" agreement, the team announced Monday. In general, teams like the Rockets with above-.500 records are naturally the best bests to get back in the playoffs. That's been a 50-50 proposition over the past three decades. Houston also should return the lineup that finished out the season strong virtually intact. Chuck Hayes becomes a free agent, but the Rockets figure to have plenty of room to re-sign him. Someone in the Western Conference will have to slip to make room, but Houston is poised to take advantage in that scenario. 3. Golden State Warriors [+] EnlargeStephen Curry Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty ImagesIf Stephen Curry & Co. can stay healthy, the Warriors could make it to the postseason in 2012. Why they'll make the playoffs: With Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright and David Lee in the starting lineup, Golden State went a respectable 28-30. Why they'll stay in the lottery: Because of their questionable depth, the Warriors dropped to 8-16 when at least one of their four core players was sidelined. Other than Milwaukee and Houston, the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz were the other non-playoff teams with a better point differential than the Warriors, and both of them seem headed for rebuilding projects. Golden State has built a decent core, but must improve its depth via the draft and free agency. Look for Ekpe Udoh to emerge as the fifth starter next season. The Warriors were much more effective with him at center alongside the four core starters than veteran Andris Biedrins, outscoring opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions, per BasketballValue.com. 4. New Jersey Nets Why they'll make the playoffs: With a full season of Deron Williams, the Nets figure to make major strides. Why they'll stay in the lottery: New Jersey finished 13 games out of the postseason, and it's rare for teams to improve that dramatically. Over the past three decades, an average of fewer than three teams per year have made that kind of leap in wins. The Nets are an intriguing wild card for 2011-12 as they try to have enough success to convince Williams to stick around with a new long-term contract. Because of Williams' impact on his teammates' shooting, the offense improved after his arrival despite the fact Williams himself was dealing with an injury to his shooting wrist that ultimately required surgery. Besides Williams, New Jersey's other avenue for improvement is to use cap space to plug up a gaping hole on the wing. Collectively, the Nets' small forwards (Stephen Graham, Damion James, Travis Outlaw and Quinton Ross) rated an incredible 8.7 wins below the contributions of a replacement-level player, per Basketball Prospectus' metrics. In terms of PER, 82games.com's team production stats show just one position in the league was worse for its team than Nets small forwards (9.1) -- Lakers point guards (8.8). 5. Los Angeles Clippers Why they'll make the playoffs: Two words: Blake Griffin. Why they'll stay in the lottery: The Clippers face an even bigger deficit to overcome than the Nets, having finished 14 games out of the playoffs and 11 behind the Rockets. Certainly, the Clippers are a long shot, but there is too much talent on hand to entirely rule out the possibility that they develop ahead of schedule. Between their 1-13 start and Eric Gordon suffering a bone fracture in the wrist of his shooting arm, the Clippers were better than .500 (16-13). Meanwhile, Mo Williams is a more reliable option at the point than Baron Davis. The downside is the Clippers are unlikely to add much to their lineup this offseason. They dealt their first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Davis-Williams trade and will probably forego free agency in order to keep their salary cap clean for the summer of 2012, when they could be substantially below the salary cap.

akhan786
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Sorry about there not being

Sorry about there not being any pargraphs my bad...

SwatLakeCity
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People are underestimating Utah

People are underestimating Utah. If they play the draft right which they usually do especially when they have lottery picks, than the Playoffs will be there for them. Hayward can make up for the loss of AK, and Favors really started to come on in April. For proof look at the last few posts I made about him. They might be in a rebuilding mode but the last time they were rebuilding they were only in the lottery 3 times. (2004-2006, They got Kris Humphries, Deron Williams, and Ronnie Brewer out of it) And in both 2004 and 2006 they darn near made the playoffs. Those years were all with only one draft pick. Now they have 2 and then the Warriors pick next year (top 7 protected) Like I said if they don't throw their draft picks away, which I highly doubt they will, then they will make the playoffs next year.

They should also have a strong bench. Millsap might be coming off the bench if Favors continues to work on his game and builds off of his strong finish like I expect, then Favors could start. And once again we would see a double double machine coming off the bench! If the Jazz draft a SF, which is very possible, Hayward could be coming off the bench too. He has a lot more confidence in his game and he too started to come on strong in both March and April. I am about certain that Miles will be coming off the bench again. He had his scoring outbursts this season off the bench, he'll have them again. Strong benches always help teams make the playoffs.

No one thought Philly would make the playoffs after the 2010 draft or even before, yet look at them now!

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i agree with you but i dont

i agree with you but i dont get two things. gordon coming off the bench behind a rookie? is that what you are sayin? i think milsap will start over favors.

omphalos
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Kings with the right coach

Kings with the right coach and the right pick in the draft could also compete for that spot. Evans healthy, Cousins another year of maturity, maybe Whiteside is ready to contribute now.

UNITEDweRISE31
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to follow up on wat omphalos said

whiteside needs to hit the weightroom. how bout rick adelman? a good motivator who brings the best out of his players.

omphalos
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Adelman would be a great

Adelman would be a great coach for either Minnesota or the Kings. Two teams with lots of talent but little discipline. Rick could have either team in the playoff hunt within two years, and the Kings as early as this year to be close to it at least.

Haven't seen Whiteside for a long time, but I expect he's been bulking up considerably in preparation for next season. Another off-season of work and he might be ready.

SwatLakeCity
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I guarantee you that if the

I guarantee you that if the Kings draft Irving, Knight, or Walker and hire Adelman back as their coach they will make the playoffs next year. You heard it here first.

Favors had a strong finish to the season. He likes to work hard, so I know he will work on his game during the offseason. I just think that if he improves his game enough he could start next season. As for Hayward. I am on the fence about him starting. I know AK will be gone next year so Utah definitely either needs to fill it with Hayward or draft one. I'm really high on three SF that will all likely be lottery picks so that's part of the reason why I think they will start. (Williams, Leonard, and T. Jones, are the three I am really high on) But if the Jazz do not draft a SF, which is also possible, than yes Hayward will definitely be starting. Basically Utah is just as likely to draft a SF as they are to not draft a SF. You can kind of guess that after last year's draft when they needed to go big yet they drafted Hayward. (But it appeared to work out for them as Hayward came on really strong towards the end)

UNITEDweRISE31
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another factor for the kings

another factor for the kings to make the playoffs is the resigning of samuel dalembert, who will be highly targeted by teams like atl, miami, etc. samuel dalembert is vital as he & dmc make a high-low combo tht gives trouble to many teams in the league.

esperanzafleet69
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i dont think minnesotas

i dont think minnesotas problem is rambis... its the fact that besides love and beasley, barely anybody else on their team would crack an nba rotation on any other team

jtthebrick14
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Agree with Utah

Injuries were as much of a reason for the Jazz's collapse this year as trading Deron was. The Jazz will be young and talented at every position after this draft with several 26/27 year old veterans. Entirely possible that they make the playoffs next year.

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