Saturday, March 29, 2014

Celtics Tankometer - Breaking down NBA draft lottery math; the enormous difference between 4, 5 and 6

The Celtics played only twice this week, a pair of losses to Toronto that were both very winnable contests.  For this reason the Tankometer creeps up from 58% to 62%.

At 23-49, with just 10 games remaining Boston is in a heated battle with the Lakers (24-48) and Jazz (23-50) for the 4th, 5th and 6th worst records in the NBA.  While this may seem insignificant, because of the way the lottery percentages work, and the players available in this draft, it is in fact a very big deal for the Celtics.

The projected top 5 picks this year have gone unchanged since before the college season even started.  The order may vary slightly, but they are Kansas freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Duke freshman Jabari Parker, Kentucky freshman Julius Randle, and Dante Exum from Australia.  Boston would really like one of these guys.

Only the first three selections are actually determined by a lottery; meaning if you're the team with the 14th worst record (the last team to qualify) and you don't win picks one, two or three, you're choosing 14th.  So if the Celtics finish with the 4th worst record, they are guaranteed to draft no worse than 7th.

The probable 6th and 7th picks are Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart, and Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon.  Not top 5, but still nice options; and good reason for Boston to want a bottom 4 record.

But the real motivation for finishing 4th (actually 27 of 30, but obviously I'm going backwards in this article) is the difference in the odds of getting a top 5 selection: it's an 82.8% chance for #4, just 55.3% for #5, and only 21.5% for #6.

Since the Celtics, Lakers and Jazz are all currently within a single win of each other, any one victory in their last 10 games could easily cause more than a 60% swing in Boston's likelihood of a top 5 pick.

Here's are the chances of choosing in the top 5 (and top 3) by order of worst record, as well as the complete lottery percentage breakdown:

Click to enlarge.
1 - 100% (64.3% top 3)
2 - 100% (55.8% top 3)
3 - 96% (46.9% top 3)
4 - 82.8% (37.8% top 3)
5 - 55.3% (29.2% top 3, can't pick 4th)
6 - 21.5% (6-14 can only move up to top 3)
7 - 15%
8 - 10%
9 - 6.1%
10 - 4%
11 - 2.9%
12 - 2.5%
13 - 2.2%
14 - 1.8%

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's official: Grady Sizemore will be the Red Sox Opening Day center fielder

At the beginning of spring training I published my first ever article for Bleacher Report, entitled "Boston Red Sox: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2014 Season."  Number one on the list was "Grady Sizemore will start in center field on Opening Day."


Red Sox manager John Farrell made the official announcement Friday; the 31-year-old who hasn't played a major league game in two and a half years will get the nod on Monday afternoon in Baltimore.  Meanwhile Jackie Bradley Jr., who entered camp with the position as his to lose, will open the season in Pawtucket.

Sizemore has hit .333 so far this spring (13-39), while Bradley Jr. is batting just .158 (9-57).  Earlier this week I wrote another article for B/R detailing exactly how Sizemore had earned the center field spot.

Also, lucky for David Ortiz, his job is secure.  Boston's future Hall of Fame DH is 2 for 37 in Grapefruit League play, a .054 average.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How great would your workplace be if it had "Survivor" style firings?

I have never really watched the TV show Survivor, but I know it became famous for the premise of "voting people off the island."  Well, that's how I think the typical American workplace should function.  I first came up with this idea while bartending at giant super-trendy restaurant in New York City in 2006, and have felt the same way pretty much everywhere I've worked since.

Coworkers always have a better sense of who's a good employee than management does.  And how much would everybody enjoy the opportunity to influence who they are working with?  Once a month or so each employee should throw a name into a hat, and whoever receives the most votes gets fired; with a new person then hired to replace them.

The "hot girl" who just gets by on her looks and doesn't actually do any work?  Gone.  The smooth talker who convinces people how great he is without really contributing anything?  Gone.  That other guy who you always seem to be picking up the slack for but nobody notices?  Gone.  Even the person who just leaves a mess all the time or is generally irritating to talk to, gone.

Worker productivity would increase, as would the overall level of happiness.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don't worry about Felix Doubront's rough spring training, he is what he is

There's a mild level of concern in Fort Myers about Felix Doubront, who's gotten crushed in his last two spring training starts.  In eight innings combined he's allowed 20 hits, 5 walks, and 15 earned runs.  As horrible as those numbers are, it is obviously an extremely small sample size; and from games that don't even count.

When the regular season starts, I fully expect Doubront to be exactly what he has been for the Red Sox the last two seasons, which is a fairly average but remarkably consistent back of the rotation starter.  Take a look at some of his virtually identical stats from 2012 and 2013:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lena Dunham's annoying/ironic Glamour Magazine cover really irks me

Despite the fact that I find Lena Dunham extremely irritating, I do enjoy her HBO comedy Girls.  One of my biggest complaints about the show (and I'm sure this is a very popular criticism) is her bizarre need to constantly appear naked.  For whatever reason she regularly goes out of her way to show off her slightly-less-than-fun-to-look-at nude body.

Apparently other similarly confused people ask her about this a lot, and she's sick of talking about it.  Clearly the best way for her to avoid having to discuss this topic is to tell people as much while posing for the cover of a major magazine.

Whatever Lena.

RELATED: Ironic photo of the day nominee

Monday, March 24, 2014

There's an upside to the superstar freshman getting knocked out of the NCAA tournament

One of the big stories of the weekend has been the fact that the projected top three picks in the NBA draft, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid (who's injured but may have returned next round) of 2nd seeded Kansas, and Jabari Parker of 3rd seeded Duke, were all eliminated from the NCAA tournament in surprising upsets.  While most people are lamenting the fact that we won't get to see these guys in the Sweet 16 and beyond, I think it's actually a good thing that they'll no longer have a chance to compete for the national title.
Will they remember what it says under the spray paint?

College basketball, and more specifically the tournament, isn't really for them anyway.  The only reason Wiggins and Parker were even there in the first place is because the NBA wouldn't let them in yet.  It's not their fault.  The league's "one and done" rule basically forces the best of the best to pick a college to hang out at for six months before entering the draft.

But there's something not right about freshman with no real ties to their schools being able to just show up and grab a Final Four appearance or national championship.  Who knows if it even matters to them or not?  Tournament success should be reserved for players who earn it; guys who work hard for a few years and developed a sense of pride in the institution that they represent.  I'm much happier to see titles go to those will cherish them as an experience of a lifetime, rather than to preordained wunderkinds who may forget about what they've achieved three months later when they become NBA lottery picks.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Awesome Old Song of the Week: The #1 song in the country 20 years ago today

Billboard's #1 single on March 23, 1994?  "The Sign" by Ace of Base.  The Swedish group's album of the same name also hit #1 a week later.

As much of a fan as I am of the movie Pitch Perfect (and it's music), it really bugs me that the film decided to use Ace of Base's 1994 smash as the song to make boring and overplayed.  The first time the Bellas sang "The Sign" I was pumped, but by the third it was totally ruined.

And if you haven't seen Pitch Perfect and have no idea what I'm talking about, that's your own fault.  Go watch it; no matter who you are I can say with extreme confidence that I'm 95% percent sure you'll enjoy it if given a chance.

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