Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/17/12

A couple weeks back, when I first addressed the concept of “tanking” to point out that the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-39, 13th in the East) were entering a stretch of brutal games with key players injured, I wrote that I felt the worst (or best, I guess, depending on your point of view) the Cavaliers could likely finish is 4th worst.

The Cavaliers currently sit 5th worst in the NBA, just one game behind Sacramento for that #4 spot. That’s not the big news, though. The big news is that the New Orleans Hornets are suddenly red hot. I don’t know if it’s the news of Tom Benson buying the franchise or what, but the Hornets have now won 4 straight games and 6 of their last 8 to pull the Cavaliers just 2 games ahead of them. That’s right, folks, the Cavaliers have a legit shot at finishing 3rd worst in the NBA.

Here’s a breakdown of the odds difference from 5th, 4th, and 3rd:

5th Worst

4th Worst

3rd Worst

1st Pick 8.8% 11.9% 15.6% 2nd Pick 9.7% 12.6% 15.7% 3rd Pick 10.7% 13.3% 15.6% 4th Pick 0% 9.9% 22.6% 5th Pick 26.1% 35.1% 26.5%

 

So there you have it. If you are so inclined to root for the Cavaliers to lose for the better draft odds, there’s your breakdown of what you’re rooting for. Indeed, if the Cavaliers were to end up 3rd worst, they would improve their chances of getting Anthony Davis by 7% over where they are currently at. By no means a huge improvement, but you also can’t say that jump isn’t statistically insignificant.

More importantly though, is how many players you feel comfortable with the Cavaliers picking. Me? I like Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bradley Beal. Sure, guys like Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb, and Thomas Robinson are fine players. But I really want the Cavaliers to get one of Davis, MKG, and Beal. So I’m hoping the Cavaliers can end up with a top 3 pick.

The team with the 5th worst record has a 29.2% chance of picking in the top 3. The 4th worst team has a 37.8% chance. The 3rd worst team has a 46.9% chance of picking in the top 3. So while the difference in odds of picking first don’t change by all that much going from 5th worst to 3rd worst, the odds of picking in the top 3 changes by 17.7% going from 5th to 3rd.

So am I rooting for the Cavaliers to lose to the Detroit Pistons (22-38, 10th in the East)tonight? Not exactly. In fact, not at all. I want to see the Cavaliers bounce back and show a much stronger effort than they did in the loss to Orlando on Sunday. I want to see some breakout performances from Tristan Thompson, Lester Hudson, Donald Sloan, and Manny Harris. I want to see the Cavaliers come away with a nice win over a struggling Pistons team.

The problem is, the Cavaliers might not have the talent to do it. It’s funny, when I wrote my preview about tanking, it was before the last game against the Pistons. At the time, the Cavaliers were ahead of the Pistons in the standings and were 8th worst in the NBA. The Pistons were figuring things out and won 5 times in a 6 game stretch.

Evidently Detroit got the tanking memo, though, because they have since lost 5 of their last 6 games. The Cavaliers have an excuse. They’re decimated by injury with arguably 3 of their 4 best players injured (Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving, and Daniel Gibson). I don’t know what the Pistons’ excuse is. They’re fully healthy and they have some really good players like Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, and Brandon Knight.

If you want a measure of what tanking is and is not, watch what happens in this game. This game should give some insight into the mentality of these teams. Is there any pride left in these players on either team? Which team is going to prove they want this game and go out and win it? Or have both teams given up and decided to just let the ping pong balls keep pilling up in the laps? I feel like this game will tell us a lot about the mental toughness of these two teams.

_____

Image Credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

USWNT start Olympic qualification in style by scoring in first 12 seconds

Magic Johnson wants Peyton Manning to join Rams

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker