Dunk that Sh!t: Racking up Losses, Relocation, and Replacing Regulars

Published: February 12, 2012

In a special Sunday Edition of Dunk that Sh!t, we discuss ping pong balls and expansion vs. relocation

1. How many losses do we need to get to in order to guarantee ourselves a top 5 pick? (Tony Walls via email)

Michael McNamara: Guarantee? Well, if we are talking 100% stone cold, lead pipe lock type of guarantee, all I can do is guarantee you that if the Hornets don’t win another game, they are guaranteed to have a top five pick. As of right now, they have the second worst record in the league and even if the maximum number of teams allowed jumped ahead of them in the lottery (3), they would still select fifth.

Now, realistically? Well, you figure that a bottom four record should secure a top five pick. It is highly unlikely that two teams outside of that bottom four will jump into those top three spots. Since the draft lottery process began, that exact scenario has happened less than 10% of the time. So, bottom four record likely means a top five pick. How many losses will it take to secure a bottom four record- that is the true question. Well, let’s start out West where Sacramento is second in the conference with 17 losses. They, along with Phoenix and Golden State appear to be the only teams that could realistically catch the Hornets in the loss department. As those teams play the Western Conference almost exclusively coming down the stretch, expect at least one of them to struggle as they play superior opponents night after night. My bet of that group to falter would be Phoenix, with Sacramento a close second. A Steve Nash injury or trade could send Phoenix into a tailspin that they might never recover from and statistically speaking, Sacramento is already an inferior team to the Hornets based on point differential. Also, don’t forget that Eric Gordon should be back after the All-Star break.

By then, however, the Hornets will have built such a massive lead in the race to secure the most losses in the Western Conference. Expect New Orleans to be 6-8 games ahead of the second worst team in the West going into the season’s final two months. This means that the Hornets will have to play .500 ball just to catch anybody else out West. Not likely to happen. But the East is a different story. Charlotte, Detroit, and Washington are just plain awful, and Toronto isn’t far off from being in their class. The good news for fans of ping pong balls, however, is that those teams have plenty of games left against each other and somebody HAS to win those games, right? Charlotte, for instance, has 8 games left against the other three, while the Hornets only have 2.

So, perhaps the Hornets get better and maybe they are even better than five or six teams out East when all is said and done. But because of the unbalanced schedule, the Hornets are still the odds on favorite to finish the season with the most losses and a 25% chance at landing Mr. Anthony Davis. To answer your question, I think 49 losses locks you into a bottom four record (and a top 5 pick). Hornets have won 15% of their games so far- they will have to win nearly 33% from here on out to finish with less than 49 losses. The math says we will all be rewarded for this painful season on June 28th.

2. Will Ferrell was great doing intros. If you could have any two people take over Bob and Gil’s role for one night, who would it be? (Jerry Prinestein via email)

Jason Calmes: Statler and Waldorf. It’s perfect. I get the all the puns that I’ve come to expect with my Hornets basketball, but with healthy doses of sarcasm and cynicism. Plus, they sit in the balcony; they are my people.

Michael McNamara: Give me Vince Vaughn and Boom Goes the Dynamite guy. Just watching Mr. Dynamite flub line after line while Vaughn heckles him mercilessly would make any Hornets game watchable for me.

3. Football is talking about expanding (instead of relocating teams). Any chance the NBA does the same thing, or is there still a chance we get moved? (@RR_Billist via Twitter)

Jason Calmes: Don’t place any bets on expansion anytime soon. The most recent work stoppage was due to the owners losing $300m a year. The CBA plugged that hole in the large, but we have yet to see if it fixes the finances of each team for a number of years. There’s a CBA opt-out 5 years following the conclusion of this season, and the CBA ends after 4 additional years. Looking at all that, I think the NBA waits at least 10 years before expanding. I would need to have 30 teams making money in a sustainable fashion before looking for team 31, or 31 and 32.

As far as relocation of the Hornets goes, there’s always a chance. Any team is one natural disaster or legislature that won’t contribute to a new Arena every 20 – 40 years from being relocated. The Hornets have improved their business in the 15 months of NBA ownership, the city and region have responded on all fronts (fan, commercial, government), and owners now receive more basketball related income from the NBA. Arguments can be made that more money could possibly be made moving this team, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, give or take. The smart money is on the NBA having a presence in New Orleans, barring disaster, at least to the middle of the next decade.

Dunk that Sh!t is a recurring piece that you can find only on Hornets247.com. For past DTS posts, click here. To submit a question, email Editor McNamara at mcnamarahornets247@yahoo.com or tweet us with the hashtag #DunkThatShit

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