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Demystifying the Lottery

I actually posted this in the comment section below but I think it deserves its own post and some elaboration, so here you go:

I'm getting increasingly weirded out as I skim the web today.  There's a lot of talk about karma and "deserving" teams and all of that.  It's almost like if we win the lottery people think we've actually done something, like achieved something as a team.  Maybe this is part of what bugs me about this emphasis.  All winning the lottery means is:

1.  You stunk.


2.  You got lucky.

That second part especially is cool and all, but these are not what I'd call grand achievements from a team, organizational, or basketball perspective.  The reward here is completely out of pace with (even opposite to) the achievement and yet many people would consider this as one of the greatest moments in team history.  Doesn't that seem...wrong?  Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but it just seems to me that a team's greatest moments should involve something that happened on the court, or at least something the team had a hand in, not the random bouncing of ping-pong balls.

Also I understand the karma/positive-thinking/goodwill deal, where it came from and how it's intended, but it still makes me itch a little.  If we win it won't mean we were more deserving than other teams.  If we don't win it won't mean the process is more evil than it would have been otherwise.  That's the whole point:  it isn't an achievement and has nothing to do with deserving or's just random.  Sometimes I think the whole karma thing catches on so easily in an attempt to cover up that fact--to bring something that's out of our control (and in some ways senseless) into our grasp.  I can hear echoes of Rasheed Wallace yelling, "Ball don't lie!" every time someone was at the free throw line.  Where is the statistical backup for that assertion?  The truth is the ball lied like freakin' O.J. Simpson every time it was in Steve Nash's hands.  Kobe Bryant's too.  That ball should have taken its fifth amendment rights.  To me this is the lesser side of fandom and I'm uncomfortable with the idea that there's a larger mandate reflected in this drawing.  Even more so since the odds that it will turn out well for us are slim and we are likely to leave disappointed.  The truth is our chips are on the table and everyone is awaiting the roll of the more, no less.  If we're not comfortable with that reality then we should change it, not try to superimpose some moral authority that the process was never meant to hold.

It's not my intention to be Debbie Downer here (wah-wah-WAAAAAAAAAH).  I just think if we walk away rejoicing or cursing we should be doing both for the correct reasons.

--Dave (