New Jersey Nets: Why Winning Now Is Not Bad

Danny PaskasSenior Analyst IApril 3, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 19:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Prudential Center on March 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

With a record of 19-35 and 8.5 games out of the playoffs it should make no sense for the New Jersey Nets to go on a winning streak since each win decreases their chances of getting a high lottery pick in the upcoming draft. Especially after the Gerald Wallace trade makes the Nets surrender the pick unless it lands in the top three.

While losing would be the rational route to go, the Nets are dealing with the irrationality of the draft lottery system and the thoughts of their superstar free-agent-to-be Deron Williams.

Because of this irrationality, the Nets current three-game winning streak, their first of the season, is not all that nonsensical.

As it stands, the Nets are currently tied for the sixth-worst record in the league, which still leaves them with a decent shot at landing a top-three pick in the upcoming draft.

Since the weighted lottery system was introduced in 1990, only three teams with the worst record won the first pick and only five teams with the second-worst record won the first pick.

Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery with the Los Angeles Clippers' pick despite only having a 2.8 percent chance.

In 2008, the Chicago Bulls won the lottery with just a 1.7 percent chance to secure Derrick Rose.

Even the Nets got lucky when they won the lottery in 2000 to land Kenyon Martin, albeit being one of the worst drafts ever.

But when the Nets finished with the league's worst record in the league two seasons ago with hopes of landing Kentucky star point guard with the No. 1 pick, they struck out. Washington and Philadelphia, teams with 20-plus wins, jumped ahead of the Nets, who had 12 wins.

The upcoming draft, which was once touted as being one of the deepest in years, has since cooled off. At this point, there appears to be one game-changer, Anthony Davis, and two other really good prospects in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas' Thomas Robinson.

The rest of the draft has players who may have an impact and great careers in the future. But they are simply not ready to contribute from day one. At least, not like Wallace, who since coming to the Nets in a trade has scored in double-figures in every game but one. He also has had two double-digit rebounding games all while improving the team's defense with his veteran leadership.

What seemed like a horrible trade at first, giving Portland a first-round protected pick only protected through three for Wallace, does not look bad now if you are looking through the eyes of Nets general manager Billy King who is in win-now mode.

While winning now might not hurt the Nets' lottery hopes, as history proves, it can go a long way to leave a lasting impression on Williams as he goes into free agency.

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 19:  Gerald Wallace #45 of the New Jersey Nets attempts a free throw against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Prudential Center on March 19, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

In a recent article on, Williams was quoted saying this:  

“I want to win. At the end of the day, I’m not getting any younger,” Williams said. “I’ll be 28 when I sign this next deal. I have to look for the best situation for me.”

With Wallace on the roster providing a spark, the Nets are showing Williams what they are capable of, even without their leading scorer from last season, Brook Lopez.

They are giving him a team of what could be. A team with two promising rookies in MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams. Anthony Morrow, who is one of the best three-point shooters in the league. Gerald Green, who is now showing the promise that made him a first-round pick out of high school in 2005. Wallace and a returning Lopez.

Those players with money to spend in free agency present a very promising situation for the near future. 

Winning now also does not hurt the Nets' chances of getting Houston's first-round pick, which should land right outside the lottery. The Rockets' pick may be just as good as the fourth pick and on in this year's draft.

If Williams buys in to the Nets, it most likely would have to be because of something tangible.

Winning now is tangible, not losing and hoping and praying the first pick and free agents magically come to them.

The Nets can win now and still do their hoping and praying, only this way, the stink of losing Williams will at least lighten up a little, which in turn just might keep him here.