Tankable Game: Bobcats vs. Raptors

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterApril 3, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 24:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives around Joakim Noah #13  of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 24, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Rators 102-101 in overtime. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Fantastic! On the heels of last night's Madness conclusion (Conclusion: There's a thin line between it and genius), we have a matchup between two teams that have been mentioned as losing a hypothetical game to the University of Kentucky. This is mostly unfair to the Raptors, who lack the northern exposure to demonstrate that they're merely bad, and not mind-numbingly horrendous. 

Both teams have a great shot at getting Anthony Davis as there is a nearly a 37 percent chance that the 19-year-old defensive savant will land in either woebegone location. I should re-frame that sentence, actually. There is a nearly 37 percent chance that either team gets the No. 1 pick, but the Bobcats have been known to select against logic. I'm sure Michael Jordan is hard at work, seeing if there's some four-year Duke, UNC or UConn player he can take instead. It's really a race against time in that sense. 

While both teams are deep into the ping pong game, only one squad has incentive to tank. Toronto still has to defend draft position against five teams within three games of the Raps, and therefore must lose to keep them at bay. Charlotte does not need to take a dive because they've put plenty in the tank account this year, having already lost 43 out of 50 games. 

In the end, despite all their incentive to lose, I see Andrea Bargnani pulling the Raptors through. He's averaged 23.6 points on 50 percent shooting these past three games, and he's been playing respectable defense as well. Andrea's return couldn't have come at a worse time for a Toronto team desperately in need of an L.