If teams are tied with the same record, how is it determined which team gets which draft pick? This is of particular importance to the Bulls, since the Knicks could end up tied with Charlotte, Minnesota, Sacramento, Portland and Philadelphia for the same record. Putting aside the possible effect on the Bulls' lottery chances, the answer could easily be the difference between drafting 6th and getting, say, Joakim Noah (imperfect, but still a good fit for the Bulls) versus drafting 10th and getting god knows who. --Peter, Chicago

Watch NBA-TV this Friday. After the end of the regular season, the NBA has drawings to break ties for the draft, for lottery and non-lottery teams. Basically, they put ping pong balls in a hat--technically a half basketball. I'm not sure if it is synthetic or not and whether there could be a paper cut issue. Say two teams have 50 wins, balls with their logos on it go in the bowl to be picked out to decide who gets the higher pick, for example, 19 or 20. Bulls fans are concerned with the lottery teams all hanging around 32 wins with the Knicks. It's the same system, but with the lottery teams it goes by number of ping pong ball chances. Say two teams have the same record and that position has 151 chances. If two teams are tied with the same record, they divide the number of balls and the team that "wins" the drawing gets the extra ball, meaning if there were 150 balls or chances at that spot, one would get 76 and the other 75. Got any of that? The short answer is for lottery teams with the same record there is almost no difference in their chances in the lottery with 1,001 combinations. Yes, better to just wait for the results in May.

I want to know how the Bulls currently have the second seed if the rankings are based on division winners and then the teams with the best records? --Tania, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

We're all confused, as well. We think it has something to do with the NBA trying to convert to the metric system. The NBA does an awful lot correctly, but the league office can be stubborn and arrogant when it digs in its heels, and David Stern has decided there will be division champions for some reason when no one pays attention to it.

I was in Phoenix the other day and asked Mike D'Antoni about the division championship banners, and he thought for a moment and said he didn't think they had any, but maybe they would get some and hang them up somewhere. It's laughable and produces the inequity of this season of the team with the third best record in the East getting the fifth seed to accommodate the divisions winners.

In the long run, it would have been better for the Pistons to dump games to try to get to No. 2 to get an easier playoff seeding. Because two should play three, and now the one seed plays the third best record in the second round. They changed the seeding last year to make up for the Spurs-Mavs situation with the two top teams meeting in the second round. And there's still the nightmare scenario with a division winner getting a top four seed with the ninth best record.

With so many teams making the playoffs, divisions mean nothing in the NBA like they do in U.S. baseball and football. There should either be two divisions, or no divisions as everyone but the NBA lists standings this time of year by conference since that is how the playoffs work in the NBA.

They also could give teams division banners if they want, which gives the winner something, and seed teams by their record 1-8, which is only fair. But Stern doesn't like to admit mistakes, which is why it took so long to admit the new ball was a mistake. He doesn't want to admit his division concept is a disaster and meaningless, so we're probably stuck with the new, bad math of the NBA.

No matter how much everyone wants to talk about Detroit and Miami, Toronto is the team to beat in the playoffs. Why let them walk through the first round against the Wizards? Toronto is young, athletic and tall. Height is something the Bulls struggle against. I really do not see the Bulls making it past Toronto but it would be a lot easier if the Raptors have to go six or seven games against New Jersey while the Bulls only have to go four games against Washington. So does Skiles have the foresight to lose one when he needs to, or is the magical "50" more important then anything else? --Helen Dean, Gardner, Ill.

I don't see Skiles ever dumping a game, and sometimes you better watch out what you wish for. Yes, there have been occasions teams have benefited from losing, like last season the way the Clippers dumped their way to a better first-round matchup and some years ago when Don Nelson blew games down the stretch to get to the Jazz, whom he did outmatch using small guys on Mark Eaton and pulling a huge upset. I don't see Skiles ever pulling back and doing that, and the No. 2 seed remains the best playoff option for the Bulls, in my opinion. Starting with Washington would benefit everyone and I doubt you'd even need to watch the series. But I'm not as high on Toronto as you are. They don't have Steve Nash, and I think you can attack their guards. Their offense runs much like the Bulls with high screens and the Bulls know it well. Plus, it's an inexperienced playoff team and playoff coach who would be thrilled just to get to the second round. I'd like the Bulls in a relatively short series against them.

Why are the Knicks always complaining about other teams running up the score? Who invented this rule that you're not allowed to blow out the other team when they're playing like crap? Miami didn't whine like this when the Bulls humiliated them on Ring Night. Is it just the Knicks, or do other teams complain about this? --RMT, Gurnee, Ill.

I thought it was was way overplayed, sort of an unwritten rule of journalism -- I wish someone would write these down so we can show people and this won't happen--about not screwing up on a slow news day. It was a blowout game of no consequence, so when Steve Francis said something stupid (yeah, there's news for you) everyone acted like "it was on." Jerome James going after someone in the hallway? The guy couldn't catch Hot Plate Williams after dinner. You play and finish the game and if you don't like what the other team is doing, you play harder. I liked it better when George Karl was running it up against the Knicks earlier this season to get back at him for the Larry Brown mess and the Knicks and Nuggets ended up getting into a fight. Of course, the league didn't like it as much. It's just the product of frustration we see in all sports when a team is losing and can't do anything about it. I'd use that sticks and stones thing, but I don't think that works anymore in our crazed politically correct world.

If the Bulls are going to make a valiant playoff run, they are going to need a big man. So why not pick up Eddie Griffin? I know he is an underachiever but he has never met Scott Skiles. --TJ Alimi, Chicago

I can't recall if Eddie played this season, and if he did he'd be ineligible. I know there's a joke in that not meeting Scott Skiles part, but I can't come up with it. This guy appears to have some kind of serious emotional problems way back to school when he was fighting with teammates. He is the last guy you'd want to see on the Bulls. Maybe next to last. The Bulls did make a run at the trading deadline to try to get Bonzi Wells cheap, which I thought wasn't a bad idea, though if they did it would be the Bulls sending him home last week instead of the Rockets.

What if the Bulls get the No. 2 pick again? And, what if Oden is taken first? Do we draft Durant and try to make him a SG (thus putting BG back into the 6th man, "microwave" spot), or do we trade the pick, either down to pick up a future No. 1, or completely trade out of the draft for a big man? Durant could be extremely special, but would he fit on this team? --Jon Headlee, Richmond, Va.

The Bulls should be so lucky. When you get a good player you take him and figure it out and let him figure it out. The guy will be good, but playing in college these days is like playing in community college 10 years ago. Durant would have to get used to playing defense, which he doesn't do much of, and would have to put on some weight. He'd be a great player to develop, though Gordon would probably kick his butt for the next few years.

Do you think Jermaine O'Neal can opt out or ask for a trade? In that case how would the Bulls convince Bird to trade in the same division? Another option (much cheaper) would be Luis Scola (new All-Time Euroleague best scorer). Spurs still retain his rights, but with a high pick it would be enough. --Guillaume, France

I think O'Neal is gone with the Pacers about out of the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. They'd likely ask way too much, so it doesn't make sense to break up your team for a guy who really never has taken his team anywhere. I don't know much about Scola other than when a guy stays that long in Europe he usually doesn't have much NBA success.

I probably can't imagine how many emails you get about absurd trades that the Bulls should make. Mine, hopefully, will not fall into that category. According to nbadraft.net, the Bulls are projected to have the 10th pick. Assuming the lottery holds close to form, I am thinking package Noce along with that pick for Phoenix's fourth pick to get either Al Horford or Roy Hibbert. I feel Noce would bring some much needed 'D' to the Suns and would also be able to fit in with their up- tempo style. Horford would bring the skills of P.J. Brown, only 20 years younger and a legitimate post game. --Dave, Bloomington, Ind.