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Volume 24 No. 116
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NBA Competition Committee To Consider Draft Lottery Reform Proposal This Week

The NBA’s competition committee "meets to discuss lottery reform later this week," but adopting a new proposal is "not a slam-dunk," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. Some mid- and small-market teams believe a rule to discourage tanking "will hurt their chances of acquiring a franchise-altering player through the draft." NBA owners "voted on lottery reform" before the start of the '14-15 season, and it was a "similar proposal as the one up for discussion now." While 17 voted in favor of lottery reform, it "requires three-quarters of a vote to pass a proposal." There were "mitigating factors" in '14. The league "knew a new TV deal and new collective-bargaining agreement would impact team decisions and was hesitant of adopting lottery reform before those two things were in place." But lottery reform has "remained a topic since then." In general, the NBA "dislikes the notion of a team starting the season with the viewpoint that the best outcome is being the worst team, and there is disdain for the perception of tanking." By flattening the lottery odds, the league "believes it is removing the idea that a team has to be the worst of the worst to improve." Supporters of the proposal "reason that bad teams in need of help can still improve through the draft without 'tanking.'" The league’s proposal is also "aimed at reducing mid- and late-season tanking" (USA TODAY, 9/12).

WAITING ON CHANGE: In DC, Tim Bontemps wrote the most "egregious examples of tanking in recent years involve teams going out of their way to be as awful as humanly possible." Under the current system, it "makes sense for teams to deliberately tank." With the difference between the odds of winning the top pick varying from 25% for having the worst record to the 4.3% for the seventh-worst record, it is "logical for teams to increase their odds as much as possible." That is why the Suns put G Eric Bledsoe "on ice for the final month of the regular season, which is exactly the kind of action the league is trying to prevent." The proposal being examined by the competition committee, which would "even out the odds among the top teams contending for a lottery spot, will make moves such as the Suns' unnecessary." It also is a "creative way of implementing what has long seemed like the most obvious way to fix this problem -- going back to the flat lottery system, when all 14 teams that missed the playoffs had the same chance to jump into the top three -- without making teams think they might be better to avoid making the playoffs to have a chance to jump to the top of the heap and get a stud in the draft instead" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/11).