This article could have made it into today’s ‘NBA Article Reflecting’ but it was too good and needed its own full length reflection. Brett Edwards of AOL’s Fanhouse wrote up his and some of his colleague’s ideas to fixing the NBA Draft Lottery and that whole absurd tanking situation we are now accustomed to. He puts up some valid points, but his major idea is just not ok and never will be. (Plus he loves Dwyane Wade waaaaaay too much.) Let’s break some of these down and give my input.
The first idea is to reverse the current lottery situation. In other words, he thinks it would work if instead of giving the most lottery ping pong balls to the worst team, you give them to the team that just barely missed the playoffs. Huh? So rewarding the team that worked hard enough to miss the playoffs will get the best chance at a high draft pick? I’m not totally opposed to this but where do you draw the line on this? Do you take the team with the best record that missed or do you take the 9th seeds of each conference and give them equal balls?
My thought, make it all even; everyone gets the same number of balls. This way you have no incentive at tanking and you also don’t feel like your season was a complete waste if you are the Nuggets or Warriors. In the current situation, the teams that barely missed the playoffs are almost penalized for being just not good enough. That’s not right in my book, son! You make it even for all of the teams that miss and then it is a true lottery rather than this weighted junker we have now.
The second idea is to accept the European system and take the bottom feeders of the league each year and drop them to the D-League. Are you kidding me with this one? He actually says something about attendance going up! Hah! So let me think this out. Packing the Boise 5000 fan arena is better than Miami’s 19000+? Are you also going to cut some stars’ salaries in half? I’m not sure how you are going to pay millions playing for D-League crowds. And which TV station is going to pick up those games? The WB? (And no I don’t want to see Wade hitting on Boise chicks before a game.)
I think my questions say enough to option 2?
The third option I actually like a lot. Take the 14 lottery teams and have them play an NIT styled tourney to see who gets the most ping pong balls! Of course as he also points out, this would sort of distract some fans from the actual playoffs and to some the playoffs are already too long. You could play these and just not televise them except on local stations and then when you get to the ‘Lottery NIT Championship of the World’ you could air it on TNT and have the top 5 draft picks in attendance whooping it up?
To make a final point, tanking is something we’ll be stuck with for a long time I’m sure. What I keep reminding myself is that if teams like the Heat are tanking in order to get a solid top 5 pick that could make them even more electrifying next year when Wade and Marion return, I’m ok. I’d rather see that option than Michael Beasley heading to the Grizzlies to waste away for 4 years. I watched these kids star in college and I would like to see them star again in the NBA. As much as I hate Tim Duncan, it was much nicer to see him play with David Robinson than with the Toronto Raptors or Vancouver Grizzlies. (Wow, Rodman averaged 15 rebounds a game and Rod Strickland averaged 10.5 assists during the 97-98 season…who knew?)
I guess it is really all about incentive to keep playing.