The Los Angeles Clippers won the Blake Griffin sweepstakes, and will select him #1 in the upcoming NBA Draft. The lottery is certainly exciting, but not without its problems. It should be changed.
Currently, the system incentivizes losing. We saw it with the 2006-07 Celtics and the 2007-08 Heat. If you are a bad team, your smartest rebuilding strategy is to tank, increasing your odds of selection. Teams benefit more from finishing last with 15 wins than just missing the playoffs with 40 wins.
Teams also get caught in the middle. They are not good enough to win the title. They are not bad enough to improve through the draft. They muddle through the mediocre motions, toiling for the right to be beaten by the top teams in the first round every season.
Here is a simple change. Keep the lottery for the top three picks. Include every team in the league, with an equal chance of winning. After the top three, include the teams in reverse order of finishing.
It removes tanking from the equation. Bad teams will still get to draft in the top ten, but won’t be inspired to purposely lose.
This would also offer teams a respite from the mediocrity. Rather than saddling Derrick Rose with Memphis’ many sins, sometimes it is better if he can go to a team on the cusp of competitiveness, like the Bulls.
Maybe the Celtics or the Spurs end up with the number one pick. Have dynasties ever led the league astray?
Also, bring back the colored balls and draw them live.