The NBA hates the Sixers, so they might ditch the lottery


Shoutout to arrogant people who have everything handed to their teams (Yeah Coach K., I’m looking at you). Your steady plan to make sure no teams besides the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and any team who happens to have stolen their superstar, and team from another city (Thunder), or has a future hall of famer who wants to play for their hometown team (Cavaliers), wins a title, appears to be gaining traction.

If you need a translation of what I just said, essentially Adam Silver and the powers that be in the NBA league offices, know that teams now, more than ever, are embracing tanking as a way out of NBA purgatory. And our Sixers are the poster-children for that.

While completely eliminating tanking would be a nearly impossible task for the NBA’s competition committee, Grantland’s Zach Lowe says they are mulling an option that would significantly decrease the effectiveness of the tanking strategy.

"The NBA submitted an official proposal to reform the lottery this week at competition committee meetings in Las Vegas, pushing aside the Wheel idea in favor of a revised weighting system that shifts each team’s odds of getting the top pick, per several sources who have seen and reviewed the league’s proposal.The proposal, which dominated the lottery-reform discussion in league meetings this week, is essentially an attempt to squeeze the lottery odds at either extreme toward a more balanced system in which all 14 teams have a relatively similar chance at the no. 1 pick, per sources familiar with the proposal."

It’s funny to me that the year the team who doesn’t tank wins the lottery, the NBA feels a need to fix the lottery. I mean, the Cavs winning did expose a huge whole in the lottery, but it may have also lured LeBron James back to Cleveland and put an unthinkable amount of money in the pockets of everyone involved with the league, as the league’s TV deal approaches its expiration. I would have thought if anything, the NBA would be more supportive of the lottery after that.

According to Lowe, the proposed “lottery fix”, would give the first five or six teams, nearly identical odds to win the number one pick.

"The league’s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the no. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the no. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system."

Based off of that purposed system, the Bucks, Sixers, Magic, and the Jazz, would have had the top odds to get the number one pick. The Celtics would have had 10 percent odds, the Lakers would be slightly lower than that, and then so on.

I guess I don’t hate that idea as much as when I originally read it, but I don’t think that the team that had the fifth worst record should have only a one percent less chance to win the lottery as the worst team. I don’t necessarily think that the odds couldn’t be improved–the nearly six percent spread between the first and second teams’ odds may be a bit much–but this solution seems rather extreme to me.

The bigger question I have out of all of this, is why would you improve the odds of the lower lottery teams? Maybe if the league cut the lottery to just six or so teams, it wouldn’t take as long for teams to build, and we would see the amount of teams in the lottery two and three straight years drop.

If teams that don’t deserve to win the lottery are given better odds, who does it really help? It just makes you want to assure you are one of the four worst teams, so your odds at landing the number one pick are better.

As for Hinkie’s plan, if it really begins to work within the next year or two, this shouldn’t be an issue. Really, if it works at all, it would have to work within the next three to five seasons, in which the lottery system may be safe, if Lowe’s sources are correct.

"The Wheel proposal, submitted to the league by Mike Zarren, the Celtics’ assistant general manager, called for instituting the Wheel only after all draft picks that have already been traded actually move between the trading partners. Due to the protections on some future first-round picks that have been traded, implementation would have waited at least a half-dozen years."

Lowe does go on to say that Silver is looking at reconstructing the lottery within the next year or two, and frankly, I’m sure he’d find a way around the potential protected pick holdup. But I’d caution commissioner Silver, while tanking has created some bad PR for the league, it’s also generated quite the excitement from fanbases whose teams decided to tank for a chance at a superstar, rather than continuing to be blown out in the first-round by team’s who have already bought stars of their own. I’m not sure decreasing the excitement in those fanbases is really what is best for the game.

I guess in this case, it’s hard for me to put my Philadelphia bias aside. The last time that the Sixers were in the NBA Finals, I was five years old. Since then, I’ve never been more excited about this team, than in Sam Hinkie’s tanking plan. The NBA can still have their big fish, and make their big money while teams tank, so I just don’t get why they feel the need to fix the system, when it really isn’t that broken.

[NBA Lottery Reform Is Coming]