Behind a push by Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA is seeking change to its Draft Lottery system, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Sources: The NBA’s pursuing a vote on NBA Draft Lottery reform before the start of season. Story on ESPN: https://t.co/P4nrdIhXqe
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 7, 2017
The reason the NBA is aggressively seeking change is largely due to teams tanking in order to improve their chances of landing a top pick in the draft. Teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers have blatantly shunned putting better talent on their rosters in recent years. In putting out a noncompetitive product, teams take advantage of the NBA’s weighted lottery system. That’s because under the current system, the team with the league’s worst record is guaranteed a top-four pick in the draft.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2017
Per Wojnarowski, the proposed change would flatten the odds of obtaining the draft’s top pick for all non-playoff teams. Additionally, an idea that may end up implemented along with the flattened odds is capping the number of times a team can receive the top overall draft pick in a given number of years. Several other rules may also end up included when all is said and done.
The NBA first implemented the draft lottery system in 1985. That year, the New York Knicks won the first pick. They ultimately selected Patrick Ewing out of Georgetown. Since then, NBA conspiracy theorists contend then-Commissioner David Stern rigged the inaugural lottery so that the draft’s best player could land in the league’s biggest market. That event has henceforth been dubbed “The Frozen Envelope.” That’s because – as the theory goes – Stern selected envelopes with team’s logos on cards inside a Bingo-style contraption, but all the while knew which envelope held the Knicks logo because it was cold, having been placed in a freezer directly before the lottery.
The video doesn’t do Stern any justice, as he undoubtedly shuffles through a few envelopes before pulling out the one representing the Knicks. While the theory seems to make sense on all sides, it’s still far-fetched. If the theory was to be true, Stern hypothetically could have faced business fraud charges that could have landed him in prison. Thanks to the internet, you can decide for yourself:
Assuming the NBA is measured and thoughtful in their approach to draft reform, it will most likely make for a better product. It’s irrational to think that players willingly lose games, and in that sense, tanking is a bit of a misnomer. However, some NBA general managers and owners have absolutely made a decision to put a poor roster together in order to build through the draft, and that decision is an injustice to the league and its fans.
Even if new legislation is passed in the near future, it most likely won’t be implemented for a couple years. This means that the current lottery will go on for at least the 2018 NBA Draft. This move does serve to further illustrate how Adam Silver is the most forward-thinking, progressive commissioner currently overseeing any American sports league. His decision-making track record remains impeccable.
NBA teams have taken advantage of the system at the cost of the fans for long enough, and stopping tanking is something that most fans want. If the draft reform is approved, it’s unlikely that it will be the issue that produces Silver the most backlash.