Under the proposal (that needs to be voted on), the team that finishes with the worst record will no longer be given the highest odds to receive the No. 1 pick. Additionally, the teams with the worst three records in the league will have the exact same odds to land the top pick.
“Presently, the NBA team with the worst record can drop no lower than No. 4 from No. 1, but the NBA’s currently proposed legislation could allow that team to drop from first to fifth in the lottery,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. “This would include a domino effect through the lottery, where the second-worst record — presently dropping no lower than fourth — could fall to sixth. Then the No. 3 team could drop as far as seven, and on down, league sources said.”
Therefore, those would be some radical changes that would at least make teams think twice about tanking.
Houston Rockets president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who is considered one of the NBA’s brightest minds, had some strong words about teams who decide to purposely lose in the hopes of rebuilding with a high pick.
“Teams have to go through cycles … What you want to have though is that when a team is in its rebuilding cycle, which every team goes through – we went through it after Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady – you don’t want them to sit around the table and be dreaming of ways [to get worse]. … ‘It’s not good enough to only win 25 games, to actually get the best odds, we have to win 15 games,’” Morey told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck on his Full 48 podcast.
He continued, “It’s just bad for the league that a team in a rebuilding cycle has to think about ‘Maybe I won’t sign a free agent because, oh my goodness, that might win us a few extra games.’ … When you’re down in that rebuilding trough, you shouldn’t have to dream up more ways to be even s–ttier so that you can get the odds at a top player.”
As Morey points out, the organizational commitment to purposely struggle has become a real issue.
“I actually think the problem of going from bad to extremely bad, and the fact that teams will have to take themselves out of free agency – which created a whole bunch of problems with the players’ union – I think that’s a much bigger issue than if you might see a team go ‘Hey, we’re going to win 40 games, maybe we’ll win 39 games [instead, to miss the playoffs.]’ You’re saying, ‘I’m going to give up $10MM+ in revenue from the playoffs and the down-stream [impact on] ratings and season tickets.’”
But, if the new rules are agreed to, Morey thinks that more teams will try to make the playoffs instead of writing off the season early on.
“I think they’ll all choose the playoffs,” he said. “We have teams in the NBA who haven’t made the playoffs in, like, 15 years right now. So making the playoffs is going to look really good to most of them.”