By Gino Rouse
Although the NBA Finals are approaching and nearly every fan is focused on who is going to make it there, there is other arguably bigger news in the NBA. The NBA Draft Lottery is held every year to determine which team will obtain the number one pick in the upcoming draft. In years past this system of choosing the number one pick has been different. The team with the worst record in the NBA had the best chance at the number one pick, 25%. This team would be guaranteed to pick no lower than fourth. Then the team with the second worst record then would have a 19.9% chance at the number one pick. Then the third worst team would have a 15.6% chance at the first pick and so on. This would “guarantee” that each and every NBA team that had bad regular season records would get the opportunity to rebuild through the draft. If the system is set up for bad teams to gain great picks then why change it at all?
Unfortunately, with the old draft lottery system teams had the habit of ‘tanking.’ When an NBA team decides to tank they will intentionally lose games after realizing that they wouldn’t make it to the playoffs. This strategy would then give this team a much better chance of receiving the number one pick and the incredible young talent that comes with it.
With the new system in place, the chance of the teams with the worst records getting the number one pick has been modified. Now, teams with the 3 worst regular season records will all only have a 14% chance of getting the number one pick with the next best odds being only 12.5%. This gives the chance of getting that highly anticipated number 1 pick to a team that didn’t have the worst season. That has now happened. On Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans unexpectedly won the number one pick . The Pelicans only had a 6% chance of getting that number one pick but because everyone else’s percent chance was changed they had a better chance this year than in the past. This leaves teams like the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns, who had terrible seasons, stuck wondering ‘what if’.
This new system will drastically change the NBA as we know it. Regular season games, even towards the end of the season, will stay competitive because there will be no reason to try to lose intentionally. It will also give more teams the chance to draft quality prospects that they might not have have had the ability to pick through the old system. With talent in the NCAA growing exponentially, and more young stars coming from other countries this system, will successfully distribute talented players across the league. The future of the NBA will be even more competitive, which in turn will make it more enjoyable to watch for any fan.