NBA considering changes to lottery

LAS VEGAS — The NBA is weighing dramatic changes to the lottery intended to further deter tanking, reported Wednesday, noting the shift could take effect as soon as the 2015 drawing to determine the draft order.

The proposal, different than the so-called Wheel plan that received attention early last season, calls for at least the four teams with the worst record in the league to have the same chance at landing No. 1 in the ping-pong drawing. While the odds are still open to revision from the current 11 percent, according to the Grantland story by Zach Lowe citing anonymous sources, the numbers would decrease beginning with the club with the fifth-worst finish.

The odds for the team with the best record among the lottery entrants would increase, though, a sign the league wants to give franchises scheduled to pick later a greater chance to jump to near the top on lottery night. The new terms under consideration call for a 2-percent chance to go from 14th to first, the report says, compared to .5 percent in the 2014 drawing.

The suggested plan also calls for the ping-pong balls to determine the order of the first six selections, a change from the process in place of the drawing for the top three, with teams then falling in order based on worst record.

League officials here for summer league and key meetings, including the Board of Governors gathering the day before, made it clear Wednesday that the new proposal is only in the discussion stages. The Competition Committee has not approved anything on the subject, a necessary step before it gets sent to the Board of Governors to be voted on, with the likelihood that whatever makes it out of committee would almost certainly be ratified by the Board. suggested a series of changes after the Cavaliers won the lottery for the second year in a row and third time in the last four tries, continuing the trend of the team with the worst record rarely getting the top pick. That fact should discourage tanking on its own. Not only is there nothing in the Grantland report that suggests the league will implement rules to stop that trend, the suggested new direction would increase the odds of teams that finished with better records, immediately after Cleveland won with a 1.7-percent chance, ninth-best, at No. 1.

Among the suggestions in May:

*Create tiers. Hold a lottery for the teams with the worst three records to determine one through three, draw another set of ping-pong balls for the next four, then the next four, and then the next three. Or some similar combination. But no one should go from ninth-best odds to No. 1.

*Make the lottery odds based on the last two finishes, maybe longer. No one would purposely be bad two seasons in a row for what would still be the possibility of the top choice, especially when it would be more difficult to know for sure two years out who would be in the draft and who stays out. For a chance — a chance — at No. 1 when the numbers show the payoff almost never happens. The obvious drawback is that it hurts teams in transition and genuinely in need of a prime selection right away, as was the case, for example, of the Celtics going from a final playoff push with a veteran team to splitting with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to begin the next generation. But a two-season body of work is an accurate read on a franchise, not about dealing with injuries or its ability to commit to stockpiling ping-pong balls.


  1. kenny says:

    the team with the best record that doesn’t make the playoffs gets best odds so there is no reason to throw games

  2. jesse says:

    most of these ideas are why fans are not in charge…

  3. notbias says:

    First of all…..The same team should NOT get a Top 3 pick 2 years in a Row. Secondly, The All-star game that is played should either dictate what conference gets Home court advantage in the finals, or what conference gets the advantage at a Top Pick in the draft!! Im so sick of all the stars and future stars slowly MIGRATING to the East!!!! Just because its a trash conference.

    • jesse says:

      Making the ALL-Star game Which is an Exhibition game have influence on the NBA finals is the dumbest idea ever. MLB should have never done that. I think the team with the best regular season record deserves that honor not the collection of all stats who happend to win an exhibition game. If you want better regular season games to watch you have to make it worthwhile to the players on teams that have already locked up a playoff spot to want to win every game.

  4. Mahnoo-ael says:

    I’d give more percentage to the best teams excluded from playoffs, in descending order, quantity to be determinated. Every team would compete until the end to gain every single hundreth or get the playoffs. Other aspects to take into account could be last year position, same conference/division teams positions, # games close to playoffs,etc.

  5. Bill says:

    I think they should make the worst record team not participate in the lottery at all – that way teams will try to win in an attempt to avoid the last spot.

  6. Brian Thomas says:

    I think each team should have only one ping ball. Giving each team the same odds of getting the number one pick regardless if they finished with the worst record in the league or just barely missed the playoffs. With all lottery teams having the same odds there’s no guarantee off getting the top pick. So why tank?

    • j says:

      Won’t work. Teams will then start missing the playoffs purposely, especially those who are on the brink.

      • Carl says:

        For what? A simple SHOT at the #1 pick? There’s no guarantee you get it.

      • Carlo says:

        No. Playoffs are a big business. If you can get to them, you try hard. If you can’t… Well, maybe you’re tempted on tanking.

        I think equal chances to all non-PO’s teams is the best. So, the teams trying hard to get the PO’s can always aspire to a consolation prize. Also, there’s the chance that good young college players go to decent teams, instead of mis-managed ones which will ruin them in their rookie year(s).

  7. Rich says:

    It’s really simple people, every single team that does not make the playoffs would have the exact same chance to win the lottery. This way you don’t reward whoever loses the most with a better chance to win. Exact same chance of wining the lottery for every non-playoff team would make teams think twice about tanking and definitely leave it up to REAL chance to win the lottery (no more Cleveland back to backs).

  8. Sixersfan says:

    I think that the lottory should be done away with all together. My Idea I call a cap exclusion system.
    -The teams with the 14 worst records can negotiate contracts with incoming rookies.
    -The team with the worst record can offer the most money to the rookie and the amount decreases as the pick gets lower .
    – Teams 1-5 can offer 5 year contracts the first 3years do not count against the cap essentially giving teams 3 years to evaluate there prospect while maintaining room under the cap.
    -Teams 15-30 only get 1 year of cap exclusion.
    -The second round is selected in the current format.
    -These rookie exclusions are tradeable but you can only utilize one scale per prospect.

    all selections are revealed on draft night.

    I like this method because it gives teams the ability to do there do diligence and it makes it more like the recruiting process for college. a team can offer what they desire to a rookie and the rookie can choose were they would feel they could contribute the most. Because they got to choose out of the 14 worst teams in the nba

  9. The 4 worst teams who played above 0.350 play each other for the first 4 picks; each team picking in the order that they win. The NBA and the OWNERS can make extra money, and the fans will love it!!

  10. Aussie Pete says:

    Besides Tim Duncan @ the spurs no other player in the last 20 years has been drafted no.1 and won a championship with that team, In fact beside the spurs no team has won a championship after having the no1 pick since the lakers in the 80’s.
    Who would want to have the no.1 pick?

    • Carlo says:

      Anybody thinking they could get a profit out of it.

      There’s no cospiracy about getting 1st pick. It’s just that it’s very difficult to understand how good a college guy will be in the NBA and also it’s even more difficult to build a winning team around a top pick.
      And, it’s almost impossible to win a title the year after a 1st pick ’cause usually when you get 1st pick you’re the worst team in the League and it’ll not be that pick to turn you istantly to the best one. It takes time. Then, if you’re smart, you can be able to build a winning team quickly. If you’re Cavs, it’ll take you ages.

    • kucs says:

      And how did the Spurs get that no. 1 pick in ’97 once robinson was injured?

    • j says:

      I think the correlation has more to do with the fact the teams who have a #1 pick tend to have poor coaching and front office. A player who is drafted #1 won’t fix these short comings to the effect of a championship.

  11. DFresh says:

    i believe the system is kinda flawed right now just for the fact that the west is so dominant right now or the east is weaker (pick your poison), for two reasons
    1. teams in the west finishing 9th or 10th be having better records than teams in the east that finish like 7th or 8th, stick with me I’ve heard an idea about how to fix that on first take or pti (don’t remember where or who’s it was)
    2. a team in the west finishing 10th would have a higher pick than a team finishing 7th in east when the team in the west is clearly better than a team in the east.

    the solution i have kinda causes another issue, it might ruin the whole east versus west thing but possibly give us the fans a better overall product from the nba.

    the suggestion i heard on espn was to take the top 4 teams from the east and the top 4 from the west and the next 8 teams get in based on records. this is where things get weird cause with this format you might get a west vs west or east vs east final, but regardless you would have the best teams playing each other. any suggestions on this leave a reply.

    that fixes my issue with the playoffs, with that in mind my draft idea kinda fits with that kind of playoff format.
    30 teams in the nba
    16 make the playoffs
    14 dont
    of the 14 that don’t you take their records and average the wins and losses
    now take the bottom 7 teams (hard to believe that 7 teams would tank) and just give them an equal chance to get the number 1 pick via a lottery, and do so for all 7 picks, this way a team that tanks could possibly tank and end up with a number 7 pick.

    picks 8-14, worst record gets 8, next gets 9 and so on

    this is where things get interesting, plenty of great talent has come from the second round like paul milsap, monta ellis, marc gasol, gilbert arenas, manu ginobili just to name a few.

    so for the second round you do sort of the same thing but instead the top half of the 14 get picks 1-7 in the second round, its not much but still kind of a reward for teams that just miss out of the playoffs gave a good fight. this means that a non playoff team like the suns would end up with a pick of 8-14 in the first right and a 1-7 pick in the second round.

    for the teams that make the playoffs obviously the finals champ gets pick 30 and the runner up gets 29 for pick 28 you take the two teams that made it to the conference finals and lost and give the 28th pick to the team with the better record so indiana would get 27 and okc would get 28 and so on and so on.

    this was a lot but i put a lot of thought into this and would love to know what you guys think. and now as i read over, i think i got all of my errors but these draft changes can go without having to change the playoffs, but i feel kinda salty when a team like the suns misses the playoffs because they’re in the west and if they were in the east could possibly have the number 4 seed.

  12. joe says:

    About time! I think its fixed how could cleavland land the top pic 3 of 4 yrs..happend since they lost LeBron now they have him back they decide to change it??

  13. ron says:

    they should have owners fist fight for it

  14. OldCelt says:

    Anything that doesn’t give Clevland three no.1 picks in four years is good by me. And now they have LBJ as well. I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but this is getting out of hand …

    • jesse says:

      Yes I’m really Sure the NBA wants a small market team that no one watches to get all the #1 picks for 3 out fo 4 years….NOT LIKELY…. IF it was the KNICKS or NETS getting all those picks then you would have a plausible theory..

  15. Dave Leeky says:

    I think what some of you are forgetting is that for small market teams, the draft is the only way you can build your team. If you are Utah you can’t attract major free agents, so unless you get top draft picks you are continually average. The Jazz tried to stay competitive with Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap and all we were getting was swept in the first round or narrowly missing the playoffs. So we went for the full rebuild and went young; it wasn’t tanking, they were trying to win, but you don’t win young.

  16. Dennis says:

    I think they should just go with the old style and drop the draft lottery thing. Like instead of having a draft lottery giving teams chances why not worst record gets first pick and second worst record gets second and so on and so forth. True that team can end up signing really good players down the road and get a shot at the title(example: Cavs having first pick two years in a row and now got back LeBron James) but changing it some other way with still the draft lottery not only sounds really random but it’s like too much work really. Why not just give the first pick to the worst record and then if tie than flip a coin or something. Do what the NFL does instead of trying to change how the lottery should be. And I sort of agree with that no first pick two years in a row thing. If they do get the first pick have it be changed to the second automatically and then give them the first pick of the second round instead. Second worst team gets first. Sounds stupid but hey it’s something.

    • KR says:

      um… this is precisely NOT done because of tanking! if you want the #1 pick and you’re bad, you just have to make sure you’re the worst – ie- purposely losing games

  17. 'Melo says:

    Putting a threshold at “worst 4” or whatever will just shift the “tanking region” higher or lower.

    The BIG difference is: are gonna make the playoffs or not? To make playoffs means a lot of money for franchises and nobody would tank to get the 9th rank if they have an opportunity to grab the 8th and make the PO’s.

    Therefore, as there’s a risk for the worst teams to tanking while the so-and-so teams just couldn’t make it, I suggest giving equal lottery chances to all non-PO’s teams.

    Obviously, any solution has its drawbacks. In this case, a team like last season Suns – which were much better than some PO’s eastern teams – could grab a top pick. But then that could be seen as a reward for not giving up and trying hard to the end.

  18. boggled says:

    A team shouldn’t be allowed to win the lottery 2 years in a row. The team that wins should be disqualified from the #1 pick the next year (possibly disqualify from the #2 pick or more as well). That way you wouldn’t have teams perpetually tanking and guarantees that a different team will get the #1 pick the next year. Much more fair than random probability.

  19. Drew says:

    Teams must finish season above 0.350

    to make the TOP 4 Lottery positions

    All 7 teams below 0.350 TANKED

  20. Drew says:

    Minimum WINNING PERCENTAGE to make the TOP 4 Lottery positions

    Teams must finish season above 0.350

    Minimum 28-30 wins needed

    Obvious that all 7 teams below 0.350 TANKED

    Playing above 0.350 creates a better league overall, better to watch on TV, with all teams upping their game since the bad teams have to win a certain number of games. More competitive games.

    Milwaukee started slow and stayed slow
    Philly saw the opportunity and took a dive
    Utah followed that idea
    Boston wanted to tank badly but Rhando wanted to up his trade value from mid-season and won useless games causing Boston to win more than Danny Ainge wanted
    Lakers saw fit to list most players as inactive, shut down Kobe and Nash

    • Mike says:

      As a Utah fan, I have to disagree. Utah could have easily started the players that are young and inexperienced. Instead they started Jefferson and put him in at the end of games to try and win, much to the frustration of my brother, who wanted the Jazz to tank. Also, Tyron Corbin was doing everything he could to win so that he could keep his job as head coach. Utah ended up letting him go because he didn’t win.

  21. Jose says:

    I suggest that the two top NBA Teams who has a worst record automatically goes for #1 & #2 deal done.. then the 3rd worst -up.. goes for lottery draw.. i guess this would be fair for all teams that wont be able to play in the playoffs

  22. Zach says:

    What about taking the two teams from the bottom of each conference, and eliminating them from contention for the first overall pick, and instead only allowing them to pick 4-7? This would encourage winning and not finishing last, and widen up the lottery, as only 10 teams would be in the running for the number one pick. The NBA has made it clear that they reward winning; but they’re rewarding losing by offering the top chance at the top pick to the worst team.

    • KR says:

      has some merit, but then you will punish teams who try but are just terrible. you’ll still have teams tanking to be second worst.

  23. The lottery should just be amongst the worst 10 teams. No one moves up by chance. No Cleveland buncoing Detroit.

  24. JohnfrmCleveland says:

    I like the system just the way it is.

    signed, a Cavaliers fan

  25. A.J. says:

    Hey, Howard-Cooper, what’s your buddy Antawn Jamison up to these days?

  26. allaroundballer says:

    You know what, cavs won the lottery is a moral lesson. No thanking and always hope for a better future no matter who left you. Any rule got its own crack, you can plug this or that but in the end any team still need hard work n a little luck

    • The 4 worst teams of the season would have to play above 0.350 to play in a 4-game elimination tournament; the winners get the picks in the order of winning records. First place gets number 1 pick, second place gets number 2 pick ,ect..

      • just let d league compete says:

        Make a system where the worst team is demoted to the D-League and the best team from the D-League is promoted to the Nba thën just let the lottery Work is magic as usual, teams will be more scared off demotion than interested in tanking to get the top pick.

      • Slim says:

        LOL, I started to type just that. That is how they do it in soccer overseas. It would really make all teams play the behinds off.

      • KR says:

        but the d league team won’t have an NBA quality roster.
        so do they get to do over their squad and pillage from the demoted team’s roster? otherwise, they’ll just be back in the d league 12 months later…