NBA owners approve reform of draft lottery
NBA owners on Thursday approved draft lottery reform in an attempt to disincentivize losing and curtail teams from trying to get a better chance at obtaining a top draft pick.
The three highest lottery seeds will now each have a 14% chance of getting the top pick compared to 25% for the team with the worst record, 19.9% for the team with the second-worst record and 15.6% for the team with the thirdworst record in the lottery system used since 2005.
“I felt lottery reform was important because there was a perception in many of our communities that the best path to rebuilding their teams was to race to the bottom,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “It became currency in our league so much so that were situations where the teams felt pressure to engage in that strategy even when they didn’t think that was the best strategy to rebuild their team. … I felt it was corrosive to this league.”
Silver acknowledged this isn’t a perfect solution but answers a perception problem while providing substance to the reform. “There was too great an incentive to embark on that strategy,” Silver said.
The chance for the No. 1 pick after the three highest lottery seeds is as follows: Team 4: 12.5%; Team 5: 10.5%; Team 6: 9.0%; Team 7: 7.5%; Team 8: 6.0%; Team
9: 4.5%; Team 10: 3.0%; Team 11:
2.0%; Team 12: 1.5%; Team 13:
1.0%; Team 14: 0.5%
The number of picks determined by the lottery will also increase to four from three, meaning the team with the worst record could fall to the fifth pick compared to the fourth pick in the previous lottery system. The team with the second-worst record will pick no lower than sixth, the third-seed no worse than seventh and the fourth seed no worse than eighth.
The new lottery system will be- gin with the 2019 draft so teams can prepare and plan.
While Silver and the league’s front office pushed for adopting this reform, it is not popular with all team executives, especially ones playing in small and mid-markets.
Some execs in those markets believe the best way to get a franchise-altering player is through a draft and that this reform hurts their chances to draft that kind of player.