I don’t follow basketball much, but I hear a little bit about it as I listen to the news, traffic, weather, and sports during my commute. Every year, some people have complaints about the NBA lottery pick system. Why their draft can’t be like everyone else’s, I’m not sure.
But people were proposing changes to the lottery draft format. Most proposals are intended to curb the motivation for teams to lose on purpose in order to get a better draft. One proposal that I remember was to give more ping-pong balls to the non-playoff teams with the better records. That would decrease the incentive to lose, but that would be counter to the purpose of the draft – to help bad teams.
That whole sports-talk radio bit got me thinking as to other ways the NBA could run its draft. Here are my proposals, if they are intent on ignoring the simplest process of just basing it on record:
It would make as much sense as the current system, but be more entertaining. Make it a giant Plinko board, with the names of all the available draft picks at the bottom. They would have to have all the number combinations as separate ping-pong balls, instead of just 14 balls like they have currently. But then the commissioner just dumps all the balls at once and then it’s a race to the bottom!
- Silent Auction
Not as entertaining as Plinko, but perhaps some more drama possible. Instead of a certain number of ping-pong ball combinations, each team would get a certain number of Draft Bucks they could spend. Worse teams would get more Draft Bucks. I think this would work better if it applied to the whole draft, not just the first part. Then teams could overspend for one player if they wanted, at the expense of their second round. On second thought, this might be too much like a salary cap, and fans might want something different.
- White Elephant-Style
That’s right – stealing. The draft would occur with the best team going first and the worst team last. A team could draft anyone off the board, or steal a player who was drafted by an earlier team. The NBA would set limits on how many steals are allowed and such. Possibly confusing, but definitely more exciting.
Any other ideas for how to improve (or at least change) the NBA draft?
Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.
1 Samuel 14:42