NBA Draft Lottery 2012: 5 Ways the NBA Needs to Change the Lottery

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2012

NBA Draft Lottery 2012: 5 Ways the NBA Needs to Change the Lottery

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    Every season the NBA Draft lottery comes and leaves a week's worth of controversy in its wake.  

    Every year, it's a new contrivance, a new way that David Stern and the evil powers that be are manipulating their league.  

    This year's victims were the Charlotte Bobcats and the benefactors were the league-owned (for now) New Orleans Hornets.  

    It's obvious that something needs to change about the process, but what?  How can we make the process better and, at the same time, more entertaining?  

    Follow along to find out, and don't be afraid to leave your own ideas in the comments...

5. Celebrity Cameos as Team Representatives

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    For some teams, the NBA Draft lottery is a franchise-altering event that catapults a flailing franchise into national prominence.  

    For other teams, it's an inane process that involves an uncomfortable team executive sitting around with an awkward smile pasted on his/her face when the camera pans in their direction.  

    If the NBA is insistent in forcing a half-hour of programming out of two minutes of content, why not make it fun for fans and have semi-associated celebs represent teams?

    Wouldn't you be more interested in, say, what Lil' Wayne has to say about the Hornets winning the No. 1 overall pick than Dell Demps giving you an empty answer about Anthony Davis?

    Granted, it's easier said than done to get free celebrity appearances, but here's what this year's (admittedly overly optimistic) list would have looked like:

    1, 10.  New Orleans Hornets - Lil' Wayne

    2.  Charlotte Bobcats - Michael Jordan 

    3.  Washington Wizards - The Obama Girls

    4.  Cleveland Cavaliers - Usher

    5.  Sacramento Kings - Chris Webber

    6, 11.  Portland Trailblazers - Matt Groening

    7.  Golden State Warriors - Mark Curry (mainly because I loved "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper")

    8.  Toronto Raptors - Drake

    9.  Detroit Pistons - Clint Eastwood

    12.  Milwaukee Bucks - Bob Uecker

    13.  Phoenix Suns - Alice Cooper

    14.  Houston Rockets - Hakeem Olajuwon

4. Have the Projected Top Picks Be Present

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    There's no way the NBA would ever allow this, but just imagine this as the green room before the green room.  In this case, we would get real-time reaction shots as the lottery is going down.  

    Imagine the relief on Anthony Davis' face when he realizes he doesn't have to propel the entire Bobcats franchise by himself, followed by the horror of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist realizing he has the pressure of bucking nearly a decade's worth of bad Michael Jordan draft picks.  

    Sure, most of the time, we'd get the same deadpan smiles/monotone answers we get during the draft process.  But, hey...we're trying to fill a half-hour people.  

3. David Stern Needs to Be Present

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    As Deadspin's Barry Petchesky pointed out last week, the draft lottery is fixed every season regardless of which team wins.  

    We're all obviously being facetious because no one with a modicum of intelligence actually thinks the draft is rigged.

    But in the post-Donaghy, post-"basketball reasons" era, it's irresponsible of NBA commissioner David Stern to not be on hand for the yearly dose of controversy, especially this season.  To make Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have to deal with the repercussions of a league-owned team winning the league's draft lottery just seemed off.  

2. Change the Odds to Avoid Tanking

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    The NBA introduced the lottery system in 1985 to combat rampant tanking from teams trying to acquire the No. 1 pick.  

    Twenty-seven years later, we know the lottery system has done little, if nothing at all, to avoid such practices. The final months of the season are filled with the Jerome Moisos and Tyronn Lues getting run to improve their team's chances of winning the lottery.

    This season saw the Golden State Warriors successfully tank to protect their first-round draft choice from going to the Utah Jazz. 

    The league needs to create a system where teams aren't rewarded for throwing games, but doesn't create a perpetual basement effect.

    What I propose is simplifying the lottery process and creating a system of tiers to avoid tanking.

    Here's my plan:

    1.  There are a total of 100 lottery balls (number could easily change) to be divided among the 14 non-playoff teams.

    2.  Teams with the worst through fifth-worst records each get a 10 percent chance of winning the lottery (10 lottery balls).

    3.  Teams with the sixth-worst through 10th worst records each get an eight percent chance of winning the lottery (8 lottery balls).

    4.  Teams with the 11th through 14th worst records each get a five percent chance of winning the lottery (5 lottery balls).  

    Granted, the numbers might need some tweaking as time goes by, but my plan would hopefully be a first stage in finding the desired middle ground between helping the league's worst teams and discouraging tanking.

1. Transparency

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    In an ideal world, ESPN would broadcast the lottery drawing live.  Unfortunately, that's only feasible if you're interested in creating a program with the entertainment value of Franklin & Bash.

    It is feasible, however, to run cameras during the lottery ball drawing process and release the footage online for interested parties/media.  You could even include the process of placing the lottery balls in the machine.

    That wouldn't stop people from creating "doctored footage" conspiracy theories, but it would show fans that the NBA is interested in giving their fans peace of mind and make the draft process better as a whole.