The NBA draft lottery was implemented in 1985 to keep teams from losing on purpose. However, it doesn't do its job effectively. Some teams unable to compete for the title choose to tank a season, hoping to finish with a bad enough record to qualify for a top pick. But is there a better alternative?
On the following slides we will take a look at various options. Some are based on the idea of a weighted lottery, some are pure lottery, but there are also solutions that take out the luck component completely, like the salary-based draft, the wheel of destiny or even a draft tournament.
While they differ greatly in their approaches and effects, they have one thing in common: None of them is perfect by any means. They all have their flaws.
The question is, which one is the least flawed in the sense that it neither encourages losing, nor keeps currently bad teams from eventually becoming competitive.
For example, the original draft system before 1985 was simple, yet it had a major flaw: The teams would draft in reverse order of win-loss records. We can all agree that this would promote losing on purpose even more than the current version.
Vice versa, drafting in the order of win-loss records would mean that good teams get better while bad teams cannot catch up. This would end up in four or five teams playing for the title without any chance of ever changing.
So, what options do we have?
This is the follow-up article to Why the NBA Needs to Change Draft Lottery for the Integrity of the Game.