NBA Reportedly Passes Anti-Tanking Draft Reform, Player Resting Rules

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2017

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announces the draft position for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the NBA Board of Governors passed new rules for draft lottery reform and player resting.

Wojnarowski noted that the new lottery system meant to curb tanking will be in place for the 2019 NBA draft.

As part of the reformed lottery, the team with the NBA's worst record will no longer have sole possession of the best odds to get the No. 1 overall pick, as seen in this chart tweeted by Wojnarowski:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Here is an ESPN graphic on how NBA Draft lottery odds change in 2019 https://t.co/Jk8X7q0J3Z

Each of the three worst teams will have an equal chance to get the first pick at 14 percent, whereas the worst team used to have a 25 percent chance followed by the second-worst at 19.9 percent and the third-worst at 15.6 percent.

Wojnarowski noted only the Oklahoma City Thunder voted no on the changes, with the Dallas Mavericks abstaining from the vote. 

Although the new system doesn't necessarily give teams that are out of contention any incentive to win, it lessens the likelihood of a tanking team getting rewarded with the top selection.

Player rest became a hot-button issue last season when top teams rested their best players in nationally televised games.

The most notable examples were the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs utilizing skeleton lineups in a game against each other, and the Cleveland Cavaliers sitting LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wojnarowski reported on Sept. 18 that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was pushing for a rule that would result in teams being fined if they sat healthy star players in nationally televised games or multiple healthy starters in regular-season games.

Silver will have discretionary power in fining teams for resting healthy players, and teams will be encouraged to do so for home games if they feel they have to. The rested players will also be required to be present on the bench, per Wojnarowski. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported Silver could fine teams up to $100,000. 

In an effort to curb the need for teams to rest healthy players, the league reduced the number of back-to-back games from 16.3 to 14.4 per team in 2017-18.


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