NBA Might Tweak Lottery Odds To Curb Tanking

nba-draft-lottery

Brian Schmitz
Orlando Sentinel
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

It’s one thing for the NBA to relegate the Magic to persona non grata (no national TV love and unfavorable schedule). It’s quite another for the league to perhaps take away the one club in the bag that they’ve used since Dwight Howard departed.

If commissioner Adam Silver has his way, he’ll make changes to the draft-lottery system in an attempt to reward winning and curtail tanking, perhaps as early as this season.

Oh, yes, tanking — the scourge of our time.

It has to be stamped out, you know, for the sake of the children.

Silver wants to balance out the lottery, maybe awarding the bottom six teams with equal odds for a shot at No. 1. Maybe then a scenario can unfold like it did in … well, May.

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t try to tank last season, but surprisingly won the lottery despite just a 1.7-percent chance and the ninth-worst record (33-49).

All that did was allow the Cavs to pick Andrew Wiggins, trade him in a deal for All-Star Kevin Love and make LeBron James’ homecoming the league’s next feature attraction.

What exactly is Silver’s concern again?

Let’s see: It now has been 10 years since the team with the worst record won the lottery (Orlando claimed Howard at No. 1 in 2004).

Silver is overreacting — as are various critics — to last season’s full-out tanking tactics.

Several team-rebuilding projects and a hot-shot draft class just happened to meet at the intersection of Wiggins & Parker.

Even if it is utilizing the lottery format in place, no club wants to conduct a financially harmful campaign of strategic losing in the hope of landing a franchise star.

No team prefers to painstakingly rebuild with young players and invent mysterious injuries to key players late in the season, opening itself to charges of intentionally losing.

Does anyone really think the Magic, the Sixers or the Bucks want to be in this position?

Orlando is still in recovery after Howard forced a trade. Philadelphia basically fielded a D-League team last season. And what’s confusing is that Silver fiercely defended the Sixers against tanking accusations, even going as far as saying they were “doing the right thing.”

“It’s an insult to the entire league to suggest that these guys are going out on the floor and aren’t doing their very best to win games,” Silver said. “You look at any business, you look at short-term results and long-term results. And if somebody told you a business was going to operate on a quarter-by-quarter [basis], you’d say, ‘That’s not the way to operate a business.’ You’d say, ‘You need a strategy. You need to look at the long-term.’ And I think what this organization is doing is absolutely the right thing.

“What they’re doing is planning for the future and building an organization from the ground level up.”

OK, so the commish did a little public-relations dance in taking up for the Sixers.

Understandably, the Sixers, according to ESPN, are opposed to Silver now suggesting it’s time to change the lottery odds. The Magic also should be annoyed. Picking at No. 4, this time they just missed out on the top three marquee draft choices of Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joe