The NBA announced Thursday night that they are abandoning the draft lottery system starting in 2019, and will start with an NFL like-system where the worst team gets the last pick. This is shitty and I don’t like it at all, for two reasons.
Being a Celtics fan, I loved the lottery. Seeing the Celtics get a shitty team’s first rounder is a feeling like no other. The lottery was exciting for everyone. It was rigged as hell in the David Stern age (see; Patrick Ewing), but it seems with Adam Silver behind the helm of the NBA, the lottery has gotten some credibility back. Maybe I’m just saying that because the Celtics get good odds, or maybe because watching twenty minutes of commercials and seven minutes of some guy opening envelopes is the most exciting part of the summer. There is no better feeling than seeing a team with a 25% chance of getting number 1 and a 0.00000001% of getting number 6, end up getting the sixth pick. There are two real outcomes of no lottery; either the NBA gets somewhat more competitive or the tanking becomes a whole lot worse.
I hope this means the NBA is getting more competitive. No more lottery means good teams with young talent won’t play down and end up getting into a higher lottery spot rather than maybe being able to sneak into the playoffs. Teams won’t have the incentive to play terribly on the off-chance they move up a spot or two in the draft order. This more goes to Eastern Conference teams rather than teams in the west. The west has about 10 good teams, while the east has about 3 (this could spark up the argument that the NBA abandons the conference playoff system, but now is not the time), maybe this makes lower eastern teams who have some talent compete for a playoff spot more than previous years. Lottery elimination can make March and April games between teams like the Suns and Sixers much more interesting.
While that is a good outcome, a bad one is much more likely. The NBA turns into a desolate wasteland. Four teams run everything. Everyone else competes for the newest superstar to enter the village. Games end in 0-0 ties. Nah. But the NBA could definitely go to shit. The NBA is top-heavy enough, and now that there’s no lottery, getting the first pick is easier. Just be absolute ass. I won’t be surprised if, within the next 5 years, a team goes 0-82 just to get the next Duke white killer.
The NBA made a big decision with the most exciting night of the summer. Now, in two years, how will it hold up. Will the NBA become more competitive or go to absolute shit?