NBA Draft Lottery
May 14, 2019
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With the basketball season coming to an end, with college wrapping up and the NBA playoffs in full swing, the anual NBA lottery is right around the corner. With Zion Williamson, a once in a generation athlete, being favored for the #1 draft pick, many teams are looking for ways to take advantage of the lottery system to give themselves a higher chance at getting Williamson. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been scrutinized for the tactic of tanking, with other teams chanting “tank for Zion.” This tactic has been around for many years, but with the upcoming lottery, there have been a few changes to discourage tanking.
The “NBA Draft Lottery reform is a meaningful step in our continuous effort to enhance the quality of our games,” said NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell. “These changes were necessary to improve the competitive incentives for our team.”
The main changes that the NBA will be implementing comes with the chances that teams will receive the No. 1 pick. In the 2018 draft, the odds of receiving the first pick for the worst three teams were 25%, 19.9%, and 15.6% respectively. The worst team of the league has a ¼ chance of receiving the No. 1 pick, so down the stretch if they are close to being the worst team, the best thing for them to do is lose their remaining games, in order to try to gain this advantage over their opponents. By attempting to lose, the NBA and these teams lose out on money, since these games are much less interesting to watch, thus the demand for these games are less. In this upcoming lottery the bottom three teams will share the same odds for the top draft spot at 14%, a percentage that is much lower than in previous years. This means that there is no real advantage to tank, which should bring up the competition throughout the year in the league. With the lottery being tonight, we will see how the bottom teams fair against the middle tier teams and in future season will see how this new lottery system has changed the competitiveness of the league.