FiveThirtyEight Fix The NBA Draft Responses (For Public)
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HometownHow much of a problem is tanking in the NBA?What's your plan for fixing the draft and preventing tanking?How much would this plan actually prevent tanking?
1Toronto13Make the top 3 picks all determined by lottery instead of just the 1st pick. This way the worst team can fall to 4th overall instead just drop to the 2nd overall.5
2New Orleans14Each team is required to bring a fish to the lottery ceremony. Each one has to be a different species (salmon, tuna, etc), and release it into a pool. Then, Adam Silver will ride a bear into the pool, and the fish that the bear eats first wins the lottery. If the bear eats Adam Silver, then it goes by worst-record first. 14
3Minneapolis8Of the teams that fail to qualify for the playoffs, draw them into a single elimination knock-out tournament to determine draft position. Adds additional postseason intrigue without increasing the number of playoff teams, and rewards ambition. The league could televise on NBA network like they do the NBDL playoffs. If you still wanted to give some preference to the teams with the worst regular season records, you could reverse seed the tournament (ie, some teams need byes to make the bracket work, allow the worst teams a bye to the second round).8
4toronto14Everybody gets a ping pong ball. No weighting. If you have won the litter in the past 7 years, you are not eligible, so at any given time there is a 1/23 chance of winning. Spread it around.14
5Loveland11Teams in the draft lottery will surrender their 2nd round picks for that draft.

- Teams cannot simply tank through the draft to attain higher draft picks without losing later picks. It reduces the incentive to tank and lose out.

-Weakens the opportunity for weaker and lower market teams to build through the draft.
7Toronto9All 14 non-playoff teams are chosen at random to determine draft order for the top 14 picks of the first round. For the second and all subsequent rounds, draft order is based on regular season record (i.e. last gets 1st pick, 2nd-last gets second pick, etc.).
PROS: Teams in non-playoff positions will have no incentive to lose; worse team still get a small advantage (due to better picks after round 1).
CONS: Due to bad luck, poor teams could never get opportunity to draft top talent; better teams who just missed out on playoffs could land top pick.
(obviously I think pros outweigh the cons by a large margin)
8Chicago11Option 1: Eliminate the draft. Simply, allow any player to sign with whatever team they so choose to.

Pros: Incentive to win becomes the #1 priority. Who would want to sign with the worst team in the league? Arguably, no one. However your odds of getting one of the better rookies increase the better your team is, assuming competent cap management ability.

Cons: Smaller market teams may not be willing to compete with NY, LA, CHI etc, for star rookies. May be stuck at the bottom for years.
9Toronto9All 14 non-playoff teams are chosen at random to determine draft order for the top 14 picks of the first round. For the second and all subsequent rounds, draft order is based on regular season record (i.e. last gets 1st pick, 2nd-last gets second pick, etc.).
PROS: Teams in non-playoff positions will have no incentive to lose; worse team still get a small advantage (due to better picks after round 1).
CONS: Due to bad luck, poor teams could never get opportunity to draft top talent; better teams who just missed out on playoffs could land top pick.
(obviously I think pros outweigh the cons by a large margin)
10New York8Eliminate the entire draft and provide the worst team with the right to pay rookies the equivalent of the salary for the first overall player. In this way, a truly terrible team might be able to offer more money but a much worse environment, so top prospects will have a difficult decision. The downside is that the incentives are similar for the team and the results might be the same as now.8
11Raleigh4Single elimination tournament at the end of summer league for next year's lottery. If you are not in the lottery the following season then your name is removed from list. Pros - Summer League Matters, no reason to tank if you know your future draft position
Cons - how to handle teams with multiple picks. How to do with 2 summer leagues, will the borderline players see enough time to evaluate them appropriately.
12Rockville, MD14any team shown to be tanking is automatically moved to the 30th place in the draft.14
13Rapid City10The number of balls remains the same, but instead of being determined by the season-long number of losses, balls are awarded in descending order based on the date on which a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. While hardly a perfect system, it would eliminate any incentive to tank in the latter days of the season. And given the strong rewards for making the play-offs, it would likely discourage even mid-season tanking. In addition to being a marginal improvement in the tanking area, it would also make a huge difference in the integrity of late-season games for teams fighting for the playoffs and seeding when they play against a team which is already eliminated.5
14Saratoga Springs, NY9The bottom three teams would be relegated to English League 2 Football where they would have to play a year of soccer in towns like Accrington and Morecambe. Upon their return from a year in the (lovely) English wilderness, they would be guaranteed picks 1-3 based on their finishing order in League 2.
Pros: hilarity of seeing NBA players play soccer; more media attention for League 2 matches; arguably players would gain new forms of fitness and stamina; Carmelo Anthony adopting an affected English accent; more demand for Brazilian players in trades.
Cons: may stunt development of early career players; Maroon 5, Keith Urban, and Billy Joel would each need to play approximately 75 more stadium shows a year to make up lost revenue.
15West Hartford, CT7Simple. Every non-playoff team gets one ping pong ball in a drawing for the top three draft spots.14
16Rapid City10Award ping-pong balls based on the number of games (out of the possible 81) in which a team enters the game with a losing record. All teams tied would receive the same number of balls. Or, alternatively, a single tie-breaker could be the number of times that the team had an even record. The only games in which a team would have any incentive to tank would be the first game and any subsequent game where they run the risk of hitting .500. Since a .500 team has a very good chance of making the play-offs (and given the rewards for doing so), the latter risk is minimal. The down side is that this method does a very poor job of distinguishing between teams that are simply bad and those that are truly atrocious.12
17Detroit141. Eliminate 1 and done to reduce the likelihood of effective scouting
2. Eliminate restricted free agency that prevents players from hitting the market
3. Hard salary cap ceiling and floor
4. Limit all NBA contracts to 2 years and they stay guaranteed
5. All teams can bid on all draft entrees.
6. The league now has more movement and the rookies are devalued as they are unlikely to contribute in their first 2 years.
7. The players can make decisions based on pay, location, team, coaching, playing time and desire to win

It would be like real life but in sports!
18Cincinnati7An NCAA style tournament among non-playoff teams. Teams seeded by record, so the teams that tank would be lower seeded.

Have the tournament the week after the championship was won.
19Minneapolis10The last few games in the English Premier League are the most exciting for the sport, top to bottom. The top teams are fighting for bragging rights, lucrative international competition spots, and of course the title. It is also in the bottom teams' best interest to play as hard as they can. The bottom three teams get kicked out of the top division and lose the lucrative TV contracts that come with it. If the NBA want to expand and prevent tanking this is the way to do it because no team wants to get relegated in favor of a better draft pick, the next year they will be out of the top division so it wouldn't matter. The cons of this is that no owners would volunteer to put their team at risk of going to the League 2. The NBA needs to have a massive expansion, adding many smaller markets, and let the teams play out from there moving up and down divisions based on how well the team is manage. There will be tanking in League 2 for top draft picks, making this a 13/14, but who really watches second division soccer? Maybe partially solve this by saying the first round of the draft is reserved for top division teams so the best players stay in the top league before the second division teams get their pick. Honestly, some teams need to be in a lessor league. I'd rather watch my Timberwolves fighting for promotion in league 2 right now than watching them get crushed the way they are right now.13
20Kenner, LA14I would have the lottery as it stands - with 4 teams selected, instead of 3..

The first team selected gets no first round pick that year. Then proceed with the lottery with the remaining 13 teams.

Thus, the worst team has the best odds of getting the first pick - and also no pick at all in round 1. Risk goes WAY UP. Teams would fight to get into the playoffs to avoid the huge risk of no first round pick.
22Portland, OR10It's not my original idea but it is the best one I have heard. It is based on but not identical to Adam Gold's System.

23Raleigh, NC12I think it would be a neat idea to use the Pythagorean Expectation, instead of win%, to calculate the order (well, reverse order) of the non-playoff teams. We could even just take this % for the first half of the year. This would help prevent teams from tanking before they even have a chance and we would be evaluating teams more accordingly.

The downsides would be deciding on the exact exponent to use (Should we use Daryl Morley's ~14?) and getting teams that aren't analytical to cooperate.
24San Antonio13Allow every team, regardless of their final record, an opportunity to win one of the top 5 spots. I have no problem with allowing teams that performed the worst to have more ping pong balls, but why not add some incentive for winners to continue win, too? In my example, I would allow playoff teams to have approximately 35% of the balls (or combinations) and the other 65% to the non-playoff qualifying teams (with the team with the worst record receiving the most). The teams with the 5 worst records would not be guaranteed a top 5 pick - only a top 15. So the first 10 team combinations would be drawn and if one of the 5 worst teams wasn't selected, then they would be given a pick in positions 11-15 per their remaining record. This wouldn't eliminate tanking completely, but would likely deter it if they only have a part of the 2/3 of the combinations. Additionally, it would allow for teams that win and build teams the right way an opportunity to continue to add solid players without Free Agency, since much of the NBA's FA policies favor the team drafting or holding the player's rights. 11
25Charleston9Use the last year of ping-pong balls as a spring board, and at the end of the regular season, each team is given a 'buddy team' 1/30, 2/29, 3/28 (seeded based off of final record) that they will be paired with for the next season. We can also pair a lottery team randomly with a playoff team from the opposite conference.

We then use each pair's combined win totals at the end of the NEXT season to use as a score board, the pair with the highest total number of wins getting the first pick, second highest second pick etc. THEN, using these seedings, we still rely on the same ping-pong odds to determine the draft order (and keep the "OG" ping pong ball lottery).

Now this draft pick will only apply to lottery teams of the 14-15 season, and will be reflected in the 15-16 draft. Essentially the season you are playing in will be affected the following season's draft.

This will discourage teams to want to tank due to injuries. It will reward winning down the stretch. This will also add a rooting interest to other conference games. It could also create some new rivalries.

A bit complex and weird, but I think it would be fun!
26Oak Lawn, Illinois1The only solution to fixing the NBA Draft Lottery is to completely abolish the entire Draft. All entry level players should become free agents who are free to sign a contract with any team that he or she desires, just like pretty much every industry in America. The draft itself is a mechanism to prevent players from maximizing their worth. In a way, it is a salary cap on entry level players' salaries. It is inherently an unfair system to the players. There is no cap on the amount of money an owner can make, but the players are limited by the draft, a salary cap, restrive free agency, and max deals. Tanking is not the root problem, but it is a proximate problem. By abolishing the draft, a tanking strategy would not make sense. Each franchise would want to make their own team as good/likable a destination as possible to get attention from the entry level free agents.

27Minneapolis10Once a team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs they earn a "draft point" for every win after that point. The teams are then slotted in descending order of draft points (most points picks first). Plan punishes trying to lose while still giving the worst teams the best shot at better draft slots; they'll be eliminated first and thus will have more opportunities to earn draft points. 13
28Bethlehem, PA11My solution would be to keep the current lottery system in place and add rules that restrict teams from having top picks in consecutive years.

Rules would be the following:

- A team awarded the 1st overall pick is ineligible for a top-5 pick for the next 5 years.

- A team awarded the 2nd overall pick is ineligble for a top 5 pick for the next 4 years.

- A team awarded the 3rd overall pick is ineligble for a top 5 pick for the next 3 years.

- A team awarded the 4th overall pick is ineligble for a top 5 pick for the next 2 years.

- A team awarded the 5th overall pick is ineligble for a top 5 pick for the following year.

- Ineligible teams will have their ping-pong balls removed, thus increasing the percentages for the other teams whose numbers remain unchanged.

- The above rules do not restrict TRADEs of top-5 picks. It would be legal to win the 1st overall pick via lottery and then trade for the 1st pick the following year.

Given the unpredictability of NBA prospects beyond the top few players, the rules need not extend beyond the top 5 picks.

Pros: 1) Teams would be discouraged from tanking for years at a time. 2) Because certain teams would be ineligible for high picks, better teams have a better chance of a high pick reducing the need for tanking. 3) Teams could still build via the draft if they are bad, but would also have to do so via free agency since consecutive top-5 picks is not possible.

Cons: 1) Truly bad teams could simply remain bad for long enough to wait out their ineligibility. 2) A 0.500 team the previous year could tank one year knowing they would be good enough the following year to compete in the playoffs. 3) The owners would never go for it.
29Richmond13A bastardization of Simmons' Entertaining as Hell Tournament; have the 14 non-playoff teams play in a single elimination tournament. Winner gets 1st pick in draft, runner-up gets 2nd pick and so on. Set up bracket randomly to prevent teams from tanking to secure the two 1st round byes. Maybe have tournament in one location?14
30Philadelphia4Pingpong balls should be allotted for losses only up to a certain point in the season, which I would set at 50 games. Games 51-82 would have no impact on draft standings for teams that end up missing the playoffs. Almost every team is either trying to make a playoff run or genuinely rebuilding at the beginning of the season, the problem comes when a team that tried and failed to be good starts tanking midseason. Under this plan there would still be the neccessary redistribution of talent to weaker teams, but the end portion of the season would not be tainted by teams who would be better off losing games. This plan could also be used in conjunction with others (closer odds between the bottom 5 teams, alotting pingpong balls for losses instead of standings, etc.)10
31Somerville, NJ7No ping pong balls. Every team is ranked based on the number of games they win, starting from the day they are eliminated from the playoffs. More wins = higher draft position. Weak teams that are eliminated earlier have more games to play, so more possible wins, but they have to play to win. 12
32Asheville14Eliminate the NBA Draft and treat all new players as free agents allowing any team to offer contracts to any player throughout a time defined entrant signing period, you could even maintain rounds if you wanted with each team being able to sign 1 player per round with several days to take bids before going to the next one, would make for great tv. Though I think not having rounds would be more equitable to the players as each player would be signed based on what the can bring to the team and who else wants them unfettered from what round they were signed and it would maximise competition for contracts. Maintain a team based salary cap to protect overall competitiveness. If there is no order to opportunity from last seasons record obviously tanking has no value. There is no reason to believe this would lead to an unbalanced league as a salary cap would prevent teams from stacking talent and teams that are doing poorly would have more salary space to attract new stars. The recent Miami team was assembled under the current rules anyway, certainly stuff like that happening is always a risk but economic forces should in general provide a check on amassing such a concentration of star power, and as we saw those players chose to disband after a few seasons anyway as free agents.14
33Newtwon Square, PA11I would keep the percentage of balls the same to start, so worst record gets 25%, but then adjust as the records fall below certain thresholds.

For example, the teams that at in the lottery this season averaged 30 wins. I would set a threshold, meaning if you are the worst team, and you are within 20% (percentage determined by the league) of the mean you get the pingpong balls allocated to the worst record. If you fall outside that mean, you lose 1 ball per perentage point, so Minnesota would lose 7 of the 25 balls, therefore only have a 17% chance of winning the lottery. The pingpong balls lost would be allocated to teams not penalized, therefore teams that stay within an acceptable percentage of the lottery mean actually get a slight increase in the chance to move up.

The league could also increase the spots available to move up from 3 to 4 or 5, so Minnesota could drop to 5 or 6.

I don't see a downside. Truly terrible teams cannot rely on getting the 1st overall pick to improve there program.

34St. Louis5The team with the most wins after being officially eliminated from the playoffs receive the #1 pick, 2nd most wins gets the 2nd pick, and so on... 14
35Boston6In short:

1. Require that all teams trade their 1st round pick prior to the start of the season which will determine their draft ranking. i.e. every team would have had to, before October 2014, have traded their pick (for either players or other picks) for the 2015 draft. If the team has already traded away this pick, then they do not need to take any action.
2. Remove the lottery, instead give the #1 pick to whomever holds the pick of the team with the worst record, the #2 pick to whomever holds the pick of the team with the 2nd worst record, and so on.

Expected operation - teams would trade their upcoming year's pick prior to the year so that they receive comparable expected value - either another similarly bad team's pick, or other assets.

Arguments for:
1. Prevents in-season tanking - once you have traded your pick, there is no longer an incentive to lose, and no way to commit to future losing once your pick has been traded.
2. Relative to other proposals for lottery reform that I have seen, it provides more avenue for improvements for bad teams - this is because bad teams can get either a better pick or better assets in exchange for their pick (especially given there is no longer a lottery).
3. Creates rivalries between teams that own each others' picks - imagine how exciting a late season Timberwolves, Knicks game would have been if they had owned each others' picks. Certainly there is no incentive to do what the Warriors did a few years ago an intentionally sit players.
4. Prevents teams with unpredictably and temporarily injured players from capitalizing with a great pick they don't need - for example the Spurs getting to pick Duncan when Robinson was injured.
5. From the perspective of a fan, prevents having conflicted emotions rooting for your team to win - I know Celtics fans who think the Celtics should have lost to make the playoffs.

Arguments against:
1. Teams can still intentionally have a weak roster prior to trading, so that they can get more in exchange for the pick they have traded.
Rebuttal - First, the complaint about tanking seems to be just as much about in-season effort (and particularly the collective action problem this creates whereby one team intentionally losing requires other teams have to lose more games to maintain their lottery ranking), which this resolves. Second, since there is no way to commit to keeping your roster bad, this effect is limited (and will likely help those teams which actually need the help because of a bad salary cap/roster situation as opposed to those with cap flexibility who are intentionally tanking - because there is more certainty the former type of team will be bad).
2. Bad GMs will make bad trades.
Rebuttal - this is true regardless, and can always happen post-draft (or even with voluntary trades).
36Philadelphia, PA1There's no need for a fix (why is zero not an option on your scale?) There are 30 teams in the NBA. Only one team can win a title every year, only 3-4 are serious contenders, and at most half the league are fringe contender or up and coming teams transitioning from rebuilding. It's a given that not all teams can enjoy positive, winning seasons every year.

That leaves about half the league's fanbases rooting for losing teams. If you eliminate the opportunity to improve relative to better teams that the draft provides, these fanbases have less to hope for in the future. They might have a slightly better product to watch now, but many would be dispirited by their team's inability to improve.

Further, the other major catchup mechanism for bad teams is free agency, which is a massive advantage for teams like the Lakers, and a massive disadvantage for teams who are less desirable either because of their market or because they are current awful. If bad teams can't catch up to good teams via the draft, and bad free agency destinations can't catch up to good ones via free agency, how are teams supposed to improve?
37Crown Point, IN10Remove the draft altogether. Essentially become how England is with soccer. Each team is allowed to setup multiple youth academys throughout a region that function as a school and sports program. Kids tryout and begin playing as early as middle school. If the player is good enough to play at age 16, then he plays. Develop a much larger D-League where each team has its own and can grow its players (thus bypassing college) as well.14
38Springfield, OH12The race for the bottom is now off! Tanking has sucked for the fans and has left us with a lop-sided league. My proposal for the NBA Draft would be a "tier-system". The bottom six teams in terms of record would have the same odds getting the top six picks, so the teams with the worst six records have the same odds as getting the first pick, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth pick. Then the next six worst records draw and each of them have the same odds getting the 7th pick, 8th, 9th, 10th,11th, or 12th. And then so on, you get it! (Rounds of pin-pong pulling, 1st round teams 30-25, 2nd round teams 24-19, 3rd round teams 18-13, 4th round teams 12-7, 5th round teams 6-1). Pros: I think that teams will actually go out and play some games with effort knowing that if they actually win, it won't kill their shot of getting a number one pick. Downside: teams will still tank, getting that 25th worst record will still be a goal for teams, but at least they won't aim for dead last.10
39Sunnyvale, CA4Replace the current draft system with a completely new system.
At the beginning of the offseason, hold the new draft. Players are selected by being offered contracts - all with a standard form like current 1st round pick deals, with only the starting salary varied. The draft starts with each team submitting the player they most want and the salary they are offering. Teams have to use cap space or an excemption to offer salaries. The team that offers the highest salary gets the player they wont.
Then the process is repeated, with new bids from all 30 teams. This could be done in 10 minute increments for a media show. There would be a minimum starting salary ($1-2M) similar to a current #30 pick. Once no team is offering the minimum starting salary the draft is over, and undrafted players are FA's.
Pros: No reward to actively suck, just to clear salaries for a rebuild. Incomming players would get a more appropriate salary, and generally go to teams that are strong fits. A more interesting draft day as there would be more uncertainty.
Cons: Draft picks grease the wheels for a lot of trades - this would get taken away. There would be max salary issues for projected stars. If there isn't a salary limitation rookes could make more than established stars, and if there is a limitation then there would be a lot of ties (bringing back some kind of tie-breaker that could encourage tanking).
The biggest con is that - although players would get more money and have just as much control as they do now - it would come off to some as a virtual 'slave auction'.
40Highland Park12Instead of giving high draws to the teams with the most losses, give them to the teams eliminated from the playoffs first. This would benefit the weakest teams as identified by games in which they are likely to be actually trying. It seems likely that, if the proposal is taken strictly, teams that have not yet quite been eliminated would tank for a few games to get to the threshold; it might be that a similar but more complicated rule could mitigate that, but it seems unlikely that the problem can be entirely eliminated.11
41Philadelphia14Eliminate the draft all together. Have every aspiring NBA player eligible for free agency. This would completely eliminate the benefits of tanking.

Why benefit a team for losing? Each team would have an opportunity.

The biggest negative is that is might reduce some parity in the league. But I'm not sure that this would be that big of a problem? Teams still have to worry about salary caps. A team paying max to a few guys wouldn't be able to pay top dollar to a new recruit. The teams that would be hurt are teams that have spent their money poorly, like the Nets. But, it's not the League's job to help out a team that runs itself poorly. The League shouldn't bail out a team for making bad deals.

Good luck figuring this out. And go Sixers!
42Wichita, KS14Randomly place each of the teams into one of 5 groups. These 5 groups would cycle in order each year. The 6 teams within the group would pick from worst record (first pick in group) to best (last pick in group). The groups would be reassigned every 5 years. Pros, still advantage for worse teams, prevents multi-year (sixers style) tanking. Cons; complex (not to administer but for average fan), NBA champ could turn around and pick as high as 6th. Overall I think still carries out the purpose of the draft without rewarding long term tanking. But from time to time 1 year tanking would still occur.9
43Washington, DC3I think tanking is a much smaller problem than others. As a fan of a team that's been really, really, bad for many, many years, I know the effect that losing has on a team. The fans lose interest, the team loses money, etc. So tanking might get you to a high draft pick, but it also has a significant negative impact. So for the record, I don't think the effort should be to prevent tanking, it should be to make things a little more fair in the process.

I still think the lottery needs fixed. Here's what I'd do. Playoff teams pick in reverse order of playoff finish, with teams eliminated each round ranked by regular season record. For example, the Spurs win the trophy. They pick last, and the team that lost to them picks just before them. The two teams that lost in the conference finals would pick next, with the higher pick going to the team with the worst regular season record, and so on.

For the 14 teams that don't make the playoffs, each team would get one ping pong ball for every three losses they had in the most recent season. This makes for a reasonable difference in the number of balls the worst team gets in relation to what the best team gets, without the drastic difference you currently get by ranking 1-14. Then you add a ping pong ball for every 5 losses each team had in the previous year, one for every 8 losses each team had the year before that, and one for every 10 losses each team had the year before that, all rounding down.

This would create a scenario where the team with the worst record each year would start with the best odds of picking first, but only by a small percentage; they deserve the best odds, but not by a huge amount, especially when the team that's ten spots back in the standings was probably just as bad. But it also creates a system that rewards teams that have been consistently bad with slightly better odds. No team is going to tank for three straight years. But if a team is so bad that they're consistently among the highest loss totals, they are rewarded with better odds.

Weighting the increase in balls to the more recent years slightly rewards teams that are bad right now that have a need. But it also eliminates this idea that you can trade your best player, add some picks, be bad for a year, get the best guy coming out of college, then rebuild right away. You still could, with the luck of the ping pong balls, but the odds don't favor it. Over the course of four years, the worst overall team gets the most balls, but not by so much that the best team over four years among that year's lottery teams doesn't have a shot at a high pick. It retains the lottery without completely skewing it one way or another.

This would also bring back the actual pulling of balls in order, which was awesome, and it's totally boring now that they just open envelopes.
44Tucson, AZ9Weight the draft more towards the middle of the pack team. Giving a 1-5 pick to an 8 seed rewards solid teams and management (Bucks or Suns type teams) and can get them over the hump. Having good picks doesn't help really bad franchises (Timberwolves or 76ers). This may make teams tank for a lower playoff seed or some other consequence.5
45Jacksonville, Fl12Power rank all NBA teams based on the prior season results. Then, reverse assign each team's draft position based on these ranks. For instance, the prior year champion Spurs would have the worst team's draft position assigned to its outcome, and vice versa. Then, play the season. Each team would have another team's success or failure determine their draft position.

Take a pairing of the Spurs-76ers for example. The Spurs are motivated to win for out of team success. By assigning the 76ers draft pick to them, the NBA would be increasing the likelihood of the worst team getting a top pick without making it a certainty. Meanwhile, top teams are guaranteed to get low picks or be excluded, this wouldn't change.

This would eliminate tanking because seeding no longer is self determined. The only downside is a team tanking to spite whatever team they are playing for, but that is unlikely to happen as it would be cutting off the nose to spite the face.
46San Francisco12My solution is a simple one that addresses not just the draft, but the NBA salary structure and competitive balance in general. The solution is to change 1st round contracts to only 1-year guaranteed deals, then make the players UFAs after one year. Additionally, I would eliminate any salary limits on max deals league-wide for all players and do away with restricted free agency, etc.

The ultimate reason teams value high draft picks is because they enable teams to get players for below market rates and then maintain those below market rates far into the future. By eliminating this benefit, the picks lose much of their value. By eliminating max deals, the top players would demand such a high salary that you couldn't afford to have 2, much less 3, on the same team (unless you smartly signed them before they were really good) because you'd go over the cap. Thus competitive balance would be much better.

Note I am not even addressing the actual draft rules. You could just keep them the same if you like. They become much less important under this plan.

Plan Pros:
-Eliminates incentive to tank by drastically reducing the value of picks.
-Improves league-wide competitive balance by eliminating max contracts, thus forcing teams to pay market rates for the best players. It wouldn't be possible to put together "super teams" unless top players took massive discounts to their market value, which is highly unlikely.
-Is neutral on salary cap so neither players nor owners overall can argue they are better or worse off financially. The system is just more efficient.
-Maintains slotted draft salaries (for 1 year) so that 1st round holdouts still don't happen.
-Top players get paid more (as they should), while teams have more control over player movement.

Plan Cons:
-Requires changes to the CBA
-May result in more player movement throughout their NBA careers, which fans may find disconcerting.
-Would create more pronounced income inequality among NBA players, which some may find problematic from a social justice perspective.
-Would not "save teams from themselves" as they could sign a bunch of very bad deals and be hamstrung for a long time, although that is also currently the case and this is not necessarily a con. Could still have mechanisms like buyouts, etc.
47Livingston, NJ8My plan is pretty simple. All teams who don't qualify for the playoffs are entered into the lottery this year as they normally would be. The team who gets the #1 pick cannot move up for the next 3 years. The team who gets the #2 pick cannot move up for the next 2 years. The team who gets the #3 pick cannot move up the next season. Instead, you will pick in reverse order of your record, starting at 4. That means we will never have a repeat lottery winner, and that the highest guaranteed pick would be #4, even with the worst record in the league. Even with an "elite" draft, no team will try to get the 4th pick. This doesn't necessarily prevent true tanking, as if a team doesn't get a top 3 pick one year, they are much more likely to do so the next year if they fail to improve. However, it also gives every team who fails to make the playoffs a real chance to move up, and will hurt those teams who perpetually finish with the worst records in the league, which is the issue. Three straight years of having the #4 or worse pick would easily sour anyone who is trying to lose to get the #1 overall pick.8
48Highland Park12Eliminate the draft entirely; allow new players to be allocated by either a completely hands-off decentralized manner (as in most labor markets) or by something like the NRMP. To foster parity, adjust the salary cap system, allowing chronically weak teams to have a higher salary cap than teams that are repeatedly successful. 12
49Portland, OR10Pressed submit on my first submission before it was done so here is round 2.

It's not my original idea but it is the best one I have heard. It is based on but not identical to Adam Gold's System.

In this system the draft order is determined by WABRE (Wins After Best Record Elimination). Once a team can no longer have the best record they get 1 WABRE for each win. At the end of the regular season the draft order is the WABRE order. Tie breakers include who was eliminated first, and who had more head to head WABREs.

Cons: Teams might choose to tank early eliminating themselves from the top record.
Really bad teams could get stuck getting bad draft picks.
Potential problems with trade deadline issues and not enough talent being available has been raised.
A playoff team could get the first pick

Pros: Teams have an incentive to win at some point during the year.
The original Gold system is not conference agnostic while this system would be.
The chance for teams to play spoiler at the end of the year goes up and makes teams fighting for the last playoff spots and teams fighting for WABREs (or both) much more exciting.
Lastly it creates one more reason for fans to pay attention to every other game in the league even if their team is out. Because you are rooting for other teams to win and loose based on this instead of just rooting for your team to loose.
50Mooresville, NC12The European soccer leagues have the best system. The bottom two or three in the league are relegated to a lesser league. The NBA is different, so the idea of this kind relegation system seems a long shot. My slightly more realistic solution, sell draft picks. Let the teams decide the market value of a pick. The team that's willing to dole out the biggest percentage of their salary cap gets that pick. The money gets paid to the player selected at that spot. A draft pick auction would be way more entertaining than drawing pingpong balls too. There is no perfect system, but there are many better than the current one. It would make tanking irrelevant. And oh the relegation idea, that would reverse tanking as the teams at the bottom of the standings would be fighting for their NBA lives.14
51Washington, DC12Wins after mathematical elimination from the playoffs seems like a good proposal to me. I think it was presented at Sloan a few years ago and I've seen it discussed a little in other places.

I suppose teams could still tank early but it would give them all an incentive to keep playing after playoff elimination and it would give their fans as reason to cheer for rather than against their own team (as we saw in Buffalo this year).
52Harlingen, TX10Receiving a top 3 pick would then serve as a bar from "winning" the lottery for a specified period of time.

If a team wins the top pick, then they cannot receive a top 3 pick via the lottery process for 3 years. So if my plan had been placed in effect prior to the most recent lottery, Cleveland could not earn a top 3 pick through the lottery in the 2015, 2016 or 2017 lottery).

If a team picks second, they are barred from a top 3 pick for 2 drafts (i.e. Milwaukee could not earn a top 3 pick in 2015 or 2016). And the team that wins the third pick is barred from a top 3 pick for one season (i.e. Philadelphia could not earn a top 3 pick in 2015).

If a team in the lotto has a "locked" draft pick (like Philly would this year under this scenario), the team is placed at the bottom of the lottery order. Philadelphia would pick 14th this year under this scenario. If there are multiple teams that are locked in a draft, the team that was most recently locked last, with any ties broken in favor of the team with the worst record. The lottery balls from a "locked" pick are evenly distributed among the remaining eligible teams.

One final note: a "locked" pick can be freely traded. If the pick was acquired after it became locked (i.e. a team acquires Cleveland's 2017 draft pick today), it remains locked. But if a team acquired the pick before it became locked, then the pick is unlocked and the new team can still place in the lottery with that pick. In that scenario, winning the lottery would not lock the future picks of that team (because it wasn't their ineptitude that put the pick in the lottery to begin with).

The upside is that my plan is generally easy to understand and enforce. It ensures that the most talented players in a draft are spread more evenly among the worst teams. For a team like Philadelphia, tanking is less profitable and acceptable as a quick turnaround strategy. If a team wins the lottery, then they are -- at best -- picking near the middle of the draft for the next three seasons. Draft picks in this range usually have a ceiling of a solid NBA starter, but there are some gems to be found at this point in the draft (like Greek Freak or Kahwi Leonard).

The con is that if a team is truly awful, winning the lottery might actually impede their rebuilding plans. If a team needs a desperate infusion of talent, picking in the middle of the draft for several years won't help very much. And if a team picks the a bust with their lottery pick (think Michael Olowokandi), that pick might ruin the team for a decade or more. And the rule would likely need to be relaxed if any more expansion teams were added.

Also, while it may prevent tanking as a long-term team building strategy, it won't eliminate it in years with a clear, franchise-defining player available in the draft. If there was another Lebron James available in the draft, teams might calculate that it is in their best interest to take to get a better chance at drafting him, regardless of the rules.
54Austin12I think the problem with the NBA Draft structure has more to do with the age limit and D-League than it does tanking. I believe aggregating the losses for the past 3 years would help (which has been presented by others). However, my proposal is the age limit change. They should have a structure similar to the MLB draft eligibility: you either come out of high school or you play in college for THREE years. The next LeBron shouldn't have to wait to join the NBA. But if you're not ready, go play in college for a few years. No more one-and-done though. That's just stupid, and doesn't help anyone but John Calipari.

Secondly, every team should have their own D-League affiliate. Have a true farm system. Pay the players more money so that the D-League could actually be seen as an alternative to college. You keep expand the NBA roster size to 16-17 so you can float players between the D-League and NBA.

Systematic changes are needed. This isn't a "let's fix this ONE thing and everything will be great" problem. Multiple things have to change. I think this is a good start...
55Livonia, MI12Instead of having the number of balls in the lottery be weighted where the worst teams get a greater chance at the top pick, make it so the bottom-10 teams or so have an equal chance of getting the top pick.

There are many pro's to this solution. First, you still have the worst teams having the best chance of winning the lottery. Anyone that does make the playoffs wouldn't be in the running for a top pick. Second, you wouldn't have everyone tank to try and have the worst record. All you need to be in is the bottom 10. If you have the worst record in the league, it doesn't matter if you win or not. So there would be no point to tank. Ultimately, you pretty much make the playoffs or have an equal shot at the #1 pick.

The one con is there would still be a slight bit of tanking. You will still get some teams near the end of the season tank to try and be in the bottom 10. However, that won't happen until the very end of the season because any team that is on that bubble will still be trying to make the playoffs all-season.

While this idea isn't perfect (and it doesn't need to be exactly 10 teams), you are able to both limit tanking but still have the bottom teams in the league with the best chance of winning the lottery.
56Chevy Chase, MD10The solution is not in the draft, it's in the playoff structure. Introduce a last chance qualifying tournament for the bottom half of each conference to give nearly every team a chance to make the playoffs. The top 6 from every conference make the playoffs, and teams 7-14 play a single elimination tournament for the 7th spot. The last place team gets nothing, punishing them to prevent tanking. The top team gets rewarded with a first round bye.
You would also want to shorten the season by a few games to make sure the season doesn't become even longer. I'd recommend 74.
Pros: First, this system would prevent tanking, since there is a big reward, the possibility of playoff games, for jumping out of last place. This system would also keep fans of every team excited throughout the entire season. This is especially important for big-market teams such as the Knicks this season. In addition, the LCQ tournament would be exciting and a big revenue-generator, much like the NCAA tournament is with its single-elimination style.
Cons: This would be a hit to revenues for clubs since each team loses 4 home games. It also may penalize the 2nd place team, since the winner of the LCQ tournament will be a hot team peaking at the right time, and likely a tougher opponent than the 8 seed. We have seen the strength of play-in teams in the NCAA tournament in recent years. Nevertheless, there isn't an incentive for the 2nd seed to tank since the possibility of becoming the 1 and getting a bye is a much greater incentive.

Note: I got the foundation of this system from Bill Simmons, so much credit goes to him.
57Nowhere, USA5The problem with this issue is that modern professional sports fans assume two axioms which often contradict. One, that competitive balance dictates that bad teams should be given privileges over good teams that allow them to improve and two, that the general spirit of sports is to compete to win.

By denying the first axiom, tanking disappears. So order the draft completely randomly (i.e. every team gets one pingpong ball). You could also give successful teams the top picks as a reward, but since on-the-court success is its own reward I wouldn't recommend anything this drastic. The draft itself isn't ideal, it's necessary to prevent collusion in the zero-sum game of sports, but under a better system teams would sign and develop their own talent (or hire directly as free agents from college) just as other professions do.

In order do away with tanking, remove the incentive. It's that simple.

*Top 16 teams make the playoffs.
*Remaining 14 teams participate in a "lottery tournament." Lottery tournament is NCAA style. You lose, you go home. Teams with better records get home games. The teams with the 17th and 18th best records get 1st round byes.
*The "final four" teams in the lottery tournament get the 1st four draft picks. Winning team gets #1 pick.
Picks #5-14 are determined by record.

Pros: Eliminates tanking. Provides something for fans to care about at the end of the season even if teams are going nowhere. Additional revenue for NBA.

Cons: Would #8 seeds tank to not participate in playoffs in lieu of attempting to get the first pick?
59New York10I call my solution the "Jalen Rose" because he's the first one I heard talking about it.

In short, instead of giving the WORST team the most balls in the draft lottery, give the most balls in the draft lottery to the first team that misses the playoffs and then keep going in descending order.

BENEFIT - Each team has an absolute desire to keep winning...either making the playoffs or making the first pick in the draft. There would be absolutely NO benefit to losing the most games.

DRAWBACK - If you tank to miss the playoffs so that you would instead get the first pick in the draft. There would be a benefit to losing the "right" games.
60Columbia, SC9For the 14 teams that miss the NBA playoffs, use a composite of projection systems (Vegas win totals, Real Plus Minus,etc) and add these totals to the actual win totals. Use these adjusted standings to calculate the number number of ping pong balls for each team. For example, if Philadelphia won 14 games, but the preseason average was 20 wins, then their adjusted total would be 17 wins. That is (14+20)/2. These adjusted standings could be used to dole out the ping pong balls.

Pros: Simple method for adjusting the standings.

Cons: Nerd alert. The rubes on Around the Horn would have a field day on using theoretical standings.
May encourage additional tanking. If a team knows they were projected to win 18 games, they may tank even harder to ensure they still have the most lottery balls.
61Brooklyn4Fix the draft by abolishing the draft.
Prevent tanking by eliminating any incentive to tank - hence, no draft.
If we want to preserve the competitive-balance aspect of the draft, give each team the exact same amount to spend on "entrant player" salary (have it count against the cap or not). Spend it all on one player, or spread it out across a number of players, but similar to the salary cap/floor, at least, say, 75% of the amount must be spent. Rookie contracts are a max of two years, meaning no crazy mistakes (for teams) or huge underpayments (for players). A modified restricted free-agency follows. But no weighting of signing pools, as in MLB, which ultimately does incentivize tanking. Take away the incentive, and bad teams will just have to own their badness.
62Toronto10The only fair thing to do is to abolish the draft. Free market, baby! No more tanking and no screwing over the new pros. The get to choose where they want to play and get paid what they are worth. Never going to happen, but it is the optimal solution.14
63Toledo14Get rid of the draft. Actually, get rid of the NBA. Boom. No more tanking.14
64Santa Cruz9First, peg the rookie pay scale to a fitted curve of expect value (e.g. WAR) per draft position, with a small penalty for lottery picks (such that expected value per dollar for the later picks are actually slightly HIGHER than those for earlier picks, even if the overall WAR of the players is lower). I recommend a model fit to the rolling average of the previous ten years, weighted to emphasize more recent years, with the total pool of money set by the WAR per dollar of the entire league of the same time span (such that expected value per dollar of incoming rookies is equal to expected value per dollar of the average of all current players). Second, remove individual max contract limits completely (but leave team salary caps in place). Currently, tanking is incentivized not just because it's the way to land star players, but because rookie contracts provide so much marginal utility: because the nba has a team salary cap, a player salary cap, and underpayed rookies, the ideal way to build a team is with superstars with skill that exceeds their max contracts, and with young players good enough to start with a skill level that exceeds their rookie contracts (while role players tend to, on average, be payed what they're worth). Pegging rookie salaries to expected value at each spot removes the ability to exploit rookie contracts in this way, and removing individual max contracts removes the ability to exploit star contracts in this way. This removes both major incentives for tanking, because both star players and rookies are now payed the proportion of the salary cap they are actually worth, on average (the same as role players currently are). PROS: removes all incentives for tanking. Makes trades more likely. Generally improves parity across the league. Is more fair to rookies and superstars. Building a team out of "pretty good" veterans becomes a plausible strategy. CONS: injuries to superstars on supercontracts cripples a team even more than they already do. Less money to go around for role players. Taking on bad contracts in exchange for future draft picks becomes even more incentivized.12
65Pittsburgh13The top 7 teams in each conference at the end of the regular season are eligible for the playoffs. The remaining 16 teams are paired based on regular season record into a tournament for the remaining two playoff positions by conference (i.e., the 8 Eastern teams are vying for the last Eastern Conference position). The paired teams play a two game, home-and-home series, with the teams scoring the most points combined over the two games advancing to the next round (akin to UEFA Champions League knockout matches). Of the teams that do not win each conference's entry tournament, they are weighted in the lottery based on the round in which they exited. The eight teams exiting in the first entry tournament round each receive a number of ping pong balls equal to an 8.5% chance of selection. The four teams eliminated in the second round receive a number of ping pong balls equal to an 6.25% chance of selection. The final two teams recieve a number of ping pong balls equal to an 3.5% chance of selection.

Thus, there is no advantage to tanking during the regular season, because only performance in the entry tournament matters for lottery weighting. In fact, some benefit would exist to trying to improve your team or get hot late in the season to maximize your team's chances of making the playoffs, even if your team has performed badly for most of the season.

The differences in the weightings between the teams in lottery are small, so the incentive to tank is small while providing some benefit to the poorer teams more in need of help. Additionally, the teams would realistically only be able to tank over a two game series anyway, so it wouldn't affect as many games. And the most points scored rule means that even if you lost the first game, you would have a chance of advancing, further reducing the incentive to tanking.

Because each entry tournament team could play no more than a maximum of 6 games in the tournament, the entry tournament could be contested over 10 to 14 days. A downside would be that this will extend the season, while also keeping the actual playoff teams off the court during that time. However, it could be marketed NCAA Tournament style, emphasizing upsets, unpredicatbility and redemption; the playoff teams could rest their players and provide better quality play during the playoffs (and reduce the desire for the best teams to rest their veterans during the regular season); and the league would benefit from additional games on television.
66Washington, DC14The lottery should start from the first team out of the playoffs, instead of the last.

This system will make basketball better in the following ways:

1. Highly competitive teams that lack great players often end up in the 9-11 seeds outside of the playoffs. Top young talent can then go to a competitive team, which makes for better viewing.

2. Parity would increase, as teams just outside of the playoffs get better, instead of worse.

3. Tanking would immediately end as teams struggle to win games to increase their shot of getting a better player.

4. Annually bad teams ARE NOT getting better enough to justify the current system. It would encourage front-office overhaul for bad teams, as well as spending on good free agents to work towards drafting a top player.

5. Top young talent will not be wasted on teams that are not prepared to develop them. Greatness will start sooner.

*mic drop*
67Washington DC7By the opening game of every season, every team is required to have traded their first round draft pick for the next draft. That way, there is no in-season incentive for tanking, as no team controls its own pick (like the Nets now).

Pro: Stops in-season tanking. Creates interest/rivalry between teams that own each other's draft picks. Lots of trades required.

Con: There is an incentive to look bad before the season so your draft pick is more valuable in trades. Could be weird trade market effects/lots of trades required.
68San Mateo, CA121. Double the roster size of all teams.
2. Change the rules so a player fouls out of just the half (instead of the whole game) after just two personal fouls within the half, thus ensuring that more players have to play and teams have to be deeper.
3. Expand the league to 40 teams.
4. Expand the draft to four rounds.

First-round draft picks are more important in the NBA for two reasons: A) Roster sizes are so small, and B) A single player can represent 20% of his team for most of the game, a far larger percentage of the team for a far larger percentage of the game than any other sport. For these reasons, a single player can have a far larger impact on the fortunes of an NBA team than in any other sport and so tanking works in the NBA where it doesn't work much in the other sports.

The only way to combat this while still having a draft that can provide uplift for struggling franchises is to make each individual player matter less. It's a radical solution, sure, but the only other proposed solution that could seriously impact tanking is the "Wheel" which would remove any uplift for struggling teams potentially leaving them bad for years.
69Belmont, Mass.10My plan is to give each team in the lottery the same chance of winning one of the top three picks. Each lottery team has a 1 in 14 chance of winning No. 1. Each of the remaining teams has a 1 in 13 chance of winning No. 2. And each of the remaining teams then has a 1 in 12 chance of winning No. 3. Picks 4-14 are determined by record.

Pros: Eliminates the race to the bottom, which is the aspect of tanking that really hurts the quality of play.

Cons: Makes it harder for bad teams to rebuild. Could result in more tanking among teams near the bottom of the playoff standings.
70Calgary8Reverse-draw lottery. Non-playoff teams are allocated balls (still weighted so that the worst teams get more balls), but the draw happens live and as teams run-out of balls they get assigned the worst available pick. So the first team to run out of balls gets the 14th pick. The last team remaining gets the 1st pick. This would be so entertaining to watch! The worst team could slide to the 14th pick, but the odds are heavily against that. They'd still have a 25% shot at the #1 pick, but would also be open to getting any of the other 13 picks.4
71Providence, RI12My proposal uses Nate Silver's lottery system as a starting point. However, instead of weighting lottery odds by the square of the number of losses minus 41, my proposal caps the number of losses at 51. I figure that 20 games below .500 is the floor at which a team could plausibly claim to have competed for a playoff spot. Under this system, 7-9 teams would have the same odds for the top pick at 9-11 percent.

The second feature of the system is that the top half of the lottery (picks 1-7) would be determined by the draw, with the bottom half in reverse order of record. The team with the worst record is only guaranteed to pick no worse than eighth.

This proposal substantially reduces the likelihood of a team tanking while still giving losing teams a reasonable chance at the top pick.
72Roanoke, VA10Give every non playoff team equal odds. Do a lottery for every pick, not just the first three.

There is no way to eliminate tanking in the NBA. You can change the inflection point and the incentive which is what I think this addresses. No team is going to roll out a Sixers style atrocity for the same odds as everyone else, and tanking out of the playoffs seems unlikely.

This proposal focuses on adjusting the inflection point and eliminating the benefit of being a worse bad team, and the lottery of every spot makes the lottery a bigger event. Sure this could lead to a great non playoff team like this year's Thunder getting a top pick, getting healthy, and destroying the league, but would that really be the end of the world? I would rather watch Okafor or Towns play for a championship than watch them watch Carmelo or Kobe run the Knicks and Lakers and get wasted.

If that fear is too overwhelming make it non playoff teams with a losing record. That allows some tanking in that range to get under 42 wins, but I think this would be rare. This change would also allow the lottery to change by the year with varying numbers of teams vying for the top pick in order to adjust to the league's parity at the time.
73Milwaukee13Mix in an element of relegation into the draft lottery. A team's first year finishing with a bottom 3 record in the league receives 100% of their ping pong balls; no consequence. A second consecutive year results in a 33% loss of their ping pong balls. Third and subsequent consecutive years results in a 67% loss.

On the plus side, it creates incentive for teams to fight for wins even when they're just not that good. It doesn't penalize a team that has a bad year due to normal ebb and flow due to injury or significant retirement and/or free agent loss. Finally, it doesn't eliminate the possibility of "hitting the lottery" for the fans.

It is not a guaranteed fix, as some owners may be comfortable with losing games, provided the organization is profitable (and/or fulfills a different objective). While all owners are competitive, their scoreboards are bank account balances, rather than trophies and jumbotrons.

I think the only guaranteed fix is a forced sale or actual relegation.
74Nashville12I think the problem needs to be approached from two sides. First, there needs to be an adequate disincentive to having the worst record year after year. For example, a team with the worst record in one year is not allowed to have a top-3 pick in the drafts in the following two seasons (second worst, no top-3 pick in the draft in the following one season). This might at least create a fight for the third worst record.

Second, there needs to be a greater incentive to making the playoffs/getting the 8 seed. All congrats to New Orleans and Brooklyn, but are they super thrilled to get bounced in 5 or less? One example is to make playoff rounds best of 3 series. (Side note: I do realize there is absolutely no chance of that happening. Too much lost money to NBA, whining from better teams, etc. But NFL is more unpredictable in the playoffs with their one game series and fans don't seem to mind.) Not the best idea for a better incentive, but finding one shouldn't be terribly difficult.

Most importantly, the main idea is that there needs to be less incentive to finish last, and better incentive to making the playoffs.
75Minneapolis6To eliminate tanking the NBA needs to eliminate lottery odds. All teams have the exact same number of chances. On top of that change, the age limit will also be eliminated. NBA can draft players out of high school but if the player declines to come right away then they must spend 3 years playing in the NCAA, D-League, or overseas. 14
76Boise, ID14Tanking in basketball is one of the main reasons why I have trouble getting into the sport. It's hard to watch all the games when you know that 5 or so teams aren't even trying to make the playoffs in any given year. I think the issue is in the playoffs. Getting an 8 seed is significantly worse for a franchise (usually) than landing a high lottery pick, so teams that fall just on the cusp of making the playoff are incentivized to lose in the slight chance of winning later. I think if there were some sort of reward for fighting to earn those late playoff spots, it would help. My solution would be to reduce the number of games in playoff series to increase the likelihood of a team upsetting the higher seed, thus making a 7 or 8 seed more appealing. 5
77NYC10My solution is to order the first 14 picks of the NBA draft based on how many wins a team has after they are eliminated from the playoffs. The team with the most wins gets the first pick, while the team with the least wins gets the 14th pick.

Even though the first team to be eliminated will have the most chances to win, they are probably the worst team, so they will have a hard time winning. Similarly, even though the last team to be eliminated will have the least chances to win, they are probably the best of the worst, and don't need such a high pick to improve.

The great thing about this system is that it will totally eliminate late season tanking.

A possible con would be bad teams tanking in the middle of the season to be eliminated first. However, I still believe that it is better than our current system, since it will only ruin a small part of the middle of the season, instead of a big part of the end of the season.

To be honest, this is not my idea. I read it here:
78Old Bridge, NJ8My idea shifts the tanking rewards to require long-term tanking to result in winning the lottery.

The worst-ranked team in the NBA gets 14 "chances" to win the lottery. The second-worst team gets 13, decreasing until the best non-playoff team with 1 chance. All of the "chances" carry over from year to year unless:

1) Team makes the playoffs (resets number of chances to zero)
2) Team wins the lottery (resets number to zero)
3) Team comes in second place in the lottery (reduces chances by 1/2)
4) Team comes in third place in the lottery (reduces chances by 1/3)

This means the weighted odds for the 14 lottery teams will change from year to year. I hope it would eliminate teams who expected to tank for short-periods of time try to place high in a few lotteries before returning to being winning teams. On the flipside, it should reward teams that are actually long-term bad by letting them accrue lottery karma until they finally win the thing (looking at you, Minnesota).

The main drawback I forsee is that the system will incentivize mediocre teams who haven't made the playoffs in a while to make sure they don't accidentally make the postseason. For example, if the Kings suddenly surge up to the number 7 or 8 seed in the West sometime next season, but know they don't have a shot against their first round opponent, there's going to be a lot of incentive for them to lose games and avoid the playoffs.

I can't imagine a lottery system that takes into account the strength of teams can ever eliminate the incentive to lose games. This one just shifts where that incentive lies.
79East Lansing, MI3An end-of-the-season single-elimination tournament for the first overall pick, played by the non-playoff teams. After the NBA Finals, there's about 3 weeks before the NBA Draft. The tournament can be spread across these 3 weeks. Although it aids goods teams such as Oklahoma City who just missed the playoffs by giving them an opportunity at the best player in the draft, it will be awesome. Also, it will give non-playoff teams an incentive to still grapple for a higher seed, because they'll still be in a tournament. It discourages teams like Philadelphia from blatantly putting a bad product on the floor, because they'll get blown out in the anti-playoffs and have a lower pick. This way, it will definitely prevent tanking. However, it could serve to create a regression discontinuity, where teams that just missed the cutoff are actually advantaged over teams that just made the cutoff (the playoffs).14
80NYC4Same as current system but delay the effect of a bad record 1 year and do not allow a top 5 picks in subsequent years.

Gives a year to build a better team before being granted the top 5, and 3 years before your second top 5 pick.

A one season tank is ok, even should be allowed. but you can't bottom dwell forever.
81Tucson10Players on playoff teams vote for who they think should have what pick, 1-14. Each lottery spot has some value voting-wise, but the team with the most points gets the first pick, and the trend continues down to 14.4
82Toronto13The idea is simple: Unlimited free agency for every player.

Eliminate the draft. Eliminate the requirement for players to play in the NCAA for one year. Set a hard salary cap. Allow no luxury tax and enforce no maximum contracts. Let the teams actually compete for the best players.

Think about it. Do you want Andrew Wiggins? Well it's not in your interest to finish last then. Make your team the attractive place for him to go. Do that however you'd like but you must keep your spending under the salary cap.

Pros: No draft means no tanking. It means every team is able to compete every year because every team can compete for every player. Players are no longer stuck with the team they are drafted by for at least four years.

It gives the players more freedom. The NBA owners make a ridiculous amount of money. They should not be able to dictate where a player can play because the player is young. There is not an owner that could not afford it.

Cons: The owners and league would never agree to it because they are greedy. It would never happen.

83Martinez11Team with most wins AFTER being eliminated from playoff contention win top pick. Worst teams that are eliminated early get more chances to wins games for the top pick. Main downside is that teams could tank at the beginning of the season to get eliminated earliest (thus having a chance to win more games) but at least would provide better basketball at the end of the season since all NBA teams (playoff or lottery-bound) would be trying to win. Other downside is teams in a weak conference (East) could have bad records but not be eliminated until later in the season because they're conference is bad as a whole while teams in tougher conference (West) could get eliminated much earlier.7
84Nashville,TN10I want to turn the system almost completely on its head. Currently, and with my rather elementary understanding of how the draft works, the team with the worst record gets the most ping pong balls and therefore the highest chance at the #1 pick. The second-worst team in the league gets the second-most number of ping pong balls, etc. I think that teams that just barely miss the playoffs should be given an incentive in the draft. I've heard proposals that the ninth-best teams in each conference should be given the highest chance at winning the lottery, but that worries me, as teams with a snowball's chance in hell of winning in the first round might tank towards the end of the year to intentionally miss the playoffs and get a top pick. I think rather than giving the barely-missers the top chance, they should be put on a more even footing with those with the overall worst records. Take ping pong balls away from the tankers and give them to the playoff-missers (if that makes sense). There will still be tanking with the really, really bad teams, but I think this might reduce it somewhat if teams have incentive to try for a playoff spot. At the very least, it might make for more exciting basketball.10
85San Mateo, CA12Declare every fourth year a "contract cataract" year. That is, no contract of any type can extend past that year. At the end of each of these four-year cycles, implement a league-wide fantasy basketball-style draft (picks determined randomly, and each round's order is reversed "snake"-style).

This draft includes all veterans and incoming rookies. Of course, once you select a player, you'll still have to sign that player during a generous exclusive negotiation window.

Incoming rookies on the other three years can be introduced the way they are now. But, if your team is doing poorly, don't tank, just wait until the end of the cycle. You might be able to draft LeBron James or Steph Curry!

The downside, of course, is that you won't see any more players that spend all or most of their careers with a single team. But, that is less of a problem today than it used to be, because player movement has already increased so much from earlier days that we may as well go all the way now with this plan.
86San Dimas7No more draft, make it an auction. Teams nominate players based on lowest win %. Teams receive credits based on their number of loses. Teams do not need to spend all of their credits, in fact they can spend none of their credits, if they seek fit. Teams can roll over credits for up to 3 years. After 3 years the credits expire.

Pros: More strategy, teams can acquire multiple players in the same draft, teams do not have to invest heavily in weak drafts, 3 year time frame makes it harder to tank.

Cons: Teams can still tank to accrue more credits, however, the 3 year time frame makes it more difficult to do so.
87Manhattan Beach10100 minus game number, divided by 50. Multiply that result by either zero (for a win) or one (for a loss).
Sum all 82 games.
Subtract 40.
That's the total number of entries for each team.

Every team with entries is in the lottery (including playoff teams that get in with 38 wins). Every position is up for grabs. Late season tanking becomes almost pointless, since late season losses only have 1/5 the weight of early season losses. also recognizes that the only difference between the 5-10 worst teams is how well they tank-- no need to guarantee a minimum pick.

# of entries: Summation over 82 games of [(100-Game Number)/50 * (1 for loss, 0 for win)] - 40
Every team entered, every pick up for grabs.
88Tulsa8Let draft order be determined by the product of a team's point differential and win percentage for the regular season. Teams draft in ascending order. No team may receive consecutive #1 picks.

A tanking team would win 35-40 games but lose by huge, obvious margins otherwise.
A team that can win 35-40 of its games only needs a #1 pick to make them playoff contenders--if they weren't already.
GMs will discontinue constructing historically terrible teams as plunging point differentials cannot overcome the penalty for losing exorbitant numbers of games.

Shifting focus to point differential will invariably get Vegas involved, which will make intentional under-performance harder to disguise as bad luck or poor decisions.
89Atlanta, GA10PLAN:
1. Lottery draw for every pick in the first round then repeat the resulting order for any subsequent round(s).
2. Every team is eligible for the draft
3. The best chance for the lottery goes to the team with the worst record that regular season (possibly 30 out of 465 chance or around 6.45%)
4. Each team with the next worst record has a proportionally reduced chance for the lottery until finally the team with the best record has the worst chance for the lottery (possibly 1 out of 465 chance or around 0.215%)
5. Making the playoffs will not increase or reduce a team's draft lottery chances.
1. Each team has a reduced reason to tank due to removal of the guaranteed top 4 pick in the draft for the team with the worst record.
2. The constant influx of higher draft picks going to better teams due to better teams not making the playoffs in the increasingly better conference will be reduced.
1. Teams will have to work harder to sell their fanbases on hope for the draft due to the elimination of the guaranteed top 4 pick in the draft for the team with the worst record.
2. In some seasons, the team with the worst record will not recieve a top 4 draft pick.
90Ithaca, NY9A variant to Bill Simmons' "Entertaining-as-Hell" Tournament, but the tourney would determine who gets the #1 pick instead of the last playoff spot. More details below.

14 teams don't make the playoffs, put them them all in a bracket, with 2 byes selected by ping pong balls (to carry on the tradition). There could be some weighting to the # of balls, but it would be much simpler (worst record gets 14 balls, decreases by 1 ball for each team with a better record, until the last 6 teams all get 6 balls, for a total of 120). After the byes are randomly drawn, selection of ping pong balls can continue to determine seedings (to make this a captivating show).

Play the 4 rounds, with the winners in each round earning the better draft positions. Losers in each round would then use the team's record to determine draft order (i.e., if the team with the worst record didn't get a bye and lost in round 1, they would get the 9th pick). Obviously, winner of the bracket gets the #1 pick.

That's it. Thanks for putting this opportunity out to your readers.
91Oxnard10I recall someone (on Grantland, I think) suggesting this for the NFL, but I think it makes more sense for the NBA: No lottery. We sort all the non-playoff teams based on how many games they won AFTER being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Bad teams would still have a better shot at a good pick, since they get eliminated earlier, but there would now be a huge incentive to keep playing hard down the stretch since every win could potentially get you a higher pick. There could still be potential for problems, with teams tanking early in the season to get eliminated quickly and then trying to win after that, but I think it would happen less because it would basically require a team to give up on the season before it has even begun.12
92Edmonton13I saw this plan proposed to fix tanking in the NHL and figure it would be an equally great plan to fix tanking in the NBA (with some small modifications). The original plan was referred to as the Gold plan.

The plan is this:
The team with the most wins since being eliminated from the playoffs gets the first overall pick. The team with the second most wins since being eliminated picks second and so on and so forth. This ensures that the bad teams have a higher chance of picking higher in the draft because they will be eliminated sooner, thus have more games remaining that they could win. Tie breaker could be highest win% in those games or point differential per game since elimination.

-Simple (NBA would need to add a stat called "wins since elimination", so fans could follow).
-Rewards teams for winning down the stretch and fans would stop cheering for failure.
-Stops teams from selling off good players or fan favorites in order to increase chance of winning the first overall pick.
-Undisruptive to the current system (Not the same hassle "the wheel" causes.

-Teams could potentially start tanking earlier in the year so they can get eliminated sooner (but at least they'll be trying to win later!).
-Teams that are genuinely bad and could really benefit from the pick won't have the skill required to win the games and thus miss out on a franchise altering player despite having the worst team.
-Some might suggest the NBA would need to introduce a "crossover" playoff spot so that the system actually works (meaning the 9th place west team could qualify for the playoffs by replacing the 8th seed in the east if they have a better record and vice versa). The idea of the crossover or the elimination of conferences has been suggested in the past, so some might be in favor of it anyways.
The reason for the crossover: The west is typically much stronger than the east, the bad west teams might be at an advantage because they'll be eliminated sooner. Adding a crossover spot, ensures all teams are on an even playing field when it comes to being eliminated from the playoffs.
Reason against the crossover: The west teams have a harder schedule so it's harder for them to win the games down the stretch. Being eliminated sooner gives them more opportunities to win (against the tougher competition.)
93Brooklyn, NY9It would involve altering the CBA, so maybe it is too fanciful an idea, but what if the bottom team in each conference loses the 3rd year option on all rookie contracts expiring the following season.

Pros: Simple. It's a nudge rather than a huge push. Doesn't mess too much with the intent of the draft order system. i.e. to help teams that need help and keep the competition balanced.

Cons: Involves changing the CBA.
94Joplin, MO10Reduce the amount of games in a season.9
95Houston, Tx6I would spread the percentage chance of each team more evenly in the lottery, as it stands the bottom 6 teams are rewarded far too greatly for poor performance whereas the teams that have a middling to poor but not awful performance are punished for being good but not good enough. This change would serve to make the physical lottery more exciting and drastically reduces the benefits of tanking, encouraging that all teams always build and field a team as high quality as possible. if the bottom 5 records have a 10% chance, the next 5 have a 6% chance, and the final 5 have a 4% chance then the desirability of tanking would be drastically reduced. the possible downside is an already good team getting the top pick however that is the entire point of there being a lottery, luck is important in building a team and certainty in the draft is dangerous. its possible that some smoothing would be needed to further break down the three brackets, possibly giving the 5 and 6 spots an 8% chance instead of the clear break etc. but that would probably require a statistical analysis to say if it would be worthwhile 11
96zevenaar, the Netherlands14english is not my first language, i hope that you get my idea. ;)

First a question:
Who deserves a high pick? I think franchises who haven't made the playoffs for a long time and the teams that are really trying to win. I hate Tankers it's competition forgery.

To eliminate Tanking you have to reward winning as much as possible.

for the lottery reform this means:

1. Every game you win earns you 1 pingpong ball so the more you win the more balls you get. and a higher winpercentage.

2. the winnings from all the previous consecutive seasons that the teams hasn't made the playoffs are also rewarded with a ball. So sacremento who sucks for a longer time than new york has a higher percentage of winning the lottery this year.

3. The teams that finish in the lottery with a top 3 pick (franchise player) lose their pingpongballs for the next year, this encourages them to try to win as much as possible to stack up their pingpong balls for a higher win percentage

4. If a team makes the playoffs he losses the pingpong balls it has, you make the playoffs, you are relevant, the pingpong ball counter starts at zero.

this whole process encourages teams to win as much as possible, it gives fans of the teams who try to win an big advantage over the tankers, so if this system would be in place this year the draft looks like:

(i only counted the winnings over the last 8 years for this example)

1.Sacramento, 211 wins, 15,9% chance
2. Minnesota, 191 wins 14,4%
3. Phoenix, 185 wins 13,9%
4. Detroit, 172 wins 12,5%
5. Utah 106 wins 8%
6. Philly 71 wins 5,3%
7. Orlando 68 wins 5,1%
8. Denver 66 wins 4,9%
9. New York 54 wins 4,6%
10.LA Lakers 48 wins 3,6%
11. Oklahoma 45 wins 3,3%
12. Indiana 38 wins 2,8%
13.Miami 37 wins 2,7%
14. Charlotte 33 wins 2,4%

cons:for now teams in the west would have it harder to win pingpong balls because they play more often against their western conference powerhouses, this disadventage could be made up by rewarding a win against a team from the other conference with 2 pingpong balls. Example:

Utah plays 4 times against Oklahoma every win earns 1 pingpongball, in a season Utah can win 4 pingpong balls at OKC

Utah only plays 2 time against Philly and therefor can only win 2 balls. But since Philly is fromn the other conference we every win counts for 2 pingpong balls and in this way Utah can also win 4 pingpong balls over Philly. This way it doesn't matter if you play in the east or west, not now and not in the future.

cons: can't think of an other......

pro: Tanking is useless
Every game counts also the last games of the season count in this way

Teams who try to win and are stuck in limbo not making the playoffs but to good to get a high pick als make a change for a high pick that can help them to make the final push for playoffs

So just some of my thoughts about how to reform the draft. I would like to hear your thoughts about it.

Greetings from the Netherlands!

Rens Menting
@rensmenting twitter

97Boston7The team with the most wins after mathematical elimination (or some other measure of "effectively eliminated") from the playoffs would get the first pick, and so on. There would be no lottery.

Every team has an incentive to win in the last few weeks of the season.
The worst teams still end up with the best picks.

Teams may tank in the middle of the year when they are nearing mathematical elimination.
98Salt Lake City, Utah9So this wouldn't actually work, but it would be awesome to relegate the bottom 3 teams like in the English Premier league. It would make all 82 games meaningful for every team. Unfortunately it would require huge changes to the D-League, free agency and other rules. But it would be really fun to watch. And then keep a draft lottery, but the three teams that get promoted are guaranteed a top 3 pick, and there is a separate lottery of the remaining nba teams who did not make the playoffs. So the best pick an nba team can get is 4.14
99Madison, Wi8The plan: Every game a team wins when under .500 is a draft point; whoever has the most draft points at the end of the year gets to draft first, with second most going second, and etc. This includes every team - not just those outside the playoffs - and goes over the course of the whole season, not just once a team is eliminated from the playoffs (as in another popular proposal).

The pros: No team would ever have an incentive to lose. Good teams already want to win for the playoffs; bad teams would now want to win for the sake of the draft, and teams on the bubble, who might be balancing a chance at the 8th seed with the benefit of getting a higher draft pick, would no longer have any balancing to do - winning would be the only sensible choice.

The kinda-pro-kinda-con to consider: It's very likely that the draft 'lottery' would be won (at least for the foreseeable future, if this plan was implemented right away) by teams in the Eastern Conference who made the playoffs while being sub-.500. This does, without doubt, bring out the downsides with the unbalanced schedule - some teams would be better off, just based on who they play. However, this could be the push to finally move to a balanced schedule.

Another point which is occasionally brought up about this - the really good college players would wind up going to teams that aren't truly terrible. But, wouldn't that be better for fans? Wouldn't you rather see Jahlil Okafor on the Suns, or Frank Kaminsky on the Celtics, pushing both teams over the hump, rather than being stuck on a terrible Lakers team for their first four or five years in the league?

The downside: Truly awful teams would be both awful *and* have no real hope of getting better right away by drafting the next superstar. However, if teams knew this, there would be much less incentive to blow things up and spend a horrible four years (like the 76ers) doing nothing but acquiring draft picks and stockpiling young players.
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