What else is there to do while I sit here in the Cayman Islands relaxing and enjoying every minute of it then ponder the NBA Lottery.
During the season when all the discussions of tanking (i prefer to think of those games as player evaluation games) were taking place, my first inclination was to pick a “lottery date”. A date early enough in the season that was too early for teams to risk the opportunity to battle for the last playoff spot. Given that teams can and do make end of season surges and under 500 teams make the playoffs, it seemed that this would be a plausible solution.
The counter of course is “what about injuries”. A team with a late injury, or a player returning from injury late in the season could either be hurt or unfairly benefit. That of course killed my idea.
So while the Caymanian sun is shining upon me and the really important question of Bud Light vs Corona Light for my first drink of the day is about to be answered with a cold beverage from Budweiser, my solution has evolved to the following:
Replace the lottery with a simple better team record or coin flip based on conference standings. In other words, for the last two teams in each conference , the team with the better record gets the first pick. If its a tie, there is a coinflip. The next to last in each conference face off. The better record gets the 3rd pick, a coin flip breaks a tie, all the way up the standings.
This wont completely eliminate teams from committing to “player evaluation games” at the end of the season, but it does take into account the relevant strengths of the conferences and teams places within the conferences. Its possible that a 25 win team in the better conference is a much better team than a 25 win team in the weaker conference, yet they both get equal weight in the current lottery. They shouldn’t.
What makes this system potentially exciting is that teams will have something to play for at the every end of the season. How much fun would it have been watching Boston and Memphis compete to win enough games to get the #1 pick ?
THis of course isnt foolproof. Teams will still resort to “player evaluation games” at the end of the season and in games between teams in the same conference things could still get absurdly comical at the end of the season.
But it would reduce the number of “player evaluation games” and it could create some really fun, competitive games once the standings are in place as teams play for the right to choose 1st, 3rd, etc.
If this doesn’t get the job done, I can add one more option that might make things more interesting.
Rather than have one method of allocating draft picks, have more than one. On Lottery Day have a coin flip to decide which method is used.
A coin flip between the better team gets the pick system I described above and the current lottery system could make things fun and interesting on Lottery Day . Although losing would still be “rewarded” with a better pick in both cases, the uncertainty would make it difficult for teams to tank games during the season.
Then on draft day, the first coin flip is to decide which system is used.
Im sure there are better options out there, but I just thought I would throw this one out there as something to have fun with and think about.
Time to put some more sunscreen on 🙂