My take on the NBA Lottery

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 🙂

117 thoughts on “My take on the NBA Lottery

  1. and how about franciskainer? how much it cost in you contry?

    Comment by retro -

  2. I love how ESPN\’s Bottom Line has scrawled the lottery teams\’ list of recent draft picks all day. Fans of these 14 teams already know their teams suck, why pour a margarita in the wound by rehashing the multiple bad decisions teams have made? Like the poor Hawks fans, for God\’s sake: Shelden Williams, Marvin Williams, Josh Childress, Boris Diaw, DerMarr Johnson, Roshown McLeod (!)… How sadist. This never happens in other sectors of life. Like, when the Missouri River swallows someone\’s house, the local news station doesn\’t replay the homeowner\’s recent Ace Hardware purchase decision over and over as the guy shovels the mud off his couch. The storm\’s coming, we should get some sandbags… damn, that nail gun is pretty fricking awesome. One nail gun, please. No one derives pleasure from common man\’s misfortune like ESPN. Except Dick Cheney. This is the crappy teams\’ Christmas and you\’re peeing all over the Yule Log. Stop it.

    Comment by Serg -

  3. Glad to hear you have made a bid for the Cubs, we all know that you are what is needed to turn around the Cubs AND MLB. Good luck. It will be a long hard battle for you.

    Comment by Sid Leydecker -

  4. Hello,Mr.Cuban, I would like your aid to do an outreach work for the \”Least of these\” in my community.Although this is a light hearted website.I thought what the heck I would take a chance that you might read it.I am sure you already do more than your share in charity yet I invite you to see first hand the plight of the human beings which I serve .Thank you .

    Comment by J.J. dawkins -

  5. I like the idea of having the ordering technique determined by a coin flip. It\’ll definitely keep some teams from gaming it too easily. although…i sort of enjoy the player evaluation games 🙂 they can be pretty entertaining.

    Comment by Justin -

  6. Why not…

    1) Let the \”lottery\” teams each rank their top 14 draft prospects.
    2) The player with the highest combined ranking becomes the top draftee, etc.
    3) Let those top fourteen draftees select which lottery team they would like to play for.
    4) If the team agrees, that player is their first round draft selection.
    5) If the team doesn\’t agree, they go into the draft schedule according to their win-loss record from the season and the draftee goes into the regular draft process.

    This means a team should really want to win to attract top draft prospects. A top draft prospect isn\’t going to want to play for the worst team in the league.

    I\’d also like to see some opportunity for a team to reserve the right to draft \”local\” talent. If a guy grew up in New York, it be great to allow the Knicks to claim him before other teams had the option. Or if a player spent a few years playing college ball in Florida, let Orlando or Miami have dibs on signing him.

    Comment by Neal -

  7. stern has the authority to announce before the season that every team in the bottom 5-10 of the league standings will be investigated by the commissioner if they are upholding the \”integrity of the game\” in terms of their intent to win, and will be subject to losing their lottery pick if it is determined (i.e.: he decides) there was sufficient evidence of tanking (including whether teams pretended injuries were worse than actually were in order to sit out star players). should the spurs 4 rings (and counting) have asterisks because of how they got tim duncan? they won 59 games in the 95-96 season, then had only 20 wins in 96-97 when david robinson played just 6 games due to injury, which enabled them to get more ping pong balls in the lottery to get duncan. is it fair for a great team (59 wins, with a similar roster the following year) to be in the lottery when its best player gets hurt for the year, only to be fully recovered and at full strength the following year? that\’s what happened in san antonio in the 1997-98 season when they had both a healthy robinson and #1 draft pick duncan. (robinson played 73 games in 97-98 and averaged 21 and 10. duncan averaged 21 and 12. the spurs won 56 games.) is that fair to the teams that legitimately sucked? or is it just a fluke that the league will have to endure, fair or not. the above rule proposal is a remedy.

    it is highly unlikely that the spurs get duncan if robinson plays the last month or two of the 95-96 season. with the new rule in place the spurs would have had to justify why they were sitting robinson out — an evaluation by basketball doctors not affiliated with the spurs or any other team. was he legitimately still hurt? was he able to play but still not fully recovered (i.e.: would\’ve played if it was a playoff game but thought it stupid to risk further injury in meaningless regular season games)? was he told to sit due to legitimate fear of reinjury? all of the above are not only possible but likely. but another possibility, however unlikely: were the spurs tanking to get duncan (even if they weren\’t conscious of it, or were in denial about it)? something that looked bad, but might not be as bad as it looked: why was robinson caddying at the par 3 contest at the masters in early april — during the nba regular season — if he was still recoving from foot and back injuries? this is a good example of something stern would be able to investigate to ensure fair play by all teams.

    if robinson was able to play and stern discovered evidence that the team pressured him not to (any one of: g.m., coach, team doctors), the spurs should\’ve lost their lottery pick. that\’s how you stop tanking. admittedly, it would be uncomfortable to effectively put a team on trial — analyzing objective medical files (by outside doctors, not team doctors), MRIs, and rehab progress is an uneviable task — but these are the sorts of decisions needed to keep the league clean and protect \”the best interests of the game.\” having to make tough decisions to preserve fair competition is a big reason why the sport has a league commissioner. stern successfully settled the larry brown vs. ny knicks case, he has determined the length of suspensions (or at least has the authority to overrule decisions). his decision on the stoudemire/diaw suspensions, while criticized, was the right one based on the current rules, made by an objective observer. one wonders if this proposed anti-tanking rule was in effect in 1997 if stern would have allowed the spurs to keep their 1997 draft pick. if he did who know how many championships the 76ers, who had the #2 pick, would have won by now. no one is claiming that the spurs tanked, just that they were clearly rewarded by robinson\’s injury and subsequent return to health. chalk it up to good luck for the spurs.

    sort of off topic, but mark, please do not let anyone break up the mavs roster to shake things up. the 2006 western conference semis when dallas beat san antonio showed the current roster can beat the spurs. the golden state series was a fluke because don nelson knew the mavs\’ weaknesses (if anything all it showed was that dirk needs a low post game to be unstoppable). last year the spurs lost early in the playoffs after making it to the finals in 05, so what did they do? they didn\’t panic, kept the core intact, making only minor additions. the mavs should think the same way. devin harris is the only guy who can come close to staying with tony parker, josh howard can do the same with ginobili. keep the mavs together. give this group a chance to redeem itself next year the way popovich did this year in san antonio after the mavs beat them in the 2nd round.

    Comment by db -

  8. This has NOTHING to do with the NBA, I just happened to see something that really caught me by surprise…

    \”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.\”

    There seems to be a misunderstanding in the US as to the meaning of the words \”then\” and \”than\”. Initially I simply thought it was a typo, however as it seems to be pretty much the norm for American bloggers.

    To be honest it\’s a bit of a shame that an individual with the influence and education of Mark Cuban doesn\’t appear to know the difference either!

    So, as an act of service I\’ve included the appropriate definition for the word \”than\” –

    \”Than – except; other than: We had no choice than to return home\”

    Some will accuse me of nit-picking, others might even see grammatical errors in my comments. The point is this – how does this kind of thing contribute to the *stereotype of ignorant, uneducated Americans to the world?

    (Not my own view, though I do wonder at times!)

    Comment by Donal -

  9. How about the teams that are not eligible for the lottery get to vote on the worst teams.Say the celtics had the worst record but you know they were losing on purpose and Paul Peirce was hurt but coming back.The the voting teams can consider all this and vote accordingly.Don\’t reward teams for sucking on purpose or having crappy GMs.Also don\’t penalize the teams that really suck by drawing balls that never seem to get it right.Also there should never be the same team getting the top picks more than 1 year in a row.Thats just not right.

    Comment by jeff baumbach -

  10. I\’d prefer a method of taking all the teams that do not make the playoffs and compare their records against each other.

    The team with the best record against all non-playoff teams, gets #1, the next best record gets #2 and so on. In the event of a tie, take into consideration their records against playoff teams.

    This would encourage doing well all year long, because your either fighting for the 8th slot or for the coveted 9th slot and #1 draft pick. Sure you might have some idiot try to through the games to \’just miss\’ the playoffs, but my guess is that egos would remove that element almost entirely.

    Comment by Jeff -

  11. As much as the elephant post made me entertained, I tend to agree with the soccer premiership\’s approach. It does promote teams to play at their most professional level. Without doing research, I am unable to comment on its effectiveness in regards to how well it would work within the NBA but I think we all can certainly agree it is an effective system in the premiership and should warrant a more indepth look to me.

    Secondly, I post defending Mr. Masters. To who said it is almost his choice to be in that cubicle is mistaken to me. I do not know Mr Masters so I am in no position to judge whether he is hard working or not. That aside, there is to me a lot of luck, a long with good managament that lands you in successful situations. Mr. Masters may have positioned himself the best he could have but for unforeseen circumstances unable to continue his passion.

    I speak from person experience at a young age of only 22. In the past 5 years I have personally not had good luck. I did not win the gene lottery and have rich parents, and I certainly did not have what I would call a great home life. I left home to pursue my education in engineering at a reputable university. I now am at the point where I can possibly no longer fund my education. I have done all I can in my power to put myself in a great position in life, but sadly did not receive the breaks necessary to immediately succeed. I do not want pity, but I just want you to understand that no matter what you do, fate does play a role. My girlfriend had her life tore from her when she lost her sight at 18. Readjusting to simply put on pants become difficult. Truth is now, the dreams she had are possibly unobtainable as well. For instance, she cannot technically even go to school if her parents won\’t pay. She can not apply to government loans as she is uneligible for them due to her parents making to much money and she can not pay directly herself as her diability check cannot be used to fund education. Also, I have lost my entire world in a house fire. Know what I became passionate about? Not money, but life. I am happy to know what it is today to breathe, to see, to walk. So to Mr Masters, I give you the benefit of the doubt and offer some advice as well. I believe you are a kind, gentle hard-working person who just has not had a good oppurtunity. We all wish we could be like Mr. Cuban and have the hardest decision of the day about the beer we drink. our reality is we more than likely can not. The truth is, we should be thankful for what we have and not for what others have. I hope you get out of that cubicle and that the person who judged you becomes your employee one day 😉

    Comment by Jeremy Rutledge -

  12. cooooool,i like it

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  13. I have not been able to see my comments being posted even though it said \”you did it…\” Anyone any suggestions?

    Comment by Dog -

  14. So how much did that Budweiser ad spot cost them?

    Comment by Lucas -

  15. Is Steve Nash in the NBA Finals? No. I would have loved to keep Steve Nash, but that\’s not why the Mavs lost. And to those who complain about Mark being a hands on owner, I\’d rather have him than a William Clay Ford any day. Does anyone remember when the Mavs were irrelevant? Thank you, Mr. Cuban!

    Comment by Joe -

  16. They\’ve learned nothing from their past mistakes, and it will ultimately be the undoing of at least a few of them.

    Comment by fjtpw -

  17. This is my first time posting on you blog. It\’s a pleasure. Now that I\’ve gotten the pleasantries out of the way, the lottery system should be replaced altogether. Why not use the simple method of win/loss record like the NFL? You don\’t hear too many complaints about the seeding in their draft, do you?
    I agree with Mark. You won\’t be able to stop the tank jobs. Sorry teams have and always will exist. The purpose of the draft is to improve the bottom feeding teams.

    Comment by Joe -

  18. Cuban..why don\’t you shut the F@#$ up, show some class, and stay in your owners booth.

    By the way ..nice job letting Steve Nash go.

    Comment by joseph favreau -

  19. Mark,

    Here\’s a very simple and, in the long term view, fair solution to the NBA draft/tanking problem:

    Eliminate the lottery and have the draft order of the non-playoff teams based on their overall records for the PAST THREE SEASONS!

    This would help minimize the amount of teams that could be \”helped\” by tanking in any given year, because the truly bad teams would probably \’clinch\’ their draft positions with a lot of games still remaining on the regular season schedule. It would also help the truly bad teams have every opportunity to get the better players during the draft and not get screwed by the lottery in any given year.

    If this system were implemented for this year\’s draft the draft order would have been as follows:

    Draft Order
    Total Wins per Season
    Team 06-07 05-06 04-05 3-Year win total
    —– — — — ————–
    1. Atlanta 30 26 13 69
    2. Charlotte 33 26 18 77
    3. Portland 32 21 27 80
    4. New York 33 23 33 89
    5. New Orleans 39 38 18 95
    6. Milwaukee 28 40 30 98
    7. Boston 24 33 45 102
    8. Minnesota 32 33 44 109
    9T. Memphis 22 49 45 116
    9T. Philadelphia 35 38 43 116
    11. Seattle 31 35 52 118
    12. Indiana 35 41 44 120
    13. L.A. Clippers 40 47 37 124
    14. Sacramento 33 44 50 127

    – Peter

    Comment by Peter Lawrence -

  20. Why not just let the commissioner decide who gets which pick? He decides who \’wins\’ each game.
    NBA is a complete joke I stopped watching years ago. I guarantee that this new UFL league will have more viewers and fans than the NBA.

    Comment by morganja -

  21. I think it\’s a great idea!

    Why not make draft day an actual even that you want to watch!

    I remember going to the Oakland Alameda Coloseum/Arena for draft day to watch the Warriors pick \’Anfranee Hardaway\’ only to trade him for \’Chris Webber\’ a few minutes later… talk about Buzz…. it was awesome.

    On the flip-side I remember going to the Alamodome to watch the Spurs pick, as then general managaer Greg Popovich put it, the guy we wanted all along \’Corey Alexander\’. WHO? When a guy\’s agent is more famous than he is, it\’s not a good sign. (A solid all-around player, probably as good a player as you will find that just can\’t make it in the NBA)

    How much fun it would be to not know who the teams are going to pick in advance, to not know where they are going to pick in advance. Make these scouts go to work.

    It will keep the NBA in the spotlight throughout the summer as teams are trading, working deals, reworking contracts. That could keep fans & fantasy folks going year round.

    Did I mention baseball sucks – I can\’t hardly even watch ESPN till baseball is over, why 164 games… WHY? If they only played 82 their players wouldn\’t need steriods or methamphetamines. Give them a day off! Give the country a day off!


    Comment by Karl K -

  22. How you doing Mark. I can\’t believe Donald Trump went on radio and talked about you. He is not a better businessman than you. I think he fogot than he got his money when he started out from his daddy. You made your self rich. I think he also forgot that you\’ve never had to file for bankruptcy. He did. So before Donald Trump calls somebody a loser who will never win. He needs too look at himself

    Comment by Hendrik Isaac -

  23. When did Portland and Seattle get NBA teams someone asked?

    They got teams at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, that\’s when. It\’s not like these two teams are Boston, Memphis, or the Hawks. These two teams could get very competitive inna hurry…

    Comment by mike p -

  24. Do like Spain does; kick the worst 2 teams out of the league.

    Comment by Jill -

  25. I\’d still like to see the NBA move to a format close to that of the NFL for their draft. I think that if the NBA\’s ultimate goal is parity, which is what makes the NFL so great, the NFL format gives you the best opportunity to accomplish it.

    Comment by Omar -

  26. Why not think outside-the-box and turn things on its head? simply reward the best non-playoff team with the top pick, 2nd best non-playoff team with 2nd pick, etc. Wonder what the stats would show when you compare careers between players drafted 1-14… I\’m guessing only a slight statistical correlation between career success and draft order.

    Philosophically, tanking any athletic competition just really goes against what sport is about anyway. Wouldn\’t it be more interesting for a team that tried really hard to get into the playoffs but just missed it to get the #1 pick with the best non-playoff record? This situation would make competition for the playoffs the following year that much more interesting as a couple bubble teams during the prior year would perhaps have added the final piece of the puzzle (rather than having competition for last place be a focal point… really sick IMO).

    And in the age of the salary cap, perhaps that would make that team more willing to trade a solid but older veteran to a lower-tier team, which may have greater immediate positive impact for the lower-tier team than a #1 pick.

    Variations of this proposal could easily be made to accommodate conference strength of schedule.

    I think implementing a method where all incentives are aligned for all teams to try and win almost every game is good for any sport and good for fans.

    Comment by Doc DJ -

  27. How about a league where each regular season game is worth more than the fraction 1/82? The season seems to stretch on forever. It\’s closer to meaningless than any major sports league in the world.

    Who on earth could be bothered, if they even had the energy, to try their best in over 100 games each season? Cut the league season to 40 games, halve the number invited to the playoffs & it might become interesting again.

    I\’ll stick with European soccer for now where despite its many, many problems the threat of relegation adds real spice to the bottom of each division & where each team plays the others twice each season & no more.

    Comment by David -

  28. Please for the love of God, do what you have to do and get Kobe:

    Comment by Ryan -

  29. I think the NBA Lottery is perfect the way it is. Just because you loose the most games shouldn\’t mean that you automaticly get the #1 overall pick. If the Boston Celtics would\’ve gotten the first pick and the possible rights to dunkadelic man-child Greg Oden none of this talk about the NBA Lottery would be talked about.

    Sorry Beantown you already had your Bill Russell!

    Comment by NBA Fanatic -

  30. Another thought in this subject:

    When teams rests star players at the end of the season in order to have them in the best possible shape for the playoffs, noone protests. It is considered good player management to do so; even though a game or two might be lost that otherwise would have been won.

    How is the Mav\’s resting 3 starters in their last regulat meeting with the Warriors any different than Boston keeping 3 of their starters on the bench in the next to last game of THEIR regular season? Boston did it to improve their lottery position. Dallas did it (stupidly, since they had a chance to knock out the Warriors in a single game instead of a series) to improve their tam\’s readiness for the post season.

    Both teams willingly and knowingly punted the game in order to improve their chances for a desirable result later on. What is the difference? If you slam teams that tank games late in the year to imrpove their draft positon, then you must also slam teams which tank games to improve the health of their team for the playoffs. In both instances, teams gave up a chance at regular season win on purpose.

    Either scorn the methodology or don\’t. But do it consistently.

    Comment by Michael Brenner -

  31. Part of me thinks that all teams should get an equal chance at the top selection; yes, even the champions.

    Would it encourage parity, season to season? No. But it would encourage an honest effort, and the lack of an honest competition will do more to damage the league\’s brand than the lack of parity amongst the teams.

    There hasn\’t been parity in baseball for as long as I can remember, and while small-market teams and fans gripe, it hasn\’t hurt the league as much as the steroids scandal, which is similar in a way to teams tanking games because they\’re both dishonest.

    Things don\’t always have to be fair, but there should be disclosure when that\’s the case. This solution at least offers that much.

    Comment by Blogimore Ravens -

  32. No system will be \”fair\”, if your circumstance is that of a losing NBA franchise. (Tanking, under any scenario, is abhorrent to me)

    You grabbed Nowitski with what, the 10th or 11th pick? Between the Suns, Mav\’s, Pistons I don\’t see many high draft picks (Billups was a 3, but a Celtics pick.) If there is something all three teams have in common, the people who run the player side of the business have done their jobs well.

    My point is that the lottery is usually pretty irrelevant. (OK, the Raptors did their homework with last years pick, and Bargnani made them better.)

    I look at all of the winning teams (reg season) and their rosters contain international born players making contributions. Forget the lottery, good scouting and management translate into wins on the court.

    Comment by Frank Costello -

  33. Why in the world would you take the time to blog on your vacation in Grand Cayman? That\’s something Trump would do. Don\’t be a Donald!!!

    Comment by Frankie M -

  34. Well that\’s how it goes. You know Mr. Cuban, I\’ve been watching the NBA for years. I still remember that year when Jason Kidd and Grant Hill both won Rookies of the Year in \’94, and they were 2nd and 3rd picks respectively.

    You see, that\’s just about the only way that the worst team can get happiness even for just a moment. It\’s like their give away gift. Your suggestion is efficient if the worst team is proven to be tanking games.

    I don\’t think you completely understand the feelings of those-err-\”bad teams\”. When you took over the Mavs, they weren\’t on the losers\’ side anymore. They were already a team with Dirk and Steve. I guess that\’s why the draft couldn\’t make much more impact to you than it is to them.

    I do hope you\’ll get Rashard Lewis and trade Josh Howard. But don\’t ever think of trading Dirk. You don\’t want another MVP-bargaining, do you?


    Comment by kim -

  35. You know what though Mark… I understand… thinking about the Spurs, the Jazz, the Suns, the Pistons, the Heat, or even the Warriors may not be a healthy thing for you at this point in time. Enjoy your vacation, but seriously…I\’m sick and tired of seeing the Spurs dominate the NBA.

    Comment by TheShowMan -

  36. Mark,

    This is your very problem. I know it\’s nice to be sitting out on the Cayman islands, but where you should be right now is in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. You should be studying your opponents, taking an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and building your team to be adaptable enough to handle either the ever-fortified/seasoned Spurs, or up and coming Utah.

    If you thought Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson gave you too much trouble in the first round. Believe me that Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer would have given the Mavs just as hard of a time.

    But this leads me to ask another question, one that is inspired by the recent tirades of the Donald. (I heard he called you a loser.) Why the hell are you thinking about the NBA lottery? Your team will not be in the lottery for at least another 5-10 years.

    Mark.. when things go bad down low, even when your players miss free-throws… they always blame the man at the top. You unfortunately carry that burden Mr. Cuban. Set an example to your team by demonstrating that your mind is not traveling down some tangent of an idea called the NBA Lottery, and start thinking about how you can kick Bruce Bowen\’s A$%$ for being such a cheap basketball player. Or haw you can parry Ginobili from his flops. Or how you can discipline Diop, Mbenga, Dampier and any other bigs to deal with Duncan next year. Because I assure you Cuban, they will be back again next year. And from now till this time, they won\’t be giving the lottery, Oden, Durant, or any playoff/non-playoff bracketing a thought. They will be thinking only about one thing… how to make sure that they can win another title.

    Wake up Mark. Please… wake up.

    Comment by TheShowMan -


    Comment by derrick -

  38. I am amazed at the fact you remove responses that do not suit you.

    Comment by Pierre Coupet -

  39. Mark:

    Speaking of drafts…people overrated alot of players coming from the top schools…there was one player who got overlooked and it is rediculous if you ever saw him play…

    Jose Juan Barea. The new \”Kidd\” on the team needs to get some playing time. Best pick up by the Mavs last year. Period. Will he be back in 07-08? Will he play??

    Comment by DiZaz -

  40. Face it, the NBA is a business. Ownership of NBA teams is a business. As long as it is a business, people will cheat anyway they can. What\’s the ethical difference between throwing a few game to improve your lottery position and using government edict to force HD television down everyone\’s throats to improve your profitablity? None. Both use what SHOULD be out-of-bounds methods to achieve the goal of an owner. Unfortunately, to business owners motivated by pure greed, ethical conduct is not an issue.

    As for being in the Cayman Islands, why would anyone protest Mark\’s saying he is there? It is obvious from his obsession with The Donald, Mark needs more attention and validation than he already gets. Reader\’s should expect his little gloats by now. It is obvious he is moving farther and farther away from the everyday-guy-millionaire attitude that endeared him to so many. If he keeps it up,I wouldn\’t be surprised if we soon all have to root for the Dallas Markericks.

    As for the subject of the blog: the NBA draft, there is no cheat-proof way to fix it. No matter what change is implemented, owners will soon learn how to game the system.

    Get rid of the ping pong balls and just have the draft. Then concentrate on fixing the atrocious refereeing we see and enforcing the rules of the game equally for ALL players.

    Comment by Michael Brenner -

  41. What about using cumulative records from the last two seasons instead of just using the current season\’s record? This should give help to those who need it the most, not just one-year flops. For example, if a playoff-caliber team\’s best player goes down the first week with a season-ending injury, should that entitle the team to go into next season with their star player AND the top pick in the draft? It doesn\’t seem like that\’s the point of the draft.

    And could you add a rule limiting the number of top-tier picks that a team can have in a designated period? If a team has 4 consecutive years of top 5 picks, doesn\’t that suggest that the team has an inability to manage its money/talent and that maybe the league shouldn\’t keep throwing lottery pick life preservers to them? It doesn\’t seem like good business for the NBA to send potential young stars to consistently terrible teams to be stifled.

    So don\’t disproportionately reward bad luck and don\’t reward teams who apparently make their own bad luck.

    Comment by Joe -

  42. Mark– take the 5 worst teams record wise say with 20 or 10 games left in the regular season, and then the teams who finish with the best record from that point (the remaining 20 games, is who deserves the #1 pick through #5.)


    You have two playoffs, one for the teams that make the top 8 in each conference to fight for the NBA championship, AND

    a playoff between the lottery teams for the top pick in the draft and each successive pick based on how you placed.

    the worst teams would get home court, we could make this 3 or 5 game series\’s and broadcast it on NBA TV.

    Current roster players on the team that wins the lottery playoff would receive bonuses from management because free agents and the like might not have much incentive to play for the future when they know they won\’t be around.

    A clause could be inserted that does not allow a previous winner of the lottery playoff to win it again (they could still be in the lottery playoff, but would only capture a #3 overall pick if they win it all). Just to make sure playoff cusp teams don\’t try to be in the lottery playoff to stack their roster like a Toronto could of this year).

    Comment by DUER -

  43. How about worst record 30 balls.
    all the way to champion 1 ball.
    you wanna talk about some fun as
    well as interest.It\’s time we quit
    rewarding failure, and penalizing success.
    Oh never mind,King David would never go
    for something attached to logic!!!

    Comment by Randy Nailling -

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    Comment by fgdfdsfsdfsdfsd -

  45. Put all the non-playoff team\’s stats and a couple of different ranking systems into the BCS computer. Let it decide who is the worst team.

    Comment by Tim D. -

  46. I do have a better idea, really simple, every non playoff team gets the same chance. I know the idea is to keep balance in the NBA, but that isn\’t how it works, one player, no matter how good, does not compensate for the lure of big markets, and blunders in the front office. That being said, why reward a team for being bad?

    Comment by Eddy McCauley -

  47. What if they structured it so that the picks went in order of the worst divisions (based on combined win/loss record)? So, the #1 pick goes to the worst division, #2 pick to the second worst, etc.

    Within each division, give a number of ping pong balls to the non-playoff teams in reverse order of place. So, if there is only one non-playoff team, it has a 100% chance for that pick. If there are 4 non-playoff teams (can\’t have 5 since the first place is automatically in the playoffs), the chances would be 10%/20%/30%/40% to get the pick.

    If two or more divisions have the same win/loss record, then all the non-playoff teams in those divisions go into the same pool and follow the same ping pong ball system.

    The remaining picks for the first round and all other rounds are given to the teams based on win/loss record.

    So, for this year the lottery chances would look like:

    EAST atlantic – 180 [picks 1, 7, 13]
    philadelphia – 17%
    new york – 33%
    boston – 50%

    EAST southeast – 188 [picks 2, 8]
    charlotte – 33%
    atlanta – 66%

    WEST northwest – 191 [picks 3, 9, 14]
    portland – 17%
    minnesota – 33%
    seattle – 50%

    EAST central – 215 [picks 4, 10]
    indiana – 33%
    milwaukee – 66%

    WEST pacific – 218 [picks 5, 11]
    la clippers – 33%
    sacramento – 66%

    WEST southwest – 238 [picks 6, 12]
    new orleans – 33%
    memphis – 66%

    The reasoning here is that the divisions (and conferences) that need the picks most would get them. [So using this year as an example, picks #1 and #2 would both be going to the Eastern conference.] Yes, that doesn\’t necessarily help the worst teams, but it\’s better in terms of balancing the divisions and conferences against one another.

    Since teams can\’t really control how their division will do, tanking is less useful. [Using this year as an example, Boston gets a 50% chance at the #1 pick but Memphis only gets a 66% chance at the #6 pick!] And it\’s unlikely that entire divisions will try to tank, because 1) it doesn\’t change your pick that drastically, and 2) you improve the likelihood your division rivals will get a great pick.

    The main drawbacks I see from a system like this are:
    First, if one division turns out to be weaker than the other divisions early AND it\’s a strong draft year, it is possible the entire division will tank in order to improve their odds for the #1 pick (for example, the atlantic division this year). Although it could be argued that this happens already.

    Second, a really weak team in a really strong conference may have a harder time improving (for example, memphis this year).

    Comment by Patrick Lee -

  48. Continued from post #71.
    This is what this year\’s draft would look like with this system (including tie breakers) not accounting any trades or pick swaps. BTW make first tie breaker, conference record.
    Pick #- Team
    RD 1
    1- Clippers 2- Hornets 3- Pacers 4- Sixers 5- Bobcats 6- Knicks 7- Blazers 8- Wolves 9- Kings 10- Sonics 11- Hawks 12- Bucks 13- Celtics 14- Grizzlys 15- Magic 16- Nets 17- Wizards 18- Warriors 19- Lakers 20- Heat 21- Nuggets 22- Raptors 23- Bulls 24- Cavs 25- Jazz 26- Rockets 27- Pistons 28- Spurs 29- Suns 30- Mavs
    RD 2
    1- Mavs 2- Suns 3- Spurs 4- Pistons 5- Rockets 6- Jazz 7- Cavs 8- Bulls 9- Raptors 10- Nuggets 11- Heat 12- Lakers 13- Warriors 14- Wizards 15- Nets 16- Magic 17- lippers 18- Hornets 19- Pacers 20- Sixers 21- Bobcats 22- Knicks 23- Blazers 24- Wolves 25- Kings 26- Sonics 27- Hawks 28- Bucks 29- Celtics 30- Grizzlys

    Tanking is not rewarded. Near playoff teams have a chance to break out with the addition of a franchise player. The draft and scouting becomes even more important. The top 3 pick teams should be new every year (this eliminates statistically bad franchises from dominating the lottery). The free agent market would become more active. The worst teams are made to think about their pick (do they draft potential or try and improve in next year\’s ranking for a higher pick). Adding a guy like Oden or Durant to the Clips would make them a playoff caliber team.
    I really like that this has little weakness (expect for not rewarding the worst teams for being bad). I also think this would even up the league and take away single team dominance or high salary cap teams would be forced to do more than just pay for talent.
    I hope some opinions are posted on this, especially you Mr. Cuban.

    Comment by Devon Brown -

  49. I can\’t remember what league uses this (or maybe I just made it up in my head) but what about this:
    The non-playoff (lottery teams): the best record gets first pick (head to head first tiebreaker, then points spread from head to head games second, then finally coin flip), the worst team get last pick of lottery.
    The playoff teams then finish up the first round in reverse order (worst record with first pick, best with last pick).
    Then make the second round go in total season record order (best team with first pick, worst team with last).
    We use this system with our fantasy basketball league and it works out great. Tanking hurts your team and with a legit team getting first pick they are sure to become a playoff team the following year. It also helps cut down on \”potential\” players being drafted so high due to the top pick teams looking to make a playoff push the next year. This system also allows smart teams that are playoff teams to either draft a \”needs\” player or draft a \”potential\” player to develop over the next few years.

    Comment by Devon Brown -

  50. I like the way the draft is now. The worst teams get the best draft picks, but there is no guarantee that tanking will leave them with the absolute best pick. There is a good article that justifies the current system here:

    Comment by Akhilleus13 -

  51. Alright everyone, Mark,

    here are my thoughts on the lottery.
    I think the best idea would be to make the teams play for the picks or the chances in the lottery.
    In my idea the record of a team determents the position in the lottery BUT after the teams are eliminated to make it into the playoffs!
    Therefore the team which is the worst (first team not to make the playoffs) will start first in the race to the number 1 pick. There will be a separate record just for the lottery.

    Memphis was the first team eliminated from playoff contention with 15-46 (I dont know the numbers, just making them up) so they would start the next game to built their lottery record.
    If you take this seasons numbers they would end up with 7 wins in the race.
    Boston was eliminated from playoff contention with 20-46 (again making up the numbers, but that doesnt matter anyway) so they would start in the race the next game and end up, again taking this season, with 4 wins in the race.
    Next Seattle or Milwaukee were eliminated (dont remember which one) with 30-44 or whatever, they went to win just 1 in the race.
    So Memphis would get the best chances in the lottery because 7>4>1. Now determine the lottery order this way and the teams have something to play for!
    When ties occur just use the usual tie breakers.
    This way the strength of the conference is also taken into account.


    Comment by German Wunderkind -

  52. To the end that it reduces teams trying to intentionally lose in order to get the top pick, Mr. Cuban\’s idea has a fair deal of merit, except that a team could start their scrubs in order to still gain an advantage, e.g. it is still better to finish worst in the Western Conference than second-to-last, as you\’d be assured of a #2 versus either a #3 or a #4.

    My thought was to skew the lottery ball percentages towards rewarding the fourth-to-last team over the second-to-last team, i.e. the fourth-to-last gets 26 balls, the third-to-last would get 24, the second-to-last 24, and the last place team still gets 26–still makes the last place team have a better chance, but also the team that makes an effort at the end.

    Perhaps a hybrid of Mr. Cuban\’s plan and my suggestion would be fairer–the better of the 2 last place teams from each conference would get 28% of ping pong balls, while the other last place team gets 24%–thus providing some incentive to win at the end; the better of the two second-to-last place teams would get 26% of the ping pong balls, while the worst of the two would get 22%…again, an incentive to win, but also include two more teams into the mix so as not to insure that the worst team is virtually guaranteed the first pick.

    The other real problem not addresses is, \”why are so many teams included in the draft in the first place?\” It seems silly to me that a team not in the bottom four is included in the first place…perhaps a second lottery for picks 5-8 using the same criteria above would be fairer.

    Comment by David Hannes -

  53. Mark,

    I hope all is well. Thanks for the intriguing blog. Your thoughts on the lottery and Trump truly are thought-provoking.

    I am going to be bold for one moment and be the one objective person–as opposed to those who are asking for a particular cause, issue, etc.–to tell you that it is the time of year for you to do at least one noble thing that only your hard-earned money and influence could accomplish. Figure out what to do.

    Me? I am still on the knowledge-gaining before the wealth-gaining section.

    James Vaughn

    Comment by James Vaughn -

  54. It seems to me that the system worked perfectly. The two teams that tanked the most ended up with the fourth and fifth picks.
    Who cares that Boston and Memphis did\’t put forth their best effort? The fans? They gave up long before the end of the season. All the purists who think players are going to give their all (for the love of the game of course) when the team record is 20-55 are smoking something funny. When you are a loser you know it and playing hard the last 25% of the season isn\’t going to improve anything.
    Have a great vacation Mark. I would have taken the Corona.

    Comment by MIke Genette -

  55. Very Interesting idea mate.

    Comment by Bandolino -

  56. Lets find out of Donald Trump has an opinion on the whole NBA lottery issue. It wouldnt even be an issue if a big-market team had won the lottery. I think the present system is just fine.

    Comment by Deepak -

  57. Who shot JR in the final episode of Dallas?

    Comment by Chat sohbet -

  58. The correct answer is: after a certain number of games in a season have passed (say three-quarters of the schedule), to not pay the players when they lose a game, the losing team\’s salary for that game would go to the winning players.

    And maybe up the ladder to the losing coaches and losing owners also paying the winning coaches and owners.

    Then you will see players play their hearts out to win.

    (The whole lottery system discussion tries to deal with/hide the fact that it is the owners who are incentivized toward throwing games, not the players.)

    Comment by MIchael -

  59. greetings craigp here

    Bah! who cares about the NBA draft lottery, yawns,

    I wanted to take minute to talk about why Steve Kerr is such an a–hole in my opinion.

    I mean I try really hard to avoid paying attention to him, but its hard as an NBA fan cuz hes all over the place. Normally I would be happy to see an american-born NBA white guy getting so much attention, becuase I feel that generally speaking American born white guys get shafted by the NBA for whatever reason, but in the case of Steve Kerr I actually wish he would get the shaft. OK so why do I feel this way.

    Well I just caught a glimpse of his headline on the Pistons- CAVS series, and he mysteriously decideds to bring up why the CAVS defense can change the series. Now he obviously knows basketball, you hear him say thing that demonstrate that he knows a few things about basketball, and it doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that Lebron James, Alexander Pavlovic, and Larry Hughes are speedy, athletic, high flying, fast breaking, entertaining, great passing (not so much Hughes as far as passing but the other two can pass) players that make it very easy for a team to score 140 points per game. The personell on the CAVS has the potential to put 50 points in a quarter if they run.

    yet for whatever reason the powers that be in the league want to perpetuate this myth that somehow the Cavs are about defense which is amazing when you consider that FANS LIKE OFFENSE! SOmetimes I feel its as if they want to make the game as unenjoyable as possible for the fans. Anyway, back to Steve Kerr who by the way is so amazingly skinny even with a suit jacket he looks tiny, where was I, oh yeah Steve Kerr, I can only conclude that Steve Kerr is an incredibly dishonest and cowardly man, not just based on this article but many things I\’ve seen over the years. But people can change

    Oh well, hopefully, the Cavs ignore his nonsense and RUN and score 140 points in the next 4 games.

    -righteounss,love,truth, and peace

    Comment by craigp -

  60. How about this: Cowchip Bingo

    64 squares with worst team record-wise getting \”weighted\” with more squares. Wherever the cow drops a \”Stern\” is which team picks first. Then bring in next cow and repeat once more then go 4-14.

    Comment by Joe Fisher -

  61. PS: In the EPL league, the oldest and most historical team does not actually play top flight. And teams that have made it europe are not as good as they used to (e.g. Leeds Utd, Ipswich Town, and the list goes on). I think the motto is, either be good, or get relegated. Its like business. Even though you may have done a lot of good things in the past, if you dont perform in the present, you are ousted. I dont think they why this can;t translate to a big business such as the NBA.

    Comment by Sat -

  62. The problems with the NBA, NFL and leagues like that is that there is only ONE league. This means that teams at the bottom will do anything to improve probability (whatever these probabilities do). This means that there will be teams trying to throw away games to get a better chance of getting the #1 draft pick.

    I would like to see a system very similar to the soccer leagues in Europe, in other words, more than one league.

    Lets take the English soccer league. There are loads of leagues. The bottom three of the league are relegated each year, and the top three of a division lower get promoted. A similar system could be implemented for NBA and the NBDL.

    I would suggest assigning the three top picks to the teams that get promoted from the NBDL (by playoffs – the best team gets no.1), and then the rest in reverse order depending on the position they finished on each conference. The relegated teams get no picks. This means that the teams that struggled to stay in the NBA will get the 4-8 picks.

    This will prevent teams from throwing games completely, as they count till the very end.

    This model has a few pros and cons:
    1: It will give the NBDL more involvement (as the top draft picks – and promoted teams – will all come from the NBDL.
    2: Upon relegation, the salary cap system and the other problems will need to be organised. This can lead to players leaving relegated for teams that are still in the NBA or any of the promoted teams.
    3: The top draft picks will go to NBDL teams. This might be the iffy. If there is a good crop of draftable players, each of them with potential to become a franchise player, this might be a good thing. However, the risk is that even getting a top draft pick might get you relegated the following season.

    It will make the draft lottery system (and the league itself) interesting to watch till the very end.

    Comment by Sat -

  63. There\’s always next year. Team owners should start planning now how to lose enough games to secure the services of OJ Mayo. Go Trojans!

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  64. i could not be in a better mood after knowing what i now know. the biggest slugger in the nba (also my fav team) …(ptb) have the #1 overall pick in the 2007 nba draft!!!! congrats portland and best wishes as u don\’t choose over michael jordan again… please choose mj this time, please!!! also please visit , , , and for all your computer hacking needs , many thnx for reading.

    Comment by Vlad -

  65. I agree with Dave in post#19.. In European football, there are multiple level leagues, and the worst three or so teams get demoted into the league below and the best three teams from the leagues below get promoted to the leagues above.

    The NBA currently has too many teams as it is, and encouraging these teams to play poorly during the second half of regular season so they can be rewarded by lottery picks, doesn\’t make any sense at all.

    The NBA should add four more franchise teams and then split the league in half, into two separate leagues. Then you\’ll see these teams really play ball in regular season when they are faced with the treat of demotion or the opportunity of promotion.

    Comment by Lionel -

  66. well i dont really know what to write and i didnt read it im just really bored so yea well g2t

    Comment by Rachel -

  67. How about taking the total points scored the entire season and have the 14 teams that don\’t make the playoffs pick according to who scored the most points?
    Team scoring most gets 1st pick, second most gets 2nd pick, etc.
    That way bad teams would be trying to score more points. You get less tanking and more entertaining basketball, as well as a race at the end of the season for first pick.
    The bad teams get help and no one would try to tank.

    Comment by BB -

  68. MC, you\’ve gone crazy. Crazier even! Not your idea about the draft, but for posting blog messages while you\’re in the Caymans.

    I\’m beginning to think you\’re like my brother with the \”Schadenfreude\” — you\’re happier if you\’re rubbing our faces in the sun of the Caymans. I\’m fogged in, in San Francisco and freezing…but I at least understand why I\’m in the blogsphere right now!

    Comment by Robert Seidman -

  69. Apparently I\’m the only one who sees absolutely no problem with the current system.

    I don\’t think the system encourages teams to tank. I think dumb coaches and GM\’s encourage teams to tank. Even with the Celtics tanking their way to the second worst record in the league, they still only had a 38.7% chance of winding up with Durant or Oden. That\’s a 61% chance of NOT getting Durant and Oden. And then they were shocked when 61% won out over 38%. Was soiling the celtics legacy really worth a 38% chance at a franchise changing superstar?

    The system works. Many of you are trying to find ways to make it harder for the worst team to get the top pick(discouraging tanking), but just as many people are complaining because the worst teams didn\’t get the first two picks. When everyone is unhappy, it means you\’re doing it right.

    Comment by Tim -

  70. Mark,

    I like your idea of having multiply ideas. Here is my suggestion:

    PPB = Ping Pong Balls

    1) Take the 7 teams from the Eastern Conference that didnt make the playoffs and give them each 5 PPB.

    2) Take the 7 teams from the Western Conference that didnt make the playoffs and give them each 5 PPB.

    3) Take the best team (best overall conference record) from each conference and give them 2 additional PPB. If there is a tie, give the tying teams each 2 additional PPB. This will bring their total to 7 PPB.

    4) Take the worst team (bottom feeders) from each conference and give them 1 additional PPB. If there is a tie, give the tying teams each 1 additional PPB. This will bring their total to 6 PPB.

    Eastern Conference:

    9. Indiana 7 PPB 8.97%
    10. Philadelphia 7 PPB 8.97%
    11. Charlotte 5 PPB 6.41%
    12. New York 5 PPB 6.41%
    13. Atlanta 5 PPB 6.41%
    14. Milwaukee 5 PPB 6.41%
    15.Boston 6 PPB 7.69%

    Western Conference:

    9. LA Clippers 7 PPB 8.97%
    10. New Orl/OKC 5 PPB 6.41%
    11. Sacramento 5 PPB 6.41%
    12. Portland 5 PPB 6.41%
    13. Minnesota 5 PPB 6.41%
    14. Seattle 5 PPB 6.41%
    15. Memphis 6 PPB 7.69%

    The following will happen:

    a) For the teams who actually gave a crap about the season and played hard, they will get rewarded with 2 extra balls.

    b) If you tank to get a better draft pick, you will only get 1 extra PPB.

    c) The middle of the pack has different issues but none the less have a fair shot.

    d) Owners will get rid of crappy GMs who make terrible front office decisions and Coaches who cant motivate, teach or coach.

    e) The league will actually get better because everyone will play harder.


    Comment by Devin -

  71. \”The losses as well as the prizes must be drawn from the cheating lottery of life.\”

    Comment by KindAndThoughtful -

  72. How about replacing the lottery with a competition where, over the all-star break and in that city, all teams participate in a 2 hour battle to raise the most money for a charitable cause of their choice. No holds barred, props, entertainment, special guests are fair game.

    It would be a spectacle that would only enhance what is currently a lame weekend of showboat basketball.

    So you got Shaq, D-wade and Udonis running around the streets of New Orleans in bathing suits trying to raise as much money as they can for Katrina relief, while you have TimD, Dirty Bowen and Parker, carrying Eva Longoria around on a throne, getting people to throw in money for Breast Cancer..

    Work it..!

    Comment by Dom Bortolussi -

  73. The NBA needs an end of season consolation tournament for the worst teams. The tournament would be similar to March Madness (one game matchups) and the teams would be seeded based on number of wins in the regular season. The winner of the tournament gets the #1 pick, 2nd place gets #2 pick, etc. Teams would compete through the end of the season, because even if they didn\’t make the playoffs, they might get a higher seed and possible home court for the consolation/draft tournament.

    Comment by JC Rodriguez -

  74. Why not a single elimination tournament? The winner of the tournament gets the #1 pick, the loser in the finals gets the #2 pick, and then the rest of the draft goes by worse record. Teams still have something to play for (byes and home court in the tourney) and it can be televised.

    Comment by Jon Ramsey -

  75. Simple solution. All non-playoff teams have an equal chance at #1 Sure, you might get a decent team that missed the playoffs getting the number 1 pick but so what? Would it be so bad if say, the Clippers got the number 1 pick? It would end all the tanking right away. Forget the weighted system. All non-playoff teams get 1 ball in the hopper and you draw them out. Last ball remaining in the hopper gets #1.

    Comment by Scott Gardiner -

  76. how about a losers \”playoff\” bracket…the 8 teams with the worst records are seeded, the winner gets pick #1, loser gets #2, etc..(think olympic medals applied to draft picks)
    they would have to play to win the pick at least.

    Comment by mike -

  77. Coin flipping…Seriously??? Too many Budweisers Mark. The ironic part is that the stronger west coast conference is who got the 1 & 2 picks. The system works the way it currently is set up. The system is doing exactly what it should do. Next year teams will think twice against tanking because they saw what happened next year, and the 5th and 6th place teams ended up winning the draft.

    Keep the same system in place!

    Comment by Michael -

  78. Dave Ward,

    The EPL would never take a team of Boston\’s historic caliber and demote them. Unless of course you feel there\’s a need for Man U to be dropped to a lower division in which I would call you a fool. But, since you think a D-league team could bring in a larger crowd than the Celtics, I don\’t necessarily need to call you that because your thoughts speak for themselves!!

    Mark, I\’m not necessarily a mavs fan, but you make the NBA a more entertaining/ marketable product, keep up the good work!

    Comment by Donnie -

  79. There are really 2 different trains rolling down the tracks here – 1 is making the current structure (worst team has best shot at #1 pick) better and the other is about changing the entire concept of what the draft is.
    I think the best post was to give the top pick to the the number 9 team with the best record – damn what a good idea this is. You get rewarded for playing your ass off but not quite getting there and you get to build for next year.
    The other idea (in terms of preserving last place = best shot at first pick) that came to my mind was something along the lines of what Mark said. It would actually be a hybrid of what the NHL will be doing as well.
    The day that the last playoff team is decided is the day that you lock in the draft standings (and I would still use the lottery system) for all NON-playoff teams. That way, if you are going to start \’tanking\’ you have to do it while there are still a lot of playoff implications. This will be hard to pull off, and if there are 10 homegames left for your sucky team and you trot out the \’Player Evaluation Games\’ – how many season tickets are you going to sell down the road? I certainly wouldn\’t be buying. As for the playoff teams – their seeding gets based on their finish in the playoffs – first team out gets best shot at that next pick position…and so on. You\’d have to insert some tie breakers here as well, regular season record etc.


    PS – Mark, you\’re on holidays…certainly they have a better beer selection than Corona or Bud Light!!! Live a little!

    Comment by bromo98 -

  80. Mark,

    Enjoy your summer get rested up and be ready to kick some A** next season. Your season ticket holders waiting for another exciting year at the ACC.

    Comment by Nelle -

  81. Or how about removing the socialist system that prevents young men from interviewing with a number of potential employers & allowing them to choose what they think is the best opportunity for them? Teams should have to compete to hire the best talent, just like other businesses do. After that it would be time to address the socialist salary-cap & rookie contracts!

    Comment by Ashton -

  82. Cuban is worried that his European Star is going to be dominated by the two rooks that are now in the West.

    Comment by RJ -

  83. Ok, here\’s a spectacular idea:

    There are 4 teams chosen for the lottery, the bottom 2 of each conference. They have to play a Tanker\’s Tournament (round-robin style) to decide who gets #1. The trick is, they\’ll think that whoever wins the tourney will get #1, but actually, (here\’s the not-so-surprising twist) the loser will get #1. Yeah, it\’ll only work 1 year, but think of the entertainment value.


    Comment by Geoff Scott -

  84. I had my own ideas on fixing the lottery system, including giving the most ping-pong balls to the BEST team that made the playoffs, giving every non-playoff team an equal chance, et cetera.

    The best one I could come up with was a hybrid of multiple thoughts already posted here. First, only the top 10 picks are in the lottery. Plus, if you\’ve had a Top 5 pick in the last 3 years, you don\’t qualify for a lottery pick (those teams start at 11th and it goes by record after that). Of those 10 picks, the team with the worst record has the worst chance at the 1st pick, and so on.

    The idea behind this is not only to prevent tanking, but also to not reward franchises that are mismanaged. If you have a Top 5 pick, and the following years you are among the 10 worst teams in the league, you might have Isiah Thomas as your GM.

    But frankly Scott Lewis has the best idea ever with his adapted HORSE game. Good stuff.

    Comment by Uber -

  85. It\’s simple. There is no lottery based on record. You only get the #1 pick every 31 years. The pick position you get would cycle each year as:
    #1, #30, #5, #20, #10, #25, #15, #2, #29, #6, #19, #11, #24, #3, #28, #7, #18, #12, #23, #4, #27, #8, #17, #13, #22, #5, #26, #9, #16, #14, #21, (back to the start) #1, etc.

    Of course setting up the first year would be difficult. Maybe they could do a lottery for the last time to determine that. It would be tough to weight it because getting the #21 pick the first year is a pretty good spot to be in.

    Comment by Keith -

  86. this system encourages teams that are in third from the bottom to tank at the end of the year (if they\’re not playoff bound). still better than the status quo though, interesting ideas.

    Comment by Dan -

  87. Use the average win/loss record of the last ~5, ~10, or ~15 years to help determine order to pick or number of ping pong balls issued to a team for each draft. Anyone want to count the W/L for the last 5 or 10 years for each team? You might have to take away some weight if a flurry of top free agents migrate to a team with high draft picks based on this formula.

    Comment by vankai -

  88. I think they should bring about a system of relegation similar to what\’s done in the soccer in the UK. Kick the two worst teams in the league down to the NBDL and bring the best two NBDL teams up. Then hold the draft lottery as it is currently with the NBDL teams getting the most balls in the hopper. This would definitely put an end to teams tanking seasons because it would put your place in the NBA (and share of the revenue pie) at risk.

    Comment by James -

  89. Here is my suggestion:

    First to make things even we need to do away with the conferences. The league I think has 30 teams. If everyone played everyone 3 times alternating between home and away that would give them 87 games. The next season you would flip the home and away. At the end of the season you would play take the top sixteen teams and play a seeded bracket with the standard 7 game series. The remaining 14 teams would be seeded in a single elimination tournament based on record. The winner of the tournament gets the top pick. The rest of the picks are determined by which round you went out of the tournament. The teams that go in the same round are then seeded with the worst record gets the highest pick. The tournament games could be played at nuetral city\’s that don\’t have NBA teams. This would allow the NBA to be seen in more venues.

    I am sure there is flaws to this. But it would keep teams from tanking at the end of the season becuase no one would want to play the highest seed. The single game allows anything to happen. Any team can lose on any given night.

    Comment by Robert -

  90. I was thinking the same as Dave Ward. Relegate and promote maybe 2 teams. This guarantees that there is no \’player evaluations games\’ and you could give the promoted teams the first picks in the draft to give them a chance at staying in the top league.

    It\’s just as exciting to cheer for your team to avoid relegation as it is to make the playoffs.

    Comment by Scott -

  91. Something needs to be done. The T-Wolves got #7 and they have never gotten 1 or 2 in 20 years of existence.

    Comment by Jon -

  92. I personally think that the odds in the lottery should be evened out a bit more, and that the team with the better record should actually have more of a chance at the #1 pick. Read more details at:

    Comment by Mike -

  93. What about using snake-like seeding of lottery teams in the first and second rounds – similar to how fantasy drafts work? So if you get the #1 pick in the 1st round, you\’d get the #14 pick in the second round and if you got the #14 pick in the first round – you\’d get the #1 pick in the 2nd. Clearly this isn\’t solving the tanking – but it could help the play-off fringe teams get over the hump…

    Comment by Brett -

  94. Thats funny, talking about teams tanking. The Dallas Mavs played the Golden State Warriors with alot riding on the game, with two games remaining. Not for the Mavs but for the Warriors and Clippers. AJ decided to rest his best three players but turned around and played them the next game. Not only was it sending a message to the Warriors but symbolically giving the Clippers the bird at the same time.

    Play until the end. If the Mavs played and lost that game, then fine, I have no problems, but throwing the game to not only screw the Clippers but in the end the Mavs.

    I am a huge Dirk, Avery, Cuban and even Mavs fan but the way the situation was handled at the end of the season, I was rooting against the Mavs for the first time in a long time. I wish the Mavs better luck next year but I am glad they lost.

    Karma is a B&*^h

    Comment by Elo -

  95. Seriously though, Why not take the 14 teams that dont make the playoffs and put their names on the PING PONG BALLS (One Each). Then turn the machine on…and here we go! The first ball out is the first pick and so on…..not too difficult.

    Comment by RJ -

  96. Who shot JR in the final episode of Dallas?

    Comment by RJ -

  97. Like this idea. Maybe instead of it going to the team with the worst record, it goes to the team who gets eliminated from the playoffs during the regular season first and automaticaly earned. This leaves little chance of tanking. If you are two games away from being elimanted from playoff seeding, are you going to tank…or work hard trying to earn that 8th seed.

    See, here is where the NBA is wrong. They want what\’s fair. However, the fans don\’t always care of what is fair. This is why I think the top draft picks should go to the teams with the best record not in the playoffs. Think about it…alot of fans like rooting for the underdogs (cough*Golden State*). But what underdogs are we rooting for towards the end of the season? Memphis or Boston? Or New Orleans? That is what I think fans want to see…they want to see those theoretical 9th and 10th seeds get over the hump and be competive with a future all star draft pick. Their is nothing good about Greg Oden playing in Portland if Portland\’s chances of being competitive are still the same. We want to see Oden and Durant with a New Orleans…or maybe an Orlando or New York Knicks team. We dont want to see them on a Memphis team and end up another Elton Brand (great player historically on bad teams).

    Here is my suggestion taht keeps things fair, helps the 9th and 10th seeds get better, and elimates conspiracy theories with the lottery.

    #1 pick: Team with best record that didnt make playoffs
    #2 pick: Team with 2nd best record that didnt make playoffs
    #3 pick: Team with Worse record
    #4 pick: Team with 2nd worse record
    #5 pick: Team with 3rd best record that didnt make playoffs
    #6 pick: Team with 4th best record that didnt make playoffs
    #7 pick: Team with 3rd worse record
    #8 pick: Team with 4th worse record

    I think you can see the pattern I am suggesting

    Comment by Vil Vodka -

  98. Why not just make it like the NFL draft. Sure it won\’t stop the tank jobs but there won\’t be questions on whether or not the lotto is fixed.

    Dave Masters – Don\’t be angry with Mark. If you don\’t want to be stuck in a cube for the next 30 do something about it. There are plenty of ways to make a great living without sitting in a cube. Look at yourself, figure out what you are good at and what you are passionate about, then find a way to make money doing that.

    Mark – Stick with Bud, putting fruit in your beer is not a sign of class its a sign of being a sheep following the heard.

    Comment by Mark -

  99. Institute a system like the English Premier League. Boston and Memphis should be relegated to the D League. Shake things up. Promote two D-League teams to the NBA. Fans who pay to go to the game, networks that pay for broadcast rights, deserve better than teams playing to lose.

    Comment by Dave Ward -

  100. My system: 10 teams in the lottery. 10 balls for worst record, then 9, then 8, etc. If you just miss the playoffs, tough luck. You might as well try to make the playoffs.

    All 10 picks are drawn.

    If you get the #1 pick, you must \”pay\” 10 balls for the pick. For the #2 pick, you \”pay\” 9 balls, etc. If you don\’t have enough, you still get the pick – but you get a negative balance.

    After the lottery, your balance carries over to next year. So, if you get screwed you could still have a lottery pick next year even if you make the playoffs. Or… if you get lucky (cough Orlando cough Portland), you\’ll be running a negative balance next year and almost certainly get shut out of the top 10.

    By having the balls carry over, your \”luck\” evens out over time.

    Isn\’t that the spirit?

    Comment by Brian Yennie -

  101. I was thinking about the draft, and this is what I came up with.

    All drafts reward the worst team, regardless of reason. It rewards tanking teams as well teams that had big stars retire in a previous season.

    Why not create a system that rewards all teams equally, or eliminate the draft totally.

    Just because one team did a better job at drafting players, signing players, and coaching why should that team be penalized with the worst pick?

    It is a business. We shouldn\’t reward the worst teams.

    Maybe you have a draft system that is equal for all teams, but if you win a pick that happens to be in the 1/3 of the draft, the next year you don\’t get one in the top 1/3. If you didn\’t improve with a top 1/3 pick, too bad.

    If you think about it, professional sports uses a system that rewards bad teams with better players.

    Heck, the NBA has a salary cap. Why not let everyone be free agents, including rookies?

    Comment by Scott Wyffels -

  102. \”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. \”

    Unless you mis printed this, you are saying the better team should get the first pick. I don\’t agree with that.

    The NFL addresses this issue by way of the schedule. 1st place teams in their division have a 1st place schedule the next year. This leads to (with some grand assumptions) a parity between the AFC and NFC. But is also affects the standings within conference and divisions.

    While the NBA can\’t make the individual games mean more, they could certainly compute a team ranking based on strength of schedule and overall record.

    Unlike the BCS, the strength of schedule can be based on final standings and competition\’s records to determine draft order. Eastern conference teams with equal records as Western Conference teams would have a slight priority as they (at least this year) have a weaker strength of schedule.

    This of course will lead to \”evaluation\” games which the lottery system attempted to quarantine. But those already exist.

    But it will also lock in certain teams rank earlier in the season. Bubble teams will be incented to win. Why? Because by winning, they are increasing other\’s strength of schedule which will lower their competitions draft position. Once I know, approximately where I\’ll be picking, I want to win every game to attempt to worsen everyone else\’s draft ranking.

    Comment by PSC -

  103. That idea is pretty interesting, but it wouldn\’t stop second to last place in the conference from trying to be last in the conference. So for instance lets say memphis is last in the west, and Seattle in second. Seattle is going to try to lose games to get behind memphis, but stay above Boston for the first pick. That would be complicated to manage so it might work, but it wouldn\’t eliminate the throw away games completely, but it would make the last place team more interesting to watch as they try and win games to be better then the other conference, and that would be good for the fans of that team.

    Comment by Michael Whitney -

  104. Mark:

    I think that the draft order from previous years should play a role in the present year\’s draft order. For instance, if a team had a top 3 pick last year, they shouldn\’t get a top 3 pick this year.

    I get tired of seeing the same lame-ass teams in the lottery every year. The Hawks get high draft picks every year, and yet they never get any better. The NBA lottery has become a welfare program for teams that can\’t get their act together.

    If you own an NBA team, it is your responsibility to get some good leadership in your organization to do some hard work and build a good team instead of suckling from the NBA Lottery teat every year hoping the latest 19 year old phenom can save your ass.

    Comment by Kevin Shaughnessy -

  105. I just like the old lottery method where every team who doesn\’t make the playoffs has the same amount of balls in the hopper and they draw for all 14 picks.

    Comment by Marcus -

  106. How about the worst 8 teams each nominate a player from their team to enter into a E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T Tournament (i.e., \”Horse\” with more letters).

    8th worse team starts with ELEPHAN
    7th worse team starts with ELEPHA
    6th ……………………… with ELEPH
    5th ……………………… with ELEP
    4th………………………. with ELE
    3rd………………………. with EL
    2nd……………………… with E
    Worst …………………… witth nothing.

    Worst team gets first shot – if he makes it, everyone must make it. At end of game, the first 8 picks are allocated accoring to order of finish.

    It would be entertaining.

    Comment by Scott Lewis -

  107. Mark, you\’re right, its a bunch of crap and if there is a way to stop it I would back it 100%. However the lottery and the draft exist to give the worst teams a chance at the best players, and overall wins/losses is what it really comes down to, so I don\’t know if you\’ll ever see it change.

    \”Somebody once said that in the history of the world, pessimists are usually right, optimists are usually wrong, but all the great change in history was made by optimists.\” -Thomas Friedman

    Comment by Iain McQueen -

  108. I like your idea for its inventiveness, but like any other suggested alteration, it doesn\’t entirely eliminate the motivation to lose games. Let\’s face it, if you\’re not going to make the playoffs, there will never be any reason to try to win games (other than integrity, pride, respect for your fan base, and other such things that don\’t exist in the real world). If you want to get rid of that motive, the only idea that makes any sense is Jeff Van Gundy\’s. Every year, the draft order is completely randomized. All 30 teams get one ping pong ball each, from the first pick to the last.

    Of course the argument against this (aside from it just sounding silly) is that you need to favor the weaker teams to achieve parity and give franchises a chance to get out of the cellar. But since the current system doesn\’t seem to do a great job of this either, why not give it a shot?

    Comment by Josh -

  109. It\’s too bad that players, coaches and owners don\’t play EVERY game like it\’s game 7 of the NBA finals. It\’s time to be men and play for the love of the sport…

    Comment by erik -

  110. We should let the teams that are in the lottery be in the lottery…instead of raffling off the pick numbers the top 14 players in the draft would be on the ping pong balls…or even let the teams pull their names out of a hat…I know it is a dumb idea but it has more merit and less controversy than the current system…If you didnt get the guy you want…trade up or down….imagine being the guy that drew lets say Al Horford…but you really wanted Kevin Durant…KDs name is still in the hat or on a ping pong ball with only two balls/ slips left in the hat…you could trade Horford and a selection to be named later to the team that has one of the last two picks to try to nab KD…More excitement that a coin flip

    Comment by mike toler -

  111. I\’d love to share my thoughts on your lottery ideas but find myself consumed by rage over your vacation bragging. Remember those of us who are going to be in cubicles for the next thirty years.

    Comment by Dave Masters -

  112. Mark,

    You comments are based on the premise that a #1 draft pick will have a pronounced immediate or sustained impact on the win total for the team in the coming season(s). Or from a business perspective, that the player will have a pronounced impact on ticket & merchandise sales. Certainly some players have this impact – L. James, S. O\’Neal etc. But many of the players who have made the biggest impact on their team were not #1 picks. Some were not even first round picks.

    Certainly, some NBA teams have underperformed late in the season in an attempt to win ping pong balls. The uncertainty that you suggest be added to the draft process would at least partially negate that tactic.

    Enjoy your Bud and remember to turnover every 20 minutes.

    Comment by Kevin -

  113. I still cant get over the fact that the NBA must institute a lotto b/c the worst teams cant be trusted to play on the level.

    I think it says something about the entire league and it isnt subtle.

    If u cant trust a franchise to play on the level, why should i trust a ref to ref on the level? a commish to commish on the level? players to play on the level?

    I really try to give Sports the benefit of the doubt. I think its the kid in me, but in the case of basketball, i just dont trust the sport.

    too many oddities. the Phx/SA series the commish ruins the series, the Mavs finals last year, the refs ruin the series. the conference finals and nba finals are irrelevant this year and the lotto is a complete joke.

    did i forget to mention the playoffs are ridiculous. The need to totally eliminate the conference seeding and go top 16 teams in the NBA has never been more apparent. No East/ No West. No weighted schedules, no Lotto.

    They need to figure it out b/c its kinda a joke right now.

    Comment by Jay Slick -

  114. Your blog appears to be acting a bit strange lately…why are comments being cutoff rather quickly in some cases?

    Comment by David -

  115. Why not let the BCS decide it? Their fancy computers can figure out a fair way to decide anything.

    Comment by Zach Boehm -

  116. How about basing the lottery only on a randomly generated selection of games from within the season, say 50 randomly generated games.

    Or base it only on the record vs non-playoff opponents?

    Comment by Sam Goerdel -

  117. When did Portland and Seattle get NBA teams?

    Comment by Joe Corey -

Comments are closed.