Tuck: Avoiding The NBA Draft Lottery Conspiracy

1. There is no conspiracy.  At least not since 1985 and the frozen and bent envelope to help the Knicks land Patrick Ewing.

2. People seem to really believe there is a conspiracy.  On a usatoday poll 54% said they thought the lottery was rigged and 28% said they didn’t know, but could believe it was.  That’s 82% of people suspicious or worse.

3. Because of 1985 everyone thinks every lottery is rigged.

4. Every lottery isn’t rigged.  If they were, don’t you think the Knicks or Bulls or some big market would have gotten LeBron James???  You can’t on one hand tell me David Stern wants the big markets to do well and win, and then on the other have Cleveland, Milwaukee, Orlando, New Orleans, Toronto, Portland, and San Antonio winning lotteries.

5. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to fix the lottery this year so Brooklyn would win?


Okay, to review:

The lottery isn’t fixed and I think people that think it is are crazy for thinking that.

But, people still think the lottery is rigged.


So we have to fix that.

1. The most obvious, make the damn drawing public on national TV.  Why on earth they do it behind closed doors still is beyond me?

2. The reason they might do it behind close doors, isn’t beyond me.  It could be that we wouldn’t understand what we are watching.  This is what happens:

The lottery is conducted with witnesses verifying that all 14 balls are represented once as they are placed in the lottery machine. The balls are placed in the machine for 20 seconds to randomize prior to having the first ball drawn. The remaining three balls are drawn at 10-second intervals. NBA officials determine which team holds the winning combination and that franchise is awarded the #1 overall draft pick. The four balls are returned to the machine and the process is repeated to determine the second and third picks. In the event that a combination belongs to a team that has already won its pick (or if the one unassigned combination comes up), the round is repeated until a unique winner is determined. When the first three teams have been determined, the remaining picks are given out based on regular season record with the worst teams getting the highest picks. This assures each team that it can drop no more than three spots from its projected draft position.

3. As you can read, it’s not like watching the Florida Lottery drawing.  Soooooooooo, my solution is to show it, and make it more like that kind of drawing!

4. Revert back to how the lottery began.  Every non-playoff team has an equal chance to land the top pick.  In fact, the entire draft order for non-playoff teams would be selected like this.

5. This adds drama for the lottery.  Your team could end up anywhere.

6. More importantly, it eliminates tanking.  There is nothing to be gained from losing more games.  You don’t get extra ping pong balls, and you do not improve your draft position.

To review:

Do the drawing live, in front of cameras, where we can all see.

Make it simple.  Everyone has the same chance of winning.

It is a system that doesn’t reward losing, and adds extra drama to the lottery itself.