Tuck: NBA Lottery 1st Pick Playoff

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

Everyone keeps searching for a way end tanking in the NBA.  There are many very good ideas to make losing more games a bad idea.  I think everyone agrees, losing should not be rewarded.

Allow me to throw another idea out there that could be fun.  Adam Silver, are you reading?

A playoff.

A tournament to determine the top pick in the draft.

Here is how it would look using the current NBA standings:

————————1) Phoenix

8) Sacramento

9) LA Lakers

4) Atlanta

13) Philadelphia

5) New Orleans

12) Orlando

3) Denver

14) Milwaukee

6) Cleveland

11) Utah

7) Detroit

10) Boston

—————–2) Minnesota

The teams with the two best records are rewarded with 1st round byes.  Everyone else is seeded accordingly.  I’d play it March Madness style, one-game, winners move on.  You could wrap it up in under a week, or you could drag it out over two weeks.  Not only do teams with better records gain the advantage of home-court, they gain the money gained in having home-court.  I wrote it out the way it would appear on paper above, but I’d also like the idea of re-seeding after every round so that teams with better records got the home games at all times.  The final draft order would be based on advancement in the tournament with teams with better records getting the higher spot in the draft order.  The championship would obviously determine the 1st and 2nd pick.

By having a tournament you do the following things:

1) The number of games you lose is relevant in your draft positioning, but in a bad way.  You’re further from the top, not closer.

2) You reward the teams that tried hard and won the most with home games and a better shot at getting the top pick.

3) It might change the thought-process in rebuilding, at least if you focused on the draft, because being competitive will have it’s rewards.

4) Money can be made off this event.  The league is always looking to make more money. Perhaps NBA TV airs the entire tournament, or the league adds an additional TV partner?  You’d have 6 (1st round) games, 4 (second round) games, 2 semifinal games, and a championship.  13 meaningful games in addition to the regular season will sell.

5) It gives every fan base something to look forward to at the end of the season.  Instead of trying to figure out your draft slot and number of ping pong balls, fans would be looking at match-ups and whether or not they’ll have home games.

6) In years where there is a sure-fire college kid everyone covets, it sure would add some drama in who will get him!

The biggest question about doing something like this would be:

When do you start?  Immediately takes away from the real playoffs.  But is waiting realistic with players wanting to move on into the offseason?  Overlapping might be necessary.  NBA playoff games overlap in the first round anyway.  Perhaps you just play it out and attempt to have the #1 pick championship isolated at some point when the first round is wrapping up and there is more space?

No plan is entirely perfect.  The idea of the draft lottery was to deter tanking, but it clearly hasn’t worked as well as intended.  Why not completely revamp the whole thing.  Entertainment.  Profitability.  Value.  Incentive to win.  This setup has everything.  I’m sure we can figure out the schedule.

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