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NBA considering draft lottery reform to discourage tanking

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You play to win the game.

2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The NBA has worked hard to craft their image and “tanking” has been one of the more obvious sore spots for years. The problem is, there haven’t been many perfect solutions. Draft lottery changes were proposed in 2014, but were voted down because small market teams feared an imbalance in how the rules would impact them.

According to Wojnarowski, similar rule changes could be back on the table for review. Again, these rules would need to be voted on by the NBA competition committee and approved by the board of governors.

The new rules would reportedly not be in place for the 2018 draft. So if the Lakers pick owed to the Celtics conveys (falls between 2 and 5) then it would not be impacted by these rules. If it rolls forward to the next year, then these proposed rules could be a factor in deciding where it lands.

What are the changes? Per Woj:

Currently, the teams with the three worst records have an ascending chance of winning the No. 1 pick, including (No. 3) 15.6 percent, (No. 2) 19.9 percent and (No. 1) 25 percent.

The NBA's proposal would flatten those odds and give the three teams with the worst record the same percentage of earning the No. 1 overall pick, league sources said. Now, the worst record to the fifth-worst record is a gap of 25 percent to 8.8 percent, but new legislation would tighten that difference significantly, league sources said.

For example, the fifth-worst team would only have a few percentage points less than those teams with newly equal odds among the three worst teams, league sources said.

These rule changes would still give high draft picks to the worst teams in the league, but it would, in theory, reduce the emphasis to lose each individual game at the end of the year with the hopes of jumping up a spot or two in the reverse standings.

For review, here are a few recent examples of teams “tanking” games for higher draft picks. per SBNation

As a result, the Lakers benched veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov as their young players lost 18 of 21 games before winning five of their final six games. The Phoenix Suns shut down Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe — both healthy — as they went on a 13-game losing streak, dropping 14 of their final 16 games.

Both teams drafted in the top four, landing young rookies who can potentially reshape the outlook of their respective franchises.

The Pacers and Bulls also traded away their franchise players this summer in hopes of rebuilding through the draft, leaving a talent deficit in the Eastern Conference.

We’ll have to see if these rule changes are voted into place and if they’ll have any direct impact on the “tanking” image problem.