Don’t get me wrong — I understand the reasoning behind the draft lottery. With that said, the NBA draft has been unfairly punishing teams (and rewarding others) since the inception of the lottery system.
First, a bit of history. The exact reason that the draft lottery was created is the exact reason most people are afraid of getting rid of it — tanking. Back in 1985, teams were being accused of intentionally losing for the opportunity to draft No. 1 overall. The lottery system would take care of that, right? Certainly teams wouldn’t be tanking now.
In 1990, the NBA introduced a weighted system that gave teams with the worst record the best chance of receiving the No. 1 pick. Still, the absolute best chance was only 25 percent. Did that stop teams from trying to race to the bottom to have the best chance? Nope.
But, here’s the problem — those teams who have finished with the worst record and best chance of drafting No. 1 have only actually won the lottery three times since 1990. Even the team with the second-worst record has drafted No. 1 just four times. So, in 23 drafts, one of the two worst teams has drafted No. 1 just seven times. Let’s take a look at some reasons why it’s time to ditch the format and simply go in order of wins.