There are people in the world of sports that believe the NBA is rigged. Conspiracy theories cultivate around missed calls, free agency, and trades. However, the most troubling part about the NBA centers around the NBA Draft Lottery.
Even to the most conservative thinker, the lottery is a bit unusual. They select the order in a room not open to the public and then report it on national TV soon after. Yeah, I’m sure nobody has ever, accidently, switched a team or two around. Each team has a certain amount of ping pong balls determined by their record. In other words, the team with the worst record has the highest percentage to win. Many teams increase their chances of getting more ping pong balls by purposely losing during the season. It’s a flawed system and it’s a bad look for the league.
The NFL rewards the first pick to the team who had the worst record at the end of the previous season. This seems like it’s better than the NBA’s draft, except it too isn’t without flaws. There have been players, most notably John Elway and Eli Manning, who refused to play for certain markets once they caught wind of that team’s intentions on drafting them.
So what is the solution to the NBA Draft Lottery issues?
Pretty simple…just eliminate it.
What purpose does the draft really serve anyway?
Imagine this scenario in your life. You graduate from your university with a 4.0 GPA, you nailed your internship, and you have your choice of any company you want to work for. Oh, except for one little snag, since you’re the best in your class they reward the worst company in the country with your services. Forget New York, or Los Angeles, you’ll be working in Dover, Deleware at a box factory.
That’s what the draft process is in sport; your career freedom doesn’t exist.
Instead of the NBA Draft, free agency should be the expanded to include the rookie class each year. The salary cap continues to increase each year, so why not allow teams to bid on the established and incoming talent? It’s kind of like and auction style fantasy football draft.
Let’s take this year’s assumed number one pick Ben Simmons. Why in the hell would he want to go play for the Philadelphia 76ers? They don’t care about winning. They’ve given the fans an empty promise of a plan for the future that never comes together. They’ve put their franchise’s hopes on the surgically repaired back of Joel Embiid and Mario Saric who nobody knows anything about. Unfortunately, if Simmons declines to play for them, suddenly he’s the bad guy. He’d be labeled as selfish and immature. Simmons being drafted and demanding a trade or holding out is a very real possibility.
One of the first thoughts rookies have when they’re drafted by these wasteland organizations is where they will go next when their contract expires. So why are we holding them hostage for four or five years? Is it some sort of sick right of passage?
Would it really be a big deal for teams to sign them out of college and have a mutual want for each other instead of making them suffer?
Are you afraid of organizations creating “Super Teams?” Guess what? They already do. We’ve seen the Celtics and the Heat trade for and sign elite talent and the fans ate it up. Just imagine this NBA championship with these starting lineups: Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins vs Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Yeah, nevermind, nobody would ever want to watch that!
There is a threat of NBA teams getting involved with college students before they’re eligible for the draft. Let’s be honest though, the NBA doesn’t care about anybody’s eligibility, unless it makes them more money. Stricter tampering rules can be put in place if an idea like this was taken into serious consideration.
The worst thing we can do as a society is stay stagnant because “that’s the way it is or has always been.” We wouldn’t have some of the great inventions we have today if people simply kept things the way they were. It’s time for the NBA to break away from the NBA Lottery and usher in a new innovative era.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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