The Lottery System: Is It Worth the Gamble?

Howdy y’all, and welcome back to Post Up.  In the past few articles Post Up has been looking at draft prospects that may be, or already are declared for this years NBA Draft.  I figured since we are in that awkward time of the awards being done, the season wrapping up, and yet still too early to talk playoffs because not every match up is set in stone yet, we would continue with draft talk.  With today’s article, we will be looking at whether or not having a lottery system is the best way to go about it.  Many would argue (Timberwolves and T-Wolves fans) that the system is not a just means to go about drafting, while there are others who think the system in place makes things more exciting.  Let’s dive into this issue, shall we?


Those For the NBA Lottery


Let me start off by stating that no one loves the NBA Draft Lottery more than those who win it.  They are extremely happy that they got the position they did, because more than likely they did not deserve it.  Sure they may have had a bad team, but if you are in the top 10 for bad teams, you can still get the first overall pick.  No one loves something more than when they win at it.  To go along with that, the people who love the system nearly as much as those who are winning it are those moving up.  If you are the 10th worst team and you someone find a way in the top 5, you are loving every second of it.

With that being said, the other people who like the lottery system are the bitter individuals.  Now, I am not saying everyone is bitter, but that is the perfect word for it.  The lottery system came around in the mid 1980’s to curb tanking.  By installing a lottery system, you may have tanked, but that does not mean you will get the coveted first overall selection.  Essentially, a bunch of bitter people gathered around and said, “how can we punish those who are already bad?”  Now, that may have come off bias with all the negative commentary thrown around, but I assure you we are not bias, it is truth.  Now sure, they may not be as bad as they were during the regular season, but let us be honest here people, they probably still deserved to be the worst team, if not the second worse.

The last group of people who love the lottery system are the money makers.  That could mean gamblers, GM’s, Owners, the NBA itself etc.  There is a lot of money to be made with the lottery system (no pun intended), because it is a relatively cheap investment that due to its publicity, adds much to the pockets of those directly involved.  The gamblers love it because the odds on favorite hardly ever wins it, so therefore there is a chance at a big return.  Due to the fact of big money, that ultimately adds excitement to the endeavor, and excitement causes publicity and publicity equals money.  See where I am going with this?

This system has been around for a good chunk of time, almost 30 years, and therefore people have come to accept that it will be the system for years to come.  While it has many valid points to being the system of the future, does it have to be?  There is a strong congregation of individuals who say otherwise and they also have a strong argument for their side.


Those Against the NBA Lottery


Ah yes, those looking to get rid of the NBA Draft Lottery system.  Just like those who created it, those against it are usually just as bitter, except they are an even bigger group of bitter.  Take for example the fans and teams, when you are winning you love it, but when you do not get what you deserve, you hate it, like the Timberwolves for example.  There were a few years there that they deserved higher picks than what they got (the Derrick Rose draft comes to mind), and because they were losing at the game, they were hating it.  But, I can feel for them.  They, as well as other teams, deserve to not have their position taken away just to curb tanking and add excitement.  Did you know that in the 30 years the NBA Draft Lottery has been around, only 4 teams that were the worst team that season won it?  That is ridiculously low, especially because most of those teams needed it more so than the ones that won.

When I was writing this article, I was having a discussion with the other writer for Post Up, and he said something that is true, “There is really only 2-3 franchise players in a draft on average.”  Sure some have more like the LeBron Draft, and some have 1 or none like the Chris Paul Draft, (yes I know Deron Williams was in that draft, but let’s be honest, he is a coach killer and therefore someone I would not want to build around).  If the choices are that limited, why penalize a struggling team by making them pick 1 or even 3-4 spots later then they should?  One player can help turn a franchise around in the NBA, since it is so player skill focused, why not help those teams?

Some argue that the article we posted last week about the Eastern and Western Conferences powers stems from the lottery system.  There are very few West teams that deserve to be in the top 7 worst teams, but there is always more than there should.  Could you image if the East was actually given the picks it deserves, in a worst to best draft system?  The East would be more than likely much stronger and more competitive which over time the low level of apathy and competitiveness found in the East would shift over to the West.  Sure there would be the occasional bad team, but it would not be on the scale we are now used to seeing with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The ones against the NBA Draft Lottery have a strong voice as well, not many other major sports do a draft lottery.  The other major North American sport that does a lottery is the NHL, and they too have issues with the West being stronger than the East.  The NFL and MLB do a worst to best draft and they seem to have no issues with power balances.  What is our decision on this topic you may be wondering?


The Verdict:

No More Lottery


Here at Post Up, we have come to the conclusion that the NBA would be better of without a lottery system.  By eliminating the lottery system, it would raise competition because bad teams would be getting better players.  We also believe that the lottery system, while it may cause tanking, we would argue that it would actual curb it more than the lottery system because again, it would be hard to tank with nearly every team have some kind of star or superstar.

After doing the research and making the argument for both sides, this is how we feel about the situation.  But, here at Post Up, we don’t care about what we think, we care about what you think!  How do you feel about the NBA Draft Lottery?  Is it a good or bad system?  If you had the chance to change it what would you do?  Why?  These are just some of the questions you can answer and more after reading this article.  We encourage everyone to comment and give us feedback on what we are doing here.  We ask you like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe on Reddit.


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