The NBA lottery system will undergo change after the league’s board of directors voted 28-1-1 in favor of regulations to discourage tanking according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Rules on player rest were also included, and both updates will be implemented in 2019.
The announcement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday came with changes to the odds of receiving the number one overall selection via the lottery. The three teams with the worst records will all have an equal 14% chance of obtaining the number one pick as opposed to the 25%-19.9%-15.6% system in place now. On top of the percentage change, the projected first overall pick will be able to fall as far as the number five slot, one space below the current limit of choosing fourth. The full list of updated selection odds can be found below.
Silver said, “it ultimately is my hope that the rules go in the drawer and that teams step up here and see that there is a larger obligation to our fans, to the basketball community.”
New additions to the NBA’s policy on resting players without injury came with the vote as well. Teams will be restricted from resting healthy players from nationally televised games on ESPN, ABC, and TNT. Silver will have the discretion to fine teams that violate the new legislation. The league will also push teams to rest players at home instead of away, allowing fans to witness marquee player match-ups with opposing squads. Other rule changes that eliminated the scheduling of four games in five consecutive days and many back-to-back contests came earlier this year when Silver announced that the season would begin a few weeks earlier than previous years.
This is another push from Silver to enact change in the landscape of the NBA and settle riffs from owners, players, coaches, and fans. Silver said of the lottery update, “I don’t necessarily agree that (tanking is) the optimal strategy to create a great team, but it became a currency in this league.” He added that reform was “important because there was a perception in many of our communities that the best path to rebuilding their teams was to race to the bottom.”
Silver’s protection comes as an insurance policy to the competitive nature of the league, attempting to depolarize the discrepancy in performance and also create more opportunities for fans to witness a positive, exciting brand of basketball.
By: Oscar Rzodkiewcz