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Draft Lottery Ideas

Discussion in 'Around The NBA' started by Henry Tuttle, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Henry Tuttle

    Henry Tuttle Sixth Man

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    It really seems like this is somewhat of a hot issue right now, which is really cool to me just because I've always had somewhat of an interest in this sort of thing and I enjoy reading all the different proposals. I've been kicking around this idea for a minute now, and wasn't sure where to put it, but this forum seemed appropriate.

    The main complaint about the current lottery is that it encourages/rewards losing. The obvious extreme reaction would be to dissociate a teams record with their lottery chances. After thinking about this (for much too long), I came to the conclusion that, though I agree that losing should not be weighted so heavily, we can actually alleviate that weight by directly correlating losses with chances in the lottery. It seems contradictory and some of this is based on theory (trying to think like a lottery GM), but I really feel like there's something to it.

    The reason so much of the NBA viewership wants to change the lottery method is due to accusations of tanking, so let's take it as a given that there is some sort of tanking going on. If so, I would also argue that those GM's guilty of tanking think along the same lines as you and I - "Where do we stand relative to teams in a similar situation? How many losses do we need to move up one spot in the lottery? If we were to achieve that and move up in the lottery, would it be realistic that we could move up another spot soon after?" This absolutely creates a competition for losses, where one game can shift the entire fortune of a team, possibly forever. From day to day, teams compete with each other for a chance at striking it rich. This is the main issue at hand. If we can step back and evaluate a team based on the bigger picture we can create a more fair system. Hence why I believe the lottery should be based directly on overall record (more specifically, losses).

    OK, I think that explanation was merited, but I think that's enough. If any reasoning needs to be explained further I'll be happy to do so. Here's the meat and potatoes:

    Calculating magic numbers
    • (Non-playoff team's # of losses)^2
    • Playoff team's # of losses

    It's that simple. The squaring of non-playoff teams losses is somewhat arbitrary, but I like where it gets us. Let's take a look at how many combinations each team would be assigned (using the current standings)

    -Charlotte has 2,500 combinations (50^2)
    -Washington has 1,936 (44^2)
    ...
    -Utah (best non-playoff team) has 784

    As far as playoff teams,
    -New York has 28 combinations
    -Philadelphia has 27 combinations
    ...
    -Chicago has 14 combinations

    This will obviously play out differently using a record over 82 games, but I believe this would be for the better, as the difference between playoff and non-playoff teams odds will be even more in favor of non-playoff teams.

    Each teams # of combinations will be determined based on record as demonstrated and then the total amount of combinations for the draft will be summed from that. The total amount of combinations will vary from draft to draft, but I don't see this being a huge deal and makes it harder for a team to determine where they stand during the course of a season as far as odds go. After the total amount of combinations is determined, the lottery begins!

    -The combination for the #1 pick is selected (Charlotte has 2,500 combos, Washington 1,936...Chicago 14)
    -Cleveland has the matching combination! All their combinations are now removed from the total pool and Dan Gilbert has a heart attack.
    -The combination for the #2 pick is selected (Charlotte has 2,500 combos, Washington 1,936...Chicago 14)
    -Charlotte has the matching combination! Their combinations are removed from the pool and they draft Harrison Barnes and no one cares.
    ............
    -The combination for the #29 pick is selected (Miami has 17 combinations and Chicago has 14 combinations)
    -Chicago has the matching combination and receives the #29 pick, Miami automatically receives the #30 pick and the first round lottery is complete.

    I know I totally over-complicated this, but I really hope it makes some sense. If not, please ask me to clarify and I'll try my best.
     
  2. Henry Tuttle

    Henry Tuttle Sixth Man

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    I should have prefaced this by asking - wouldn't the current lottery system seem ridiculous if the league achieved what everyone's clamoring for (competitive balance)? Imagine every team finishes around .500 (hypothetically possible), how ridiculous would it be that one of those teams would have a 20% chance at the #1 pick and 16 of them have no chance whatsoever. Let's approach competitive balance by assuming it already exists, and assess teams based on overall performance instead of relative to one another.
     
  3. Adam

    Adam Reading and reacting

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    Its a nice idea, but surely by squaring everything you make tanking more important as 1 loss can make a bigger difference?
     
  4. Henry Tuttle

    Henry Tuttle Sixth Man

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    Let's take last year as an example...

    If the Cavs lost the last 2 games under the in-place lottery system, their odds would increase by about 5%.
    Using the method proposed above - the Cavs would have finished with 3,969 combinations (63^2) last year. If they'd lost the last 2 games instead of winning they get 4,225 combinations instead. This is a 6.4% increase. But keep in mind that the total odds would constantly be in flux, as the total number of combinations wouldn't be determined until the season was over.
     
  5. Henry Tuttle

    Henry Tuttle Sixth Man

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    My main point is tanking might still occur, but since it's based on the bigger picture it would be more noticeable. For example, the Cavs would not be in a position to say "OK, we need to lose this game against the Raptors, let's sit Kyrie." The tanking would have to be more consistent and therefore be more pronounced and therefore be harder to get away with.
     

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