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NBA VP Kiki Vandeweghe doesn’t see “anything imminent” in change of lottery system

Grant Gilbert

Grant Gilbert, 13, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, holds one of the lottery numbers that were drawn in combination giving the Cavaliers first place during the 2011 NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Tuesday night, the lottery balls will fly around in the back room at the Barclays’ Center, while out on stage players/coaches/GMs will sit and awkwardly wait for their franchise’s fortunes to be pulled out of oversized envelopes.

The lottery was put in place to prevent tanking, teams intentionally racing to the worst record so they would get the top pick in the draft. With the lottery, the Philadephia 76ers — the worst team in the NBA this past season — has just a 25 percent chance of the top slot. They can’t fall any farther than fourth.

Sam Hinkie is gone, but his unapologetic effort to take his team to the bottom to draft elite players still lingers over the NBA, with people still throwing around lottery reform ideas.

But don’t expect any soon, NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

What do you think of the current NBA lottery system?

Vandeweghe: “The first thing is, the lottery is not supposed to incentivize losing. In theory, it’s supposed to help the teams with the worst record. That’s the whole purpose behind it. It’s been constructed in different ways and changed a variety of times over the course and adjusted as needed. But those are the two tenets to keep in mind.”

Have there been any recent league proposals to change it?

Vandeweghe:: “Nothing recently. I don’t think see anything imminent. A year and a half ago, there was a lot of momentum for change. We brought some thoughts to the Board of Governors. The majority of the owners were in favor of change. But a change really takes a super majority (two/thirds of owners, or 23). So we barely missed that. I don’t know what has happened in between that. We’ve focused on different areas. I would assume it hasn’t really changed that much.”

It was small and middle market owners that balked at change, mostly because they feared they would be screwed when some day in the future they were going to try to rebuild through the draft. They saw the system tilting to potentially favor larger markets, which already have some recruiting advantages.

With Hinkie gone and every team around the league about to be flush with cash, team building is taking on different forms. The momentum for change is gone. At least for now.