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Report: NBA lottery reform gaining support, could come this season

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day

NBAE/Getty Images

The NBA rewards failure.

The league’s draft lottery was designed to curb tanking, and it might have worked. The worst team has only a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick.

But it probably hasn’t worked effectively enough.

Every year, teams still tank. No, the worst team doesn’t automatically get the No. 1 pick or even enter a coin flip to determine the first and second selections. But it gets the best odds of the No. 1 pick and is guaranteed a top-four pick. That’s a pretty decent prize.

So, reformers have discussed change.

The “wheel” – where teams rotate through each pick in a 30-year cycle – has gained some support. But that’s a long time to commit to a plan, and teams can face near-certain gloom if they’re struggling when they’re nearing guaranteed low picks.

The NBA’s competition committee also proposed increasing the lottery from the top-three to the top-six and flattening the odds. That could happen.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

there appears to be broad support among the league’s 30 teams for the NBA’s proposal, per several sources. Ownership groups could vote on it as early as this season, and a powerful distaste for Philly’s multiyear tanking adventure is driving the reform movement.

More than two-thirds of NBA teams – the Hawks, Celtics, Nets, Bulls, Kings, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Knicks, Warriors, Jazz, Rockets, Pelicans, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, 76ers, Timberwolves, Suns, Magic and Raptors – have traded or traded for a future draft pick that could fall in the lottery. Presumably, these 21 teams made those trades while projecting picks based on the current system.

To change the system on the fly seems problematic, but if everyone favors it, I guess it’s fine.

Of course, not everyone favors it. The 76ers sure don’t.

But the rest of the league apparently resents their tanking so much, it will change the rules on the fly.