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The NBA may adjust their draft lottery system, but they should go further

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The NBA may adjust their draft lottery system, but they should go further

Next week the NBA's competition committee is planning to vote on a new proposal targeting what most would agree is one of the league's biggest problems, the current draft lottery system that encourages tanking. It's a glaring issue that each year some teams actively try to lose and commissioner Adam Silver wants to fix it.

As reported by ESPN, the league is weighing several options, including evening out the odds for the No. 1 pick between the teams with the three worst records. Currently, the worst team in basketball gets a 25 percent chance at the No. 1 pick and that scales down to 15.6 percent for the third-worst team. Another idea is to allow teams to fall four spots from where they are in the standings. For example, the worst team could get the No. 5 pick when right now they can do no worse than fourth. 

Those changes would certainly limit tanking, as there would be no added incentive to become the absolute worst team in the NBA. But it doesn't go far enough, if the league truly wants to discourage losing on purpose.

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Here's an idea: expand the lottery from 14 teams to 18. Give the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference some ping-pong balls, allowing them to every once in a while hit it big with a top pick. Maybe even ensure those teams a top 12 selection.

What if the bottom four playoff teams were not only in the lottery, but had better odds for a top selection than the teams that just missed the playoffs? That would encourage teams to spend money and aim to win now, knowing they don't have to be perennial losers to acquire high value draft picks.

The current system makes it tough for teams without young talent that just barely make the playoffs. In the current system, being the eighth seed means little more than a quick exit in the first round. If the bottom seeds in the playoffs had a good chance to land, say, a top 10 pick then maybe teams like the Bulls and Pacers wouldn't have to so quickly rebuild and trade Jimmy Butler and Paul George.

Here's how the current lottery odds stack up:

25% (worst record in the NBA)
19.9
15.6
11.9
8.8
6.3
4.3
2.8
1.7
1.1
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5 (14th-worst record, last team to miss the playoffs)

Here's an idea of what this expanded lottery system would look like:

13.0 (worst record in the NBA)
12.0
11.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
3.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
5 (playoff team with worst record)
5
5
5

Under this hypothetical proposal, the bottom four seeds in the playoffs would be tied for the eighth-best odds for the No. 1 pick . That could encourage teams in the middle of the lottery to aim up rather than down, to make moves to win instead of rebuild.

The NBA clearly wants to get rid of tanking, or at least limit it. The fact they are trying is good to hear, but they can do more to fix the system than they plan to propose.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

Bradley Beal receives zero All-NBA votes, which itself is a snub

On Thursday the NBA revealed the All-NBA teams for the 2017-18 season.

Not surprisingly, Bradley Beal and John Wall did not make it to one of the three five-player teams. Of the two superstars, only Wall has been recognized once in his career.

What is surprising is that neither Beal nor Wall received a single vote in the whole process, especially Beal.

The 2017-18 season was without question the best in Beal’s career. He played in all 82 games, coming right off of the heals of his All-Star recognition. Beal seems to agree in his snubbing, tweeting this minutes after the teams were announced:

Looking at the list of players who made the top three teams, it shouldn’t be an issue, but these three guys got more votes than the Wizards' duo combined: Steven Adams, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard. It is not surprising that Beal and Wall did not make an All-NBA team. It is odd that Beal didn’t receive a vote.

Here is a list of the full All-NBA Teams:

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM: 

LeBron James (Cavaliers), James Harden (Rockets), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Kevin Durant (Warriors)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Joel Embiid (76ers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM:

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves), Paul George (Thunder)

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