Possible Solutions to the "Tanking" Issue
I just wanted to hear some ideas you guys have to fixing the problem. One of my current ideas is that teams that just miss the playoffs and ending their ranking between 10-15 are reserved the rights to be entered into a special lottery for the first two picks. After that, the draft order resumes as usual. This way teams that play hard but still miss playoffs are given a chance to improve their rosters drastically, whereas teams that "tank" and lose on purpose or purposely decide to blow up their roster knowing that they will lose an insane amount of games will miss out on the first two picks of the draft. What are your thoughts? I know one idea out there is that every team gets a first pick every 30 or so years, but I don't think this idea works very well because there are some drafts that are substantially better than others (i.e. this draft vs last years draft).
There's only one way of getting rid of tanking that I can think of and that's getting rid of the lottery and having the teams with the best non playoff records pick first, second and so on. By doing this you are rewarding teams who have worked hard and who just missed the playoffs and it would prevent teams from purposely putting a D league team on the court for more ping pong balls.
This would just create a race between the teams currently between 12th and 17th to try and just miss the playoffs by a spot or two. Think of how much better it would be to grab an Embiid or a Wiggins and try again next year than to face the Spurs and go on a fishing trip 4 or 5 games later than you might have otherwise. I think this would cause some teams to lose hope of ever being good again and fans of middle of the road teams to be pissed when their team throws games with the sole purpose of missing the playoffs.
While this may be true, I don't think many owners, coaches, and players or even fans would want to see their team miss playoffs when they are so close to it. Most owners would prefer to have their teams in the playoffs rather than miss the playoffs on purposes. Players are competitive and won't want to lose on purpose just to get a high pick in the draft. They always want to compete for a ring. Coaches want to win and compete for rings. Contrary to what other people may believe, I still strongly believe that coaches care about their win/loss record. Also I think that even if what you say might happen becomes true the overall competitiveness in the NBA and NBA season would become so much better in general since teams that are lottery bound won't be competing with each other to see who can lose the most games throughout the entire season.
I agree that players and coaches are competitive and do not purposely try to lose games, but this does not seem to be able to stop front office manipulation for low lottery teams so I do not think it would be any different with teams ten spots above them. No one likes to see their team lose, but it would be more palatable for fans and owners to digest if they were a semi talented team losing so with a good pick they could become a good or great team. This would actually create a way to easily jump from the middle to the front of the NBA but could also create a pit for those unlucky enough to fall below the top 20 teams. This would also make it less likely for free agent players to jump to bad teams now that they won't even pull in a top pick to help on the court.
IMO this concept would create even more perverse incentives. A team could win games, keeping the fanbase happy, then purposefully lose games down the line so they miss the playoffs. At least the current tanking comes with the negatives of hurting young players and hampering the morale of the fanbase.
I think the league should reduce the odds of the worst teams getting the top pick. Currently, the worst team has a 25% of getting the number 1 pick... I think that should be reduced to 20% with the other 4 bad teams also receiving a reduction in probability.
Tanking occurs because teams are trying to rebuild through high draft picks. They receive high picks by losing more games than other teams. The only way to get rid of tanking would be to take away the chance to benefit from it. To do this and still keep the draft the only true way would be to give all the teams in the NBA an equal chance at picks 1-30 and then just have a random draw.
The problem is that this would cause more predictable outcomes in what is already a very predictable sports league. The draft and lottery is meant to give teams and fans hope that their fortunes can change even when some of your starting 5 were playing in the D league not very long ago. Abolishing this hope would only hurt the NBA And it appeal to fans of underperforming teams. The NBA needs to promote more parity in the league with more talent turnover. This coupled with team loyalty (not player loyalty) is what creates profitable and popular sports leagues.
Is it just me; because I don't think tanking is as big of an issue as people make it out out to be.
It is not just you.
I'm with you on the issue. It's still not a guarantee no matter how much a team tanks, if the ball doesn't bounce their way it doesn't matter. Lottery not broke so don't fix it is the approach I'm in favor of.
The reason why it may be considered a "big issue" is that there are teams that put together what is essentially a "D league worthy roster" on purpose for an entire season just to get a high lottery pick. This causes a decrease in the overall competitiveness in the NBA and results in massive blowout wins. As another poster said in this thread, tanking drastically hurts a NBA team's fanbase. It hurts the overall market for the NBA. It's one thing to put together an actual NBA roster and lose games if the coaches/players are trying to win and it's another to put together a roster that has no hope of succeeding in the NBA, let alone win games all for getting a high lottery pick. Another thing related to the tanking issue is that newly appointed NBA commish Adam Silver went so far as to deny the existence of "tanking" in the NBA saying that it doesn't exist, which is a preposterous statement in and of itself as several former NBA GMs (most recently was one of Toronto's former GMs) have come out to the open and admitted that they have tanked in the past in order to try to get a high lottery pick.
What issue. People just try to find the negatives in everything. We should find a solution for that
It is an issue because teams (not players) are essentially trying to lose. That goes against the fabric of all sports. Trying to lose? That doesn't happen in many sports. It means that on a night with a full slate of games in March/April, 3 or 4 might be essentially pre-determined. Fortunately there's usually a good game worth watching at the same time between teams trying to win.
I think just give each lottery team an equal chance at the #1 pick and leave it so the worst team is certain of getting no worse than the #4 pick. There are other ways to improve your team via trades and free agency too.
It wasn't a bad thing when the bulls got D-rose, or when the Magic got Penny against the odds.
Keep the lottery and weighting system the same, but then pull numbers for all 14 lottery picks. No more gauranteed top 4 pick for the worst team. So while you have a better chance of getting a higher pick, you could still theoretically finish with the worst record and get the 14 pick.
I've also heard alot of front office types favor using a system where your record is averaged over the last 3-5 years and then teams are placed in order 1-14 and the lottery stays the same.
Give each team 1 ping pong ball per loss.
Lets' assume the Bucks, Sixers and Magic all lose their remaining games.
Here's how the math plays out :
Odds of getting the top pick Odds of getting the top pick
Current system My system
Bucks 25.0% (250 balls out of 1,000) 5.5% (68 balls out of 1,230)
76ers 19.9% (199 balls out of 1,000) 5.4% (66 balls out of 1,230)
Magic 15.6% (156 balls out of 1,000) 4.9% (61 balls out of 1,230)
Please note - For an absolute average team (41-41) the odds would be 3.3%
For the lottery - Draw 10 balls, first ball out gets top pick and so on. For the remaining picks (11-30) they draft based on their losses - most losses picks 11th.
I think tanking would be almost completely eliminated - thoughts ?
I understand the percieved issue you are addressing, but I mean even if you change it to your format another issue will replace the previous one. People that dont do what they need to do will always find an excuse to justify any shortcomings. Could you imagine if Boston a team that has played hard all year reinserted Rondo in the lineup when they could have gave him a year off or traded him, have their fans asking why they wont tank better and never really purposely went to lose games since trading thier declining vets got the 14th pick in this draft. You would have Boston fans in an uproar. Sure you can say they tanked, but wouldnt you rebuild instead of paying Garnett and Pierce 30-mil a year or whatever to finish 5-8 in the East if everything worked out. Or if Dallas, Phoenix, Memphis or whoever misses the playoffs landed Wiggins. That would be ridiculous.
Make it like the NFL. Worst team gets the 1st pick but here's the kicker, that team also gets less of the NBA revenue sharing. You'll still have bad teams but an incentive to build a competitor as fast as you can.
I just wanted an idea. I'm sure it's a bad one. In reality, lottery is probably best because there is no guarantee. I'm ok with leassening the odds. Also on 2k14 they talk about taking away draft pick protections outside of top 3. I think that'll lessen tanking from maybe a possible 10 teams to maybe 5. Just give the system a tune up. There will always be a flaw
Using similar model where only top 3 picks are determined by ping pongs. Non playoff teams get 1 ping pong per win. Patent it yo!
Or if want more equal distribution, then non playoff teams get 100 balls each. Plus 1 per win.
I'd like to see all non-playoff teams have an equal chance of winning the lottery, meaning all 14 teams that fail to qualify would have roughly a seven percent chance of landing any of the spots 1 thru 14. Bad teams would have no reason to sink to their lowest low, and middling teams would have choice: try to make the playoffs, or take a spin with the lottery. I think most owners would go for the playoff revenue, but it's mostly irrelevant, because 8th seeds are typically just 1st round fodder for the real contenders anyway. This model may lead to some &$#%#&@! 1-8 matchups, but it's still better than eight teams going all in on the "Sorry for Jabari" Sweepstakes.
Return of the Jedi sort of explains the flaw in this method. (or the beauty, depending on how you look at it)
Think of Boba Fett as the 8th seed that didn't want to make the playoffs but couldn't out-tank the 9th seed (Luke Skywalker), and as punishment was thrown into the Sarlacc Pit (metaphor for elite basketball team).
Super nerdy, I know.
Anyway, this works well if you don't mind a potential tanker making the playoffs, then getting killed by a legitimately great team. Personallly, I love the idea. But I'm kind of sick like that.
Most of you are acting like the teams who are tanking are cheating the system or something. It is a huge risk as a business and as a team to tank.
As a business you are losing revenue by not having any playoff games, selling less tickets to games (who wants to watch their team lose), losing fans (less income off ticket sales, merchandise, etc.), and losing investors (people don't want to invest in a team that loses games and doesn't make money).
As a team you are setting a bad culture for players that losing is okay and they can be accustomed to that, less good free agents won't sign to play for a bad team, no guarantee of the top pick, and no guarantee that your lottery pick will be any good or help your team at all.
I say if teams want to tank, let them tank. It's their risk. By the way, how are those Cavs doing with all their first round picks?
A single game elimination tournament for the 14 non playoff teams.
- The two worst teams get a first round bye
- The other 12 teams play each other based on where they finished in the season, with the 6 winners advancing to the next round with the two bye teams.
- The 6 teams eliminated in the first round get slotted into the 14th-9th picks, based on reverse regular season standings.
- The 8 remaining teams play, with the four winners moving on, the losers picking 8th- 5th, again based on reverse standings ( so if the worst team overall lost in this round, they'd still get the 5th pick at worst)
- Semi finals ( losers pick 4th and 3rd)
- Final match, winner takes all, loser picks 2nd.
- The tournament is played at a neutral site ( think Vegas or a cool ncaa arena like Allen Fieldhouse), over the first week after the season ends.
I know it's not a perfect idea but it's a heck of a lot more fun for the fans to watch than unveiling which ping pong ball was pulled out in what order. And if you've just spent the last four months of the season watching your team lose game after game, wouldn't it be nice to watch them play for something meaningful?
I LOVE IT !
Think about this - the first 6 teams out get slotted with picks 21-26 (just to keep them really honest)
The next 4 teams out get slotted with picks 11-14.
Who cares if teams tank? Outside of season ticket holders.
There are protected picks that might not get passed over until 2020, so none of these configurations like the wheel mean anything. The NBA may need an anti tank draft process if they higher the minimum age to 20 because teams would have a more polished prospect. But until then its all noise.
Tanking helps the bad teams and the good teams. If they want to increase the incentive to stay at least competitive then just alter the percentages.
Just have the percentages as so or some variation..
#1 15%, #2 15%, #3 10%, #4 10%, #5 5% ,#6 5%, #7 5%, #8 5%, #9 5%, #10 5%, #11 5%, #12 5%, #13 5%, #14 5%
Nobodies tanking for a 5 or a 15% chance at a top pick. The League can also exclude all playoff revenue from revenue sharing.
Only 4 times since the inception of the lottery (1985) has the team with the worst record gotten the #1 pick. Teams can tank all they want, they aren't guaranteed anything. Tanking is impossible to get rid of, it's just a part of sports that have amateur drafts.
Honestly, I really don't think there is an easy fix to keep teams from tanking. But, if you were to change the lottery system you'd probably want to change the draft rules and eligibility along with it. In my opinion baseball has the best draft process but even that has it's flaws. Either way, the lottery process is irrelevant to the tanking issue. The amount of teams tanking this year is a major concern because all these teams believe by following the "OKC blueprint" it will guaranty them success. The honest truth is the reason why the OKC method was a success is because they have a great oganization and they develop their players better than any other team. Getting high draft picks doesn't mean a thing if you don't have a plan or direction for your team. Just look at the Kings and Cavs. High draft picks every year, talented players selected, and they still suck. The players they drafted are talented and are/will be good NBA players. The problem is the organizations that draft them and then neglects to develope them as players. Bascially these poorly run teams are looking for an easy way to become better and they believe by securing high draft picks by losing games on purpose they can acomplish this. The big problem is their planning and player development sucks and even if they get high draft picks they'll continue to suck and since these organizations are so poorly run they'll continue to tank until they "magically" get better or blow up the team (see Wash Wizards prior to 2012). Tanking is a major issue that needs to be addressed in a creative way because it cheapens the sport and more importantly, it's bad business for the league as a whole. Basketball is a game but first and foremost the NBA is a business.
My solution to tanking is very simple...
Make the NBA draft lottery unweighted.
That means that all non-playoff teams have an equal chance to get the #1 overall pick and absolutely no provisions are given to any team regardless of their regular season record.
Before I get negged unecessarily, yes, I do agree that this solution isn't exactly bulletproof, but I believe it's the best one available. It would make teams think twice about tanking, knowing full well that they could have the worst record in the NBA and still only end up with the 14th pick in the draft. It would keep certian organizations honest.
This will cause okay teams to tank out of 7th and 8th seeds.
Perhaps team record is the wrong thing to focus on. Maybe the draft should be based on a team's current talent level. Get Bill James to assess a player's skills and projected future performance capabilities, give each player a score, and then add it up for the whole team. The team with the LEAST TALENT gets the 1st pick.
It would've stopped the Spurs from stashing David Robinson and tanking to get Tim Duncan . It would've stopped the Warriors from stashing Stephen Curry and tanking to get Harrison Barnes. And those are the type of moves we hate, talented teams pretending to be bad to gain a lottery pick. Basically, you don't get to stockpile talent, add a newly drafted star, and suddenly be top contenders the next year because you were faking being bad.
The biggest problem with this solution is getting owners to agree on talent criteria, transparency for fans, and finding an impartial observer to dictate ratings. Other than that huge problem, they'd have to hold the draft AFTER all the free agents have signed. That way there would be a legitimate account for how much talent is on your team once it's settled (no surprises).
A team's win/loss record would be irrelevant to the draft. It would still give bad teams and small market teams that can't sign free agents a chance to get new talent. Sure, teams could throw out a bunch of players or let them go to get a draft pick, but when is getting rid of good players a good idea?;
I wouldn't penalize teams just outside the playoffs, and I wouldn't penalize teams that make the playoffs every year, even if they aren't contenders.
How about make the lottery more interesting?
Instead of having the first 3 picks determined by Ping-Pong balls, what about having the first FIVE picks determined that way?
THEN I would do a wild card lottery pick at number 6 open to EVERY team in the league. Each team would have about a 3.33% chance of winning the pick. Why penalize lower seeded playoff teams? Shouldn't they be able to have a shot at getting the last piece of the puzzle?
Some think EVERY draft pick should be open to every team in the league, but I think the sixth pick is high enough. Larry Bird got drafted six. What if a young, improving playoff team like the Bobcats got the next Larry Bird? ... this year, you still have really, really good players available at six. Give a playoff team out west a shot at somebody good, so they can compete for a title. ... now you can't always get an all-star at 6 but a guy like Shane Battier went 6 and he was a core guy for years with both the Grizzlies and the Heat.
The worst team in the league would have the highest odds of getting the top pick, but it wouldn't be a sure thing. In my lottery, the worst team would have a 90% shot at getting a top 5 pick (plus a 3.33% chance at getting the sixth pick like everyone else) BUT there would be a 7% chance that they fall to 7.
Or, what about a consolation prize for the WORST team in the league? If they don't get a top 3 pick then they get awarded the first pick of the second round (essentially an extra pick)? So the worst team in the league could still have picks at 32 and 33 where you can still have a guy that can make your roster. You could even give the team the option of taking the extra second round pick or $500,000 cash. Thing is, the team's representative at the draft lottery would have less than two minutes to make his choice (cash or draft pick). You can even call a friend, or ask the audience. I guess if the WORST team passed on the pick and took the cash, the first pick of the second round (wild card pick) would automatically go to the next worst team in the league that failed to get a top 3 pick. Overall, this would expand the draft by two picks.
This would create a bunch of suspense for the first SIX or SEVEN picks in the draft, not just the first 3.
This system would give bad teams a chance to get better as well as average playoff teams a chance to get better. OR, if you are already a championship team that gets lucky, it gives you the chance at a potential DYNASTY? Why punish greatness and luck?
It is teams in the middle of the playoffs that could really use some help at 6. If one of those teams got another really good player on a rookie contract then that could help bring about some more parity. Or, what if a bad team got lucky and ended up with the 1st AND 6th picks in a LOADED draft? That could really turn the franchise around.
OPTIONAL: A third round of the draft that goes in REVERSE order, with the first pick in the third round going to the NBA champ with the second pick in the third round going to the loser of the NBA Finals. Then you would go in reverse order of total wins disregarding who made or did not make the playoffs, so a team like the Suns, Grizzlies, or Mavs (whoever misses the playoffs) would get a better third round pick than the Eastern Conference team that misses the playoffs (Hawks or Knicks). The first two rounds obviously favor the bad teams, so the third round would help even things up a bit for the good teams.
If I had to come up with a way to change the system I would do a single elimination tournament seeded by record. Top 2 teams get a bye. Winner gets the 1st pick. Loser gets the 2nd. and after that the order of the draft is determined by record. So if you are the worst team in the league you are probably going to end up with the 3rd pick in the draft. If a team wants to miss the playoffs and try to win a single elimination tournament then by all means let them because any team can win a 1 game showdown. This would generate extra revenue and people should be happy that the tanking teams are going to have a much harder time getting the top pick.