As many people saw this past week, the NBA held the annual lottery to determine where the bottom 14 teams would draft, with the Philadelphia 76ers taking the #1 overall pick in the draft. The lottery system gives every team a certain percent chance to get the top pick. The downside of the lottery is that the worst team in the league more often than not does not get the top pick. This year was one of the few times that the worst team did end up with the first pick in the draft. I do not agree with the lottery system and I think the league should get rid of it and just line the draft up with the top pick going to the worst team, like how the NFL and MLB order their drafts. The drafts are used to help improve the teams. The lottery system does not give the worst team a sure thing at getting the top pick and their choice of talent. Since the lottery system went to a weighted lottery system in 1990, the worst team in the league has only received the top pick 5 times including the 76ers receiving the top pick for this year’s draft. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to give the worst team the first pick in the draft?
Giving the worst team the first pick would be beneficial because they would be able to pick their possible franchise player. The first team to win the lottery after it went to a weighted system was the New Jersey Nets in 1990 after they went 17-65. The Nets also were the bottom team in the league that year. The year after they received the top pick they improved to 26-56 and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Since 1990 the teams who received the top pick, only 4 teams did not improve their record the following year. The 22 teams who did improve their records the following year, saw an improvement of 11.1 wins. The biggest improvement came when the Spurs took Tim Duncan #1. They went from 20-62 to 56-26. The teams who had the worst record in the league but did not win the #1 pick, only two teams did not improve their records the next year. The teams that did improve their records, did it by an average of 11.9 wins. I know that is a bigger improvement than the teams who got the top pick, but the teams with the top pick had decent records for the most part. When the Magic had the top pick for the second straight year, they were 41-41. Since the weighted lottery began there have been 6 teams that received the top pick who won at least 30 games that season including the Magic when they received the top overall pick for the second consecutive year.
In my opinion, the lottery needs to be taken out and the draft lined up the same way that the NFL and MLB drafts are set up, where the draft order is determined by the teams place in the overall league standings. It only seems fair to let the worst team in the league try to improve their teams first, instead of having them wait to pick their player after some of the top players are being selected ahead of them. I know that teams are not guaranteed to improve with the draft, and I know that there will be busts at any selection, but it is only fair to let the worst team in the league that year figure that out on their own