There has been a lot of talk amongst NBA fans over the past week about the proposal of the NBA Draft wheel, which would take over for the lottery. Basically, an idea to eliminate tanking all together and provide complete certainty about where each team will be drafting every year. For more information on the wheel, check out Mike Dyer's article here.
The system, which uses a formula to have teams picking in each of the 30 positions over a 30-year span, is the creation of Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren.
Needless to say Danny Ainge is a huge fan of the formula that Zarren created. Ainge has made it clear in the past that he does not like to lose and does not like to see losing rewarded, he reinforced those ideas here:
“That would make sense to me,” Ainge said. “It would put an onus on management to manage their team and their draft picks. They would be able to just play and not worry about maneuvering to get a draft pick. Every 30 years, you’d have the first draft pick. Every 30 years, you’d have the second pick, and so forth. Look at it this way, you’d be in the top six every five years.”
“I wish you just knew, OK, this year I’ve got the 10th pick,” he said. “Next year I’ve got the 17th pick. The year after that, I’ve got the third pick. The next year I’ve got the 29th pick. There doesn’t need to be a lottery, a draw. Nothing needs to be based on losing. I think the only complication at all would be just how you start the process and when. Obviously draft picks have been traded through the end of this decade, so it couldn’t begin until all that was cleaned up. But you could plan with it. When you traded for draft picks, you’d know exactly what draft picks you’re getting. You wouldn’t have like 20 pages of explaining draft picks and what’s protected and who might be getting it.”
“I just feel like there’s enough parity in the league, with the new collective bargaining agreement and the new tax system, that small market teams have every bit the chance to win as the big market teams,” Ainge said. “And there’s the revenue sharing that’s going on, which helps even things out, too. With all that, I believe that if we just gave out draft picks instead of order of finish — just assigned them — it would work out better on a lot of different levels.”
“There are just all sorts of things that are in the current system that don’t work and don’t put all of the focus on winning, which is where it always should be. I just don’t like that teams are being rewarded for losing. I don’t think that’s good for ownership. I don’t think it’s good for fans. I don’t think it’s good for players and coaches, anybody in the business.”
Nothing but support from Ainge, and I think a lot of NBA fans feel the same way. This feels like a good system that promotes winning, strong front office work, and complete certainty of what picks you own or are trading away.
All of these are ideas the NBA needs, while getting away from promoting losing and having so much draft uncertainty. It seems to be a win for all franchises and even a bigger win for the NBA when you consider the focus will be strictly on playing ball. Much of the focus this year has revolved around the idea of tanking, and which teams will be the ones to benefit from piling up L's.
We may years away from it, but it appears a solution with the potential to save the NBA could be on the way.