So one of the things that bothers me the most about the NBA is the fact that to get good you have to get bad first. I HATE rooting for my team to lose and I'm sure many others do as well. For example during a season like this, the Celtics are going nowhere. They can either continue to win some and lose some and make the playoffs as a 7th seed and get killed by either the Heat or Pacers and draft like 19th, or they could go into the tank and lose, lose, lose, and end up with a top lottery pick and have a bright future. It feels dirty to prefer for the Celtics to lose. But it's a well known fact that the worst thing to be in the NBA is mediocre. Not good enough to contend and not bad enough to get a top college player on a rookie contract and rebuild. But what if you could root for your team to win every night, but still have a shot at a top pick? Well here's my outside the box idea.
What if where you finished in the standings didn't determine your draft slot, but how another team finished did. Think about the Hawks this year. They have the right to switch picks with the Nets. So their fans can root for them to win as many games possible AND still root for a top pick by rooting against the Nets. In my scenario instead of getting a draft slot based on inverse records, you'd get to choose which other team's pick you'd have the following season. So for example let's say the Jazz finished with the worst record. Instead of getting the #1 pick they'd get first dibs on a team to pick for next year's draft. Let's say they pick the 76ers and the 76ers finish the 2014-2015 season with the NBA's 5th worst record. Well then the Jazz would pick 5th in the 2015 NBA draft.
In this scenario, the teams that do badly still get something to help them get better, but it eliminates tanking. If the Bobcats had the 76ers pick this year, the 76ers wouldn't be tanking. If the Magic had the Suns pick, the Suns wouldn't be tanking. If the Pistons had the Celtics pick, there would be no talk of if the Celtics should tank.
Wouldn't this year be more fun if let's say the Celtics had the Bucks 2014 pick and the Raptors had the Celtics 2014 pick? That way we could all root for the Celtics to make the playoffs, since we have no incentive to help the Raptors and the we could also have a side enjoyment of rooting for every team that plays the Bucks.
Every team would play to win as many games as possible. Imagine that? The NBA actually came up with their own idea to change the draft today and while I like the idea that it would eliminate tanking it really was a lazy plan by a billion dollar corporation. Really one wheel? Why not have 30 wheels so at least college players and teams wouldn't know draft slots in advance? The NBA's wheel plan is basically a dumbed down version of my idea for several years now where I suggested that the top 3 picks be available to all teams. Every team would get one #1 pick, one #2 pick, and one #3 pick every 30 years. Picks 4-6 would be lotteried out to non-playoff teams and the rest of the draft would go in inverse order. Of course there's always that person that would complain, "But what if the Heat got the #1 pick after winning a championship?" Well a) The odds are 1 in 30 of that happening, b) Would you be complaining if the Celtics got the #1 pick after the 2008 season or did you complain about the Celtics drafting high in 1986 prior to Len Bias' tragic death? And c) You could alter the rules to prohibit teams that make the Finals from getting a top 3 pick.
So now I've provided two ideas that both eliminate tanking and still help the have-nots get better. My original idea where everyone gets an equal number of top 3 picks or my new idea where every team would be drafting based on another team's record. Based on the NBA's new system they presented today obviously we can leave it to them to come up with something intelligent or fair, so what are your thoughts?