Chicago Bulls Talk: NBA Lottery Shake Up?


“Tank! Tank!” When a team is terrible, we scream from the mountain tops for that team to tank their season and get better lottery odds. It doesn’t always work out where you end up with the number one pick, but majority of the time you’ll end up with a top-3 or top-5 pick. The recent team to make waves of intentionally being awful, in order to stockpile top-5 players is the Philadelphia 76ers and they don’t look like they will be getting better this season. Last year, they draft Nerlens Noel, who a lot of people think can become a center piece in this league. However, Noel didn’t play a single game in the 2013-2014 season, and now the 76ers are at it again with drafting Joel Embiid. Embiid is recovering foot injury that is going to keep him out for 5-8 months after surgery, but why would the 76ers risk anything this season? Especially when they are looking at a top-3 pick next season already.

More from Bulls News

Multiple people in the media have recently brought up a belief that the NBA Lottery process should and will be changed to avoid tanking teams. The most recent process that I’ve heard, is instead of weighting the Lottery to favor the worst team, that the Lottery would be equally weighted towards all 14 lottery teams. That would mean a team who barley missed the playoffs, would have the same chance at the number one pick that a team that only won 15 games would. This situation would definitely decrease tanking because if it doesn’t matter, then why not go for it every season?

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; K.J. McDaniels (Clemson) shakes hands with NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum after being selected as the number thirty-two overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the Chicago Bulls are guilty of this practice. No matter how much the front office wants to admit it, when Derrick Rose went down with a knee injury…again, the Bulls were on tank mode. Thanks to Joakim Noah, who happens to be the one of the Bulls players in history who hates losing just as much as Michael Jordan and Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls used  a little outside shooting help from D.J. Augustin and the mental will (bordering on naivety) of Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy playing monster minutes, the Chicago Bulls make the playoffs.

But did you the Chicago Bulls were partly responsible for the NBA lottery in the first place?

Over the summer, our Editor, Ronald Agers did a documentary series counting down the five best and worst trades in Chicago Bulls history. The third best trade, which led to the drafting of Michael Jordan back in 1984 help lead to the creation on the NBA lottery in the first place.

Back in those days there were no draft lottery, just a coin flip between the two worst teams in the NBA that season. The Bulls traded away their leading scorer, Reggie Theus to put themselves in position for the coin flip in efforts to draft Akeem Olajuwon. It almost worked, the Bulls lost 27 of their last 33 games last year in their efforts to participate in the coin toss. The Bulls failed in the scheme and only got to the third position in the draft. The Houston Rockets ended up with Akeem Olajuwon, the Bulls made history with some skinny kid out of North Carolina even though he doesn’t look thin in this picture, just fat and happy.

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

My suggestion for the NBA Lottery?

Believe it or not, the issue with the NBA is currently parity. The teams who are bad, are really bad, and honestly they aren’t really competitive on a night-in, night-out basis. Fixing that could be considered quite simple. First, I purpose the NBA gets rid of these guaranteed contracts that lock teams into bad decisions. I understand, if a player gets injured they should still be played and I agree. My issue, the NFL has more turnover in the league and it’s the best league in the world because of it’s parity. How does it become so equal? Not as much guaranteed money, teams force players to produce or they get rid of them whenever they want, at no penalty or a small penalty. I like that a lot. For example, the Knicks got locked into a ridiculous contract with Amare Stoudemire. Do you really believe the Knicks would have held on to Stoudemire long term if they weren’t locked in? Nope, they would released him and moved on.

Now onto the Lottery. How do we fix it? I suggest that the NBA considers weighing the lottery in groups. Rather than the top team getting a 25% chance to win lottery why don’t we break it down like this:

  • 1st-7th: All the teams have a 10% chance at the 1st pick
  • 8th- 13th: All teams have a 4.29% chance at the 1st pick
  • 14th: 4.26% chance at the 1st pick

This would create a system where the drop off, is a lot bigger than it is currently. This may not be the best fix to the lottery system, but it’s certainly a start.

Currently the NBA’s Lottery system is set up to favor the bad teams, but the way that this system is set up it could create elite teams that could have a long run. However, even though that has yet to work out, it’s concerning for the NBA. The NBA needs to solve this issue, either one way or another or teams are going to continue to tank. Tanking is an awful product to sell to the true NBA fans that purchase league pass. Come on NBA, make a change!

Pippen Peoples, how would you change the NBA Lottery? Or just leave it the same?