Report: NBA approves draft lottery reform to prevent tanking and player resting rules
Starting in 2019, the team with the worst record will no longer have a significant advantage to earn the top pick
Changes to the NBA Draft lottery that were proposed to the NBA Board of Governors earlier this month have been approved, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The voting was done during a two-day meeting in New York, which concluded on Thursday.
The changes, which will reportedly go into effect before the 2019 draft, would give the NBA teams with the three worst records an equal chance at securing the top pick. As it stands now, the league's worst team has a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, while the next-worst team's chance drops to 19.9 percent.
The proposal needed a three-fourths majority, and Wojnarowski reports that it passed with a 28-1-1 vote. The only team to vote "no" was the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Dallas Mavericks abstained. According to Wojnarowski, some small-market teams that eventually voted "yes" were hesitant to vote for the plan. They believed that it limited their odds of acquiring franchise players, since larger market teams have historically had an edge in free agency.
Here's a look at the new odds for teams compared to the previous rules.
The rule changes are clearly a response to the tanking problem that has come to prominence in the NBA over the last several seasons, with some teams feeling more incentive to lose than to win. It's been a point of contention not only with fans, but also with league executives like Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who tweeted at former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie (viewed as the league's ultimate proponent of tanking) after the rule changes passed.
According to Wojnarowski, the league also approved a proposal that will allow commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams for resting multiple players in a single game, or healthy players in a nationally televised game, starting this season.
To do its part, the NBA has already implemented schedule changes to space out games, including the elimination of back-to-backs involving contests televised on ESPN, TNT or ABC. Teams have also been encouraged to sit players out at home instead of on the road, and resting star players are expected to be on the bench during games and accessible to fans before the game.
The league has clearly felt the fans' frustration with teams that aren't necessarily trying to win every regular season game, and the rule changes are aimed toward resolving that issue.
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