Report: NBA's pursuit of draft lottery reform based on research that fans hate tanking

The NBA's Board of Governors will vote on the league's proposal to reform the draft lottery this month. As it currently stands, the team with the worst record in the league gets the best chance at the No. 1 overall pick, the second-worst team gets the second-best chance, and so on down the line. This, of course, has led to tanking, which the NBA does not like, as it affects the competitive balance of the league, and is just generally a bad look from a PR perspective. 

According to a new report from Adrian Wojnarowski, the league is at least in part basing its hope for draft lottery reform on research it's done that shows fans do not like the tanking practice. Via ESPN:

The NBA's pursuit of draft lottery reform is rooted in research that "many fans continue to say that tanking is making them less interested in the league," president of league operations Byron Spruell told ESPN.

This research rally isn't that surprising as tanking means losing, and losing isn't fun. And when the sport isn't fun, fans -- especially casual ones -- will tune out. Even if fans understand why their team is tanking, that doesn't mean they'll want to sit through all the losses. 

In the new proposal, the three worst teams in the league would all get an equal (14 percent) chance at winning the top pick in the lottery. The league hopes this would curb teams' desire to just lose as many games as possible in seasons where the team is struggling, or there's an elite prospect in that year's draft class.

Whether this reform, should it pass, actually does anything to limit tanking will, of course, take years to figure out. Acting like they're being tough on the practice, however, would be, at least in the short-term, a PR success for the league. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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