While the NBA does what it can (supposedly) to combat ‘tanking’ by having a lottery draw, teams still tank.
Sure, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up with the first overall selection in the draft but there are plenty of teams destined for the lotto who will attempt to give themselves better odds by ‘tanking’ once they know they’re in position to do so.
Because of that, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive believes the NBA should set lottery odds during the All-Star break. In addition, Ranadive suggests the NBA expand their playoff system:
There’s two parts to it. Part I is that you freeze the draft order at the time of the All-Star break. Then, everything [pertaining to the current lottery system] remains the same, but it’s frozen based on the standings at the All-Star break. Then there’s no gain in not playing at the highest level for the remainder of the season. That’s Part I.
Part II is that at the end of the season, the top seven teams from the Eastern Conference and the top seven teams from the Western Conference make the playoffs. Then for the eighth playoff spot, the remaining eight teams have a sudden-death, college-style playoff in a neutral venue, like Vegas in the West and Kansas or Louisville in the East.
It’s somewhat similar to the ‘new’ Wild Card rules in baseball that allow teams to ‘play-in’ for that final playoff spot, keeping the dream alive for teams that may not normally have an opportunity for the postseason.
Might not be the most ‘fair’ system, but certainly breeds for better and more exciting basketball.