Paul is bitter about the NBA Draft Lottery and thinks its time to move on from it.
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Paul’s NBA Draft Lottery Big Picture
Dylan Blair: Are you going to go that same route this week, fall? Or what? What are you going to be teaching the people this week? The draft lottery?
Paul Rochon: I’m just going to be mad as normal. All my big pictures are negative. It’s always me complaining about something, I’m Mr. Complainer. I’m going to be very blunt. There are a lot of things in sports that I don’t like, that don’t make a lot of sense, whether it’s rules or structure.
But there are few things as dumb as draft picks and lotteries in sports. Draft pick lotteries are absolutely bottom of the barrel on the logic scale. Let’s start with what draft pick lotteries are supposed to do.
Draft Lottery Intent
What is their intent? And all of you watching and following along at home, are going to be like, oh, they’re supposed to prevent tanking. We don’t want teams to just take number one pick. It’s really the only objective, cause there’s not any other logical objectives, but they don’t do that at all. They don’t do their only objective.
The team that first went to the lottery or I’m sorry, the league that first went to the lottery. The NBA, I believe in 1985, this was quite a long time ago because they were worried about the epidemic about tanking and they saw teams tank and get a number one pick and then go on to win a title.
I think Houston did that actually, but it hasn’t worked. The NBA has more tanking than any other league ever. And they’ve had the lottery the longest and they were the first to institute this. Famously, Sam Hinkie led the tankathon for the Philadelphia 76ers, where they were fielding a G league roster for several years in a row.
It was so bad, he had to be a martyr for tanking. The NBA forced him out of his job because of the black mark, the black eye, that the league felt that it was giving them. They’ve had a lottery forever that didn’t deter him. And they’ve tweaked their lottery system a million times, especially in light of the Sixers.
It Hasn’t Done Anything
Now the odds for the top three teams are the same. It hasn’t done anything because at the end of the day, higher picks are still better. And even if you’re not guaranteed, the number one pick, you still want to be bad to get better picks if you are nowhere near being a contender.
Not to mention, there’s just going to be naturally bad teams that aren’t run well teams that fell on hard times. Teams that went all in for a title and whether they failed or not, whether you’re the Lakers or whether you’re the Clippers, whether it worked or didn’t work, you’re going to eventually have cap space. And you’re going to have to broom assets and you’re not going to be very good.
I don’t do the Lakers are going to be very good anytime soon. I don’t think there’s many people that argue with that after LeBron James has done. It doesn’t work to prevent tanking, not in any sport. So if it doesn’t do its primary objective, it already makes no sense at all because it doesn’t serve as a deterrent.
The problem is it’s actually a punishment. You are punishing teams for being bad. Look at the Pistons. And the reason I bring this up, the reason this topic matters right now is going to get a lot of people, especially in Detroit to watch, is because the Pistons just inexplicably dropped a 5, for no reason at all.
Didn’t Help Pistons
They’re not a very good team. One of the worst teams in the NBA. Last year, they had the number 1 pick, that’s how bad they were. And they didn’t really improve all that much this season.
But no, they’re all the way at five. They’re praying Jaden Ivey falls, or maybe they’re going to get Keegan Murray from Iowa. It doesn’t make any sense.
All you’re doing is you’re saying, okay, we recognize that you’re a really bad team, but if you get unlucky, we’re not going to give you the tools that you need to actually rebuild this thing and become a good team.
And you look at, it’s not like you can’t get value anywhere else. We talked about Golden State earlier on this cast, look at where their great players have came from, where they were picked. 7, 12 in the second round with Draymond Green. I want to say around 20, 21 with Jordan Poole, right?
Draft Lottery Punishes Teams
These are not high draft picks. There’s a lot of ways to build team that’s not going to deter tanking. You’re punishing teams that actively are really bad. And you’re also introducing randomness into the sport.
And randomness is never good and you can never eliminate it. There’s always going to be bad, bounces, bad officiating.
You’re always going to get lucky or unlucky in the draft. Introducing more randomness in sports that have so much luck factor already, that doesn’t give us a better product. That doesn’t enhance watchability. Look at the Spurs, look at how they got Tim Duncan. The Spurs had injury issues for a single season.
They weren’t even the worst team in the league. I think they’re the third or fourth worst record in the NBA. They luck into the number 1 pick, and then they get Tim Duncan and then the Spurs have a mini dynasty.
They were rewarded for getting injured at the right time. And then on top of that, They lucked into the number 1 pick and were able to get Tim Duncan.
How did your lottery system help anybody there? But what did this do for us? It just doesn’t make sense. And I don’t like things that don’t make sense. This is the big picture.
Didn’t Help The Sixers
We’re all about logic, we’re all about reasoning. We’re all about doing things. The best that we can. There is no perfect system.
And yes, it’s a little bit annoying when you watch the Sixers not even fill seats, not do anything, not even attempt to fill the roster and they get a bunch of number 1 picks. But what did the Sixers do with it? They completely blew it anyway.
Who cares, man? I mean they’ve been a contender for several years. How has that gone for them? They’ve had to watch cancers, right?
They had to watch Ben Simmons, who they got number 1 overall. Look at how that went for them. They ran him out of that. They traded him away so that they could get fat wash, James Harden.
How has that gone for them watching Harden take zero shots in the second half of a do or die playoff game to go home.
You’re never going to stop tanking. It doesn’t fix anything. Get rid of lotteries. They don’t make sense. Stop punishing bad teams when it’s not doing any good for the league.