Talks are circulating NBA offices the past two weeks that the new commissioner wants to make changes to the draft lottery.
Adam Silver wants to change how the top picks in the draft are handed out to deter teams from tanking.
I don’t believe any change is needed for how the top picks fall, but I do have some other ideas for the league.
How does the lottery work now? Well, every team that doesn’t make the playoffs has a chance at getting a top-three pick. The teams with the worst records have the best odds at getting a top pick, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.
The 11-year run of the Bobcats proved that. Despite having one of the worst teams in the league for much of its existence, Charlotte’s second expansion team has never had the top pick in the draft. Even when the Bobcats set a dubious record for worst winning percentage (7-59, .106 rate), the team didn’t get the number one overall selection.
In 2004, the Bobcats didn’t get the top pick. They were second and missed out on getting Dwight Howard, choosing Emeka Okafor instead.
In 2005, the Bobcats were really snakebit, seeing their pick get booted all the way down to fifth because teams with better records jumped up ahead of them. Instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams, Charlotte settled for Raymond Felton.
In 2006, the team again couldn’t get lucky in the lottery, winding up third overall.
The team could have gotten LaMarcus Aldridge or Andrea Bargnani, but instead picked Adam Morrison.
Of course, to be fair to the NBA, there was still no reason to pick Morrison. Rudy Gay, Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo and Duke’s J.J. Redick were still available, so the Bobcats still could have gotten a good player.
After that horrifically bad 2011-12 season, the Bobcats should have been gifted the top pick, but instead, the team saw the top pick go to the team that left Charlotte, the New Orleans Pelicans, the team with only the fourth-worst record. The Pelicans drafted “The Brow,” Anthony Davis, and Charlotte got Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who might have the ugliest jump shot I’ve ever seen.
Imagine what Charlotte could look like with a lineup of Chris Paul, Monta Ellis (instead of Sean May in 2005), LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard.
If you are a Charlotte fan, then the NBA lottery doesn’t work well enough because the Bobcats got the short end of the stick many times. Still, one has to admit that “tanking” a season in the hopes of getting the top pick just isn’t worth it.
There is too much lost revenue from fans refusing to support a bad team to make it a good idea to field a poor team.
So I support the NBA for having the lottery. I also support the one-year rule that keeps high schoolers from getting drafted with zero experience.
Thirty years ago, a player leaving college early was someone like Michael Jordan declaring for the draft after his junior season. NBA teams still knew what they were drafting after watching a guy for three years.
It’s ridiculous to think that an NBA team would have to give an enormous contract to a kid fresh out of high school, hoping that he becomes something later. For every Dwight Howard that shines right away, there is a Leon Powe who is lucky just to stick in the league or a Tyson Chandler who needs several years to become an impact player.
Do you remember Tyson Chandler when he was drafted? Sure, he’s now known as a good rebounder and defender who protects the rim. But back then he was a skinny, 7-foot-1 rookie who said he wanted to play small forward because he wasn’t keen on banging in the paint.
In fact, I would dare say that the NBA would fare better if it made the minimum time to enter the league two years instead of one.
You need only look at the case of UNC’s James Michael McAdoo.
Coming out of high school, McAdoo would have been picked in the first round of the NBA Draft if it weren’t for the one-year rule.
After his freshman year, McAdoo showed enough potential that teams still would have selected him in the first round.
After three seasons at Carolina, McAdoo entered the draft this year and didn’t get picked at all. His shooting percentage went up each year, but he just didn’t capitalize on all that potential enough to impress scouts.
Any team that drafted the power forward straight out of high school or after just one year of college would have regretted the pick later.
Article to be concluded in tomorrow’s edition of The News.