My complaint is with the whole idea of a draft lottery. As I
understand it, the NBA put in the lottery because the previous
year Houston deliberately tried to lose some games at the end
of the year in order to improve their draft position (and get
a shot at Ralph Sampson). The lottery supposedly would eliminate
this problem because the last seven teams draft position would
be determined solely by chance, not by the team's record.
So what happened? Last season teams like Seattle (in not playing
Jack Sikma) deliberately tailed off
at the end of the year in order to get in the lottery. The problem
of teams sandbagging at the end of the year to improve their
draft position got worse, not better. If you were a general manager
of an NBA team, would you prefer your team to make the last slot
in the playoffs, only to be eliminated quickly by the Lakers or
Celtics, or would you rather have a shot at Patrick Ewing?
I think the NBA should trash the lottery and go back to the old
"worst record picks first" draft order. The Golden States of the
league have enough problems without having to be discriminated
against in the draft, too.
I think that the reason for the draft was also that they didn't
want anyone to know exactly where the top draft choices were
going to be. How many times in the past did you see very poor
teams trading away their draft picks for some over the hill
superstar? With the lottery, the teams that have these old
superstars to unload are less willing to trade for something
so uncertain. This leaves the picks with the poor teams
which will hopefully give them the foundation to build upon.