Fixing the Draft Lottery: Deal or No Deal

We all know that the NBA Draft Lottery process (is/isn't) rigged. Tanking is also a concern when teams, from time to time, try a little less to win games in order to have a higher shot at a top draft pick.

So here is my solution to fix the system. Deal or No Deal. Based of course on the TV game show that some of you have probably seen.

1. The 5 teams with the worst record will participate in the DoND game. This ensures you don't want a bad record because it is so hard to win the top prize ($1m / #1 pick), but it is still very much possible.

2. The worst team (ORL) will go first, with the rules as such:

  • 26 picks in cases (1-26 of course) and the team selects 1 case without knowing the value.
  • Eliminate 6 cases, the "banker" (Adam Silver) then offers a pick to the team, which they can take or keep playing. Note* The Banker can offer one of the picks that was eliminated, as there are no in-between values.
  • Eliminate 5 cases and repeat offer process.
  • If no offer is taken and the team is down to 2 cases (There own or the last Mystery case) they can choose to keep either case.
  • The offers will follow the original game with 37% of EV (expected value) at the first offer to approximately 84% of EV. It pays to keep playing, especially if you have some of the top picks left.
  • The 2nd worst team (CHA) then plays the game with whatever pick was won (ie: #5 by ORL) replaced by pick #27.
  • The 3rd worst team then plays with #28 in play, 4th with #29, 5th with #30.
  • Once the 5 games have been played the rest of the order is assigned by record.
  • For example if the 5 worst teams got: ORL #5, CHA #11, CLE #8, PHO #2, NO #21 then the NBA draft order would be SAC 1, PHO 2, DET 3, WSH 4, ORL 5, MIN 6, POR 7, CLE 8, PHL 9, OKC 10, CHA 11, DAL 12, UTH 13, MIL 14, BOS 15, ATL 16, ATL 17, CLE 18, CHI 19, UTH 20, NO 21, BKL 22, IND 23, NYK 24, LAC, 25, MIN 26, DEN 27, SAS 28, OKC 29, PHO 30.
  • The 2nd round would go in order of record, as it does now.

Some additional thoughts:

The odds of getting the #1 pick are 1/26 at the beginning, but only increase as long as that case is not eliminated.

Clearly there is an advantage to being the 6th worst team, but it is much more difficult to tank into the 6th spot than to just tank in general. The last couple games of the season could see some strategic loosing of course, but it should get rid of the long term trend at the bottom.

The game could be modified to play with only picks 1-15 (Getting rid of the first 2 elimination rounds) but this is only more beneficial to the bottom 5 teams.

What do you think? Any other fun games that could replace the lottery?

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