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NBA Draft Lottery Reform Proposed By League Office

Potential new measures could make NBA teams think twice about tanking.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft Lottery reform may finally be on its way, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The NBA Competition Committee will hold a meeting in mid-September to vote on a league office proposal that is designed to deincentivize tanking. The committee may choose to recommend none, some, or all of the suggested changes to the board of governors later this month. Those changes include level draft odds for the NBA teams with the three worst records and the ability for lottery teams to fall further than before, Wojnarowski explains.

Presently, the NBA team with the worst record can drop no lower than No. 4 from No. 1, but the NBA's currently proposed legislation could allow that team to drop from first to fifth in the lottery, league sources said. This would include a domino effect through the lottery, where the second-worst record presently dropping no lower than fourth, could fall to sixth. Then, the No. 3 team could drop as far as seven, and on down, league sources said.

Currently, the teams with the three worst records have an ascending chance of winning the No. 1 pick, including (No. 3) 15.6 percent, (No. 2) 19.9 percent and (No. 1) 25 percent.

The NBA's proposal would flatten those odds, and give the three teams with the worst record the same percentage of earning the No. 1 overall pick, league sources said. Now, the worst record to the fifth-worst record has a gap of 25 percent to 8.8 percent, but new legislation would tighten that difference significantly, league sources said.

There is some concern that these changes could make it more difficult for small-market teams to acquire star-level talent in the draft, but it is also believed that the proposed legislation could prevent teams from intentionally dogpiling at the bottom of the standings for the chance at a better pick—like the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers did at the end of the 2016-17 NBA season.

If the board of governors passes these new measures, they will go into effect for the 2019 NBA Draft.