Tired of the way the NBA draft lottery incentivizes tanking and fills the league with crappy teams slogging through crappy seasons, hoping to grab a No. 1 pick? Well, salvation may be at hand. Look upon The Wheel, and rejoice.
The image above, obtained by Grantland's Zach Lowe, comes from a detailed proposal to overhaul the NBA's draft system. It was prepared by a team official, and according to Lowe, it's gaining some traction in NBA circles:
One detailed proposal, submitted by a team official, has gained initial traction among some high-level NBA officials — to the point that the NBA may float the proposal to owners sometime in 2014, according to league sources. Other top officials in the league office have expressed early opposition to the proposal, sources say.
So how does it work? It's pretty simple: every NBA team's draft picks are laid out 30 years in advance. Each team occupies a draft slot as represented on The Wheel, moving one spot to the right each successive season. So if a team has the first overall pick one year, it's next five draft picks will be 30, 19, 18, 7, and 6.
As you can see, the idea is to get every team at least a top-six pick every five years. This would give good-to-great teams chances to reload, and it would give bad teams a tangible pick to look forward to, rather than having to play the lottery odds. Most importantly, though, this system would eliminate tanking entirely. Whether a team is bad or good would have absolutely no bearing on its draft position.
Of course, five years is still a long time to wait for fans of a very bad team. For example, the Thunder were able to go from bottom-rung team to championship contender so quickly because of its luck in the draft. After picking in the top-four three years in a row, the Thunder suddenly had a potential dynasty on its hands. If the league had been operating under this new system, Kevin Durant might still be wasting away on a crappy team, waiting for his running mate.
At the very least, this proposed system is an innovative one that eliminates one of the shittier aspects of the NBA. Also, it's hard not to endorse a draft system that would allow the Knicks to start trading draft picks 30 years in advance.