NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t want to see fanbases rooting for their teams to fail. Prior to Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols he believes the new draft lottery rules will put an end to tanking.
The system, which was altered in 2017, reduced the odds of the worst teams receiving the No. 1 pick. Under the old system, the three worst teams in the league had a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick. In the new system, those teams have a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick.
Silver believes that difference will be enough to curb tanking, which he views as bad for the game, according to ESPN.
"Where I think it's the greatest success is, hopefully it'll stop fans in those markets from rooting for their teams to perform poorly," Silver said prior to Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. "Because that race to the bottom is just destructive, I think, for everyone. Corrosive for players and franchises, and I think, in some cases, even some executives who knew better felt they couldn't withstand the pressure from the communities, from the media in some cases, saying, 'Why are you operating at this level when you should either get much better or much worse?'"
In Silver’s ideal world, teams would need to do more than land a top pick to build their franchise. He mentions building a culture, and putting an emphasis on strong management and coaching. Silver acknowledges having great players is important too, but he doesn’t think that should be the only factor in building a successful franchise.
Whether Silver’s wishes will come true remains to be seen. His point could carry more weight after the New Orleans Pelicans nabbed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft despite only having a 6 percent chance.
That could convince some teams that tanking isn’t worth it, but the odds are the odds. A 14 percent chance at a franchise-changing player will still be enticing for some teams.
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