Riley’s proposal: A four-day postseason tournament in which 14 lottery teams participate to determine the draft order. The deeper a team goes the higher the pick and the team that wins the tournament gets the first pick.
He is calling it a “lottery playoff.”
“The season ends on Tuesday, the playoffs start on Sunday, and from Wednesday to Saturday, the lottery teams play a tournament for the pick,” he said. “Now, that’ll stop all that bull—- of guys tanking and all that stuff.
“The 14th team and the first team, there’s equality here now. So no more tanking in the end. I think you’d draw a tremendous amount of fans and great interest. … So play for it, let’s have a little playoff for the top pick in the draft, instead of working on ping-pong balls and all that stuff.”
My idea posted on RealGM back in March (which is a bit better, imo):
They should have a tournament between when the season ends and the playoffs start to determine draft order.
Take the bottom 8 teams and have them do a tourney where the winner gets the top pick, runner up gets #2, and so on until the worst team in the tourney gets pick #8. Teams #9-14 just pick wherever they end up according to record.
Seed #1 (team with best record) plays seed #8 (team with worst record)
2 vs 7
3 vs 6
4 vs 5
Day 3 (one day off for travel/rest)
Winners square off
Losers Square off
Day 5 (one day off for travel/rest)
Final Game to set top pick
Final Losers games to establish picks 3-8
This model could work as it helps prevent outright tanking. Being the absolute weakest team in the regular season would give them the worst seed and set them up to get as low as the #8 pick in the draft. If the weak teams compete to the end of the season, perhaps even trading for players at the deadline to strengthen their roster for the tournament, then it's a win for fans who don't like to see their teams not competing.
The downside is that the worst team in the league could end up not getting a clear difference maker since they are picking #8, but it does put pressure on them to improve so that they aren't stuck in the same position next year. Maybe they sign a couple players that look like they could fit with their plan and bring more wins so they can set themselves up for a better pick in next year's tourney.
Another downside is perhaps teams around that #8 seed could tank the rest of the season to try to get in the tourney and get the #1 seed, but I believe most years that teams in this range believe they can get into the actual playoffs until at least the last few weeks of the season, so they'd most likely still want to compete up until the end.
The big upside is there would be much less chance to have godawful teams tanking year after year as a strategy. They have motivation to make real improvements each offseason or else get the #8 pick each year.
It also gives a little extra fun for fans watching the drama of a season ending tournament, which gives game exposure to teams and players that most fans might not care about. The televised games mean more money for teams and players, so it's something the NBA and players union should support.
I'm not saying that Riley took the idea, as I'm probably not the first person to consider this idea of a tournament to establish lottery order, but I've also never heard anyone suggest it before either.
What do you think-- just a coincidence or is there some chance that NBA guys come on Real GM and cherry pick ideas?
Anyway, feel free to discuss the idea of a draft tournament as well, as I think it's kind of cool.