Adam Silver: The NBA Draft Lottery “isn't Working”

With six years of lottery picks, no team has taken on tanking more than the Sixers - although NBC Sports radio host Dan Patrick called trusting the process just a way of "dressing it up."

On Patrick's show Monday morning, though, NBA commissioner Adam Silver dove about as deep as he has into the lottery's flaws, going as far as to say that the lottery, in its current form, isn't working.

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"We put the lottery in place precisely (to prevent against tanking), and that was well over 30 years ago because teams seemingly had this huge incentive to finish at the bottom because the value of these draft picks is so high," Silver said. "We've tinkered with the draft lottery five times in the last 30 years, but we're still not at the point where it's frankly working."

Just a few weeks ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was on Patrick's show and admitted that his team tanked once they were eliminated from the playoffs this year.

It's easy to say that the Sixers - now with a core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz - have been beneficiaries of the system. But when Brett Brown is lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy and Embiid is winning MVP five years from now, will others follow their lead?

Patrick suggested an idea that teams couldn't participate in the lottery more than two years in a row, although Silver seemed to brush that suggestion off as infeasible, especially if a team is truly bad. 

Another idea Patrick discussed was for the top pick to go to the team with best record, beginning from the point at which they are eliminated from postseason contention.

"(The lottery is) not working," Silver said. "It is a bit of a problem in this league when there's a free-rider issue too because in all the major leagues in the United States, each team gets an equal share of the national television money whether or not you're the champion or finish 30th in the standings."

The commissioner added that the notion of relegation - as is the case in European soccer - compounds incredible financial implications with successive seasons of losing. He also mentioned adjusting the lottery odds to create less of a gap between Team No. 30 and the first team out of the playoffs.

Fortunately, the Sixers are still a part of the NBA, and could very well be on their way to the postseason soon enough.

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