Happy Holidays, from all of us to all of you. For Christmas, we got you a ridiculous (and also kind of practical) draft proposal to phase out the lottery and engender a culture of parity in the NBA. The New York Knicks winning the Patrick Ewing sweepstakes in 1985 and, more recently, the New Orleans Hornets
being given the #1 pick in a rigged lottery process gaining the rights to Anthony Davis are two examples of a system which has caused much controversy since its implementation almost thirty years ago: the NBA draft lottery. One team executive has proposed a new system which, proponents claim, would eliminate the temptation of tanking. Meanwhile, Atlanta becomes the third team in the Eastern Conference to break .500, and the Charlotte Bobnets are ever closer to returning the Buzz to the Queen City.
1. A proposal suggests a new draft system in which teams would pick in each slot, 1-30, over the course of thirty seasons on a rotating basis: This is a revolution for basketball, and there seem to be a solid number of proponents to counteract the old school detractors among ownership groups and the league office. In a proposal which Zach Lowe detailed the best yesterday on Grantland, a team executive submitted a detailed idea for a wheel system, pictured above, which would allow teams to know when they were scheduled to pick up to thirty years in advance. Protected picks would go out the window, and with it, the proposal hopes, the strategy of tanking in years of loaded drafts, much like the class of 2014 and “riggin’ for Wiggins.” As Lowe says, “the graphic highlights the top six slots in red to show that every team would be guaranteed one top-six pick every five seasons, and at least one top-12 pick in every four-year span.” This system comes with the additional caveat that it would only go into effect after every draft-related trade has taken place, which, thanks to James Dolan and YOUR NEW YORK KNICKS, could only happen in about 2078. Still, the proposal is intriguing, and for teams that have suffered at the hands of the lottery system, the Pacers and Bobcats of the world, this could be an egalitarian way of allotting premier young talent as a means of creating parity.
2. The Eastern Conference still sucks: With a win over the Sacramento Boogie Cousins last Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks became just the third (!) team in the (L)East to break the .500 mark. Making sure not to let anyone get ahead of himself in a frenzy of faux-EC superiority, New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Orlando and Milwaukee have all gone ahead and kept under double-digit wins, while only Sacramento and Utah have managed to do that in the West. Even more telling, perhaps, is the average point-differential comparison: Miami, Indiana and Atlanta are the only teams with a positive APD in the East, but only four teams in the West have negative point differential averages, including the injury-hobbled Lakers and Grizzlies. It isn’t just that these teams are losing; it is how they are losing, which is to say, usually by a whole lot. Start loading up on wholesale coffee because Western Conference playoff games will get the late start times.
3. The Charlotte Hornets are actually, really returning: The 14-15 Bobcats, who currently sit in the 5-seed in the aforementioned college basketball division that is the Eastern Conference, unveiled the new logo for the team’s transition back to the Hornets, the original Charlotte NBA franchise. The logo, a modernized take on what Carolinians and NBA fans may remember from the Shinn era and pre-Tyreke Evans/psychopathic fowl New Orleans basketball, is the final step in a transition which began as something of a joking whisper. Michael Jordan will retain ownership. No word yet on whether the beloved Hugo will return to storm the sidelines.