How the Lottery Changes Affect the 76ers and the NBA


If you haven’t heard by now, the NBA is attempting to change the structure of the NBA Draft Lottery as soon as this season. The talks have been so rampant that there will be a vote on Wednesday by league owners to decide whether the system will be changed or not. The proposed change has the four-worst teams in the NBA with an equal 12 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, the fifth has a 11.5 percent chance at the top pick, No. 6 has 10 percent and so on and so forth.

Ah, does anyone remember last season when the League was adamant that “tanking” was some made up word that didn’t exist and wasn’t happening in the NBA?

Well, it appears the Association has backtracked on that hot take and the NBA lottery format change is all but sold. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Oklahoma City has joined the Philadelphia 76ers as one of the lone teams that will vote “no” on the reform. There are rumblings about the Milwaukee Bucks voting no, but still, that’s three teams out of 30, or 10 percent of the League if you don’t want to do the math. Derek Bodner of Liberty Ballers points out the NBA needs over 75 percent of the League (23 votes) to pass the vote in order for it to become law.

Your next question is probably: Why Oklahoma City? And it’s a just question, however it has an answer. And it has nothing to do with the 76ers taking on Hasheem Thabeet and Hinkie becoming BFF’s with OKC GM Sam Presti.

Even though Oklahoma City is one of the best teams in the NBA — with or without

Oct 10, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Thunder defeated the Mavericks 118-109. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Durant — the city they play in will forever be a small-market venue. It will never have the pull of Los Angeles or New York, it just won’t. While OKC is a top-tier team at the moment, they aren’t living forever in that moment. Every team will have to succumb to the lottery one time or another, even though many aren’t realizing it right now. Staying in the current system will allow small-market teams like the Thunder to have a greater chance to get another Kevin Durant, James Harden, or Russell Westbrook, instead of a team in a major city.

The NBA is throwing out a knee-jerk reaction to what the Philadelphia 76ers are attempting to do. The 76ers threw their mediocre team right into the dumpster and picked out Brandon Davies to play for this team for two straight years. It’s almost a slap in the face to the NBA, but it’s the way the League is constructed. If you can’t sign LeBron James or have Gregg Popovich as your coach, then your chances of winning an NBA Championship are slim to none.

The 76ers were tired of being mediocre and without the draw to pull a LeBron James or superstar equivalent talent, this was the only option the NBA left Philadelphia. Many small-market teams will have to face this dilemma at one point or another, or they could be the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA — a team that hasn’t been past the Eastern Conference Semifinals since the 1969-70 season.

I’m going to point out a paragraph from the Wojnarowski article I linked earlier that beautifully explains why this proposed change is going to happen:

"The big-market teams badly want this change because it’ll give them one more advantage over small markets in securing top talent. Big-market teams have an advantage signing superstar free agents and an advantage trading for them because those players are far more apt to agree to sign a contract extension. And, now, the big market teams will get better access to top players higher in the draft."

As we all know, big market teams are going to get the top prized free agents. If a top flight FA is choosing between Memphis and New York, bet your engagement ring that he’s picking New York. Big-market teams know this and that’s why so many are voting for the new lottery change. It’ll make it a lot easier for a middle-of-the-pack team like the Knicks or Nets to hop to a top-three pick in this new system, where before it would have taken the luck of the Cavaliers.

The quickest way for a small-market team to get a once-in-a-blue-moon ala Anthony Davis type player is through the draft. That’s where the Cavaliers picked LeBron, the Pelicans picked Anthony Davis, the Thunder — or Sonics — picked Kevin Durant, the Bulls picked Derrick Rose, and so on. The media is putting Philadelphia on a grand stage because they want to become a great team and compete with the likes of LA, OKC, and the dominant powers in the NBA.

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It’s funny, because these proposed changes are in reaction to the 76ers, who have already secured a franchise cornerstone — read: we pray — in Joel Embiid. By the time these changes really start to take shape, the 76ers could already be trending towards the top of the NBA.

I think you get the point by now — I hope. Instead of the NBA just letting the 76ers plan take it’s course, like so many other teams have been able too, it’s a reactionary fix that will hurt a lot of teams in the long run. It’s almost a guarantee that a lot of the teams voting “yes” on Wednesday will want to change that vote in a few years. But, whatever. The 76ers have Joel Embiid and who knows, let them finish with a half decent record this season, be slotted in the No. 8 slot in the lottery and jump up to No. 1. Crazier things have happened.

What do you think about the NBA’s lottery changes?