Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy recently stated that he believes that all 30 NBA teams deserve a shot in the NBA's draft lottery. Currently, there is a lottery taken using the 14 teams that didn't qualify for the playoffs. Van Gundy says everyone should join in the fun.
First off...that's dumb. For one thing, the entire point of a draft is so bad teams can get young big-time prospects to help them become better. Those drafted prospects are relatively cheap, so you have monies to sign a good free agent to run alongside him. If the Suns, Mavs and Spurs are allowed into the lottery, then the entire point of the deal is smashed.
However, Van Gundy has a point hidden in there. One of the usual questions that get asked at this time of year goes like this: "is it better to be the #7 or #8 seed in the playoffs; get pounded by a top seed; or is it better to miss the playoffs, suck in your pride and hope for the best with the ping-pong balls?? What Van Gundy is proposing would help to answer that question. If everyone has a shot....then go for the playoff push.
The lottery is flawed. Right now, the bad teams are falling all over themselves to suck so they have a shot at drafting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. The worse you are, the higher the percentage it is to win the lottery. It ain't guaranteed...but you have nice odds. It used to be that lottery team had an equal shot at the pick [they used to just have envelopes in a sphere and picked the top picks that way]. However, that was deemed unfair as a near playoff team could get that top pick instead of a desolate team.
I like where Van Gundy is headed....but he's wrong to include them all. However, I .... the Sportz Assassin .... propose this: the 14 teams that miss the playoffs and the 8 teams that lose in the first round of the playoffs are eligible for the lottery. How is that? I was looking at just adding the #7 and #8 seeds from each conference in the lottery....but then teams may dog themselves out from the #6 seed to get there. I went this way because no one would intentionally lose a postseason series just to gain a slim shot at the top draft pick. That way, the only teams exempt from the lottery would be the "elite eight" teams that are fighing for a berth in the conference finals. Sure, those good playoff teams that lost would probably get a microscopic chance at gaining the top prize...but as any state lottery official will tell you, "you can't win if you don't play!"
Just as the bad teams want a star youngster to build their franchise around, a mediocre playoff team would love to have that same star to be the final piece of their puzzle. I mean, that's where those teams who drafted the #1 guy end up eventually....right? Ask Yao Ming, LeBron James, Elton Brand and Kwame Brown.
Let them play.