Although no team would admit to doing it, tanking has been an issue in many sports over the years. The issue may be most prevalent in the NBA.
Year after year, there are a handful of teams who trade away their top players and don't exactly put the best possible roster on the floor in an effort to get as good a lottery position as possible, with hopes of acquiring a potential star player to lead them into the future. With the bottom 14 teams in the league entered into the lottery each year, many organizations do this in hopes of increasing their odds of a higher pick. Essentially, the system has incentivized losing.
Despite this, there are no changes upcoming for the draft lottery, said the league's senior vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe in an interview with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
I don’t think I see anything imminent. A year and a half ago, there was a lot of momentum for change. We brought some thoughts to the Board of Governors. The majority of the owners were in favor of change. But a change really takes a super majority. So we barely missed that. I don’t know what has happened in between that. We’ve focused on different areas. I would assume it hasn’t really changed that much.”
Vandeweghe said the reason a super majority hasn't been reached is because owners want to see what effect the upcoming salary cap increase will have.
The salary cap is going to go to 90 [million] plus. We’ll have a lot more money in the system. How will that change behavior? How will that change team building? The draft is only one aspect of team building. You have trades and free agency. They all work together. They work together well. We have an influx of a lot more money. We don’t know how that’s going to change the dynamic. People wanted to pause and wait and see how that affected the system.
Will the salary cap help to decrease the number of teams tanking? We'll have to wait and see. But even though change isn't in the plans right now, the encouraging sign is that the NBA and its owners seem to be open to it in the future, if necessary.
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