The NBA‘s board of governors voted almost unanimously — 28-1-1 was the exact count — to reform the NBA Draft Lottery and set guidelines for resting players. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been a big proponent of both of these legislations that are designed to prevent teams from tanking for the top pick and discourage healthy stars from resting, especially in nationally televised games.
The San Antonio Spurs have been resting their starters for years, but this past season the tactic reached many of the other NBA teams and fans of teams expecting to see superstars felt cheated when they were healthy scratches. Silver now has the ability to fine teams if they rest their starters for those primetime games.
More details from the ESPN report by Adrian Wojnarowski:
The resting regulations deliver Silver the ability to fine teams for sitting healthy players in instances that include nationally televised games. That legislation needed a simple majority to pass.
The three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, a change from the descending percentages of 25, 19.9, and 15.6 in the current system. Four teams — increased from three — will become part of the lottery draw, which means the No. 1 lottery seed could drop no further than fifth, No. 2 could drop no further than sixth, No. 3 no further than seventh, and No. 4 no further than eighth.
Some small-market teams were hesitant on the plan, because officials believed it ultimately limited their odds of acquiring elite talent because free agency has traditionally favored big-market teams.
In the new resting legislation, Silver will have the discretionary ability to fine teams for resting players in several instances, including sitting multiple players outside of unusual circumstances in a single game, and healthy players in nationally televised ESPN, ABC and TNT games.
These should both be seen as good changes. As much as the resting of starters is strategic for teams expecting to make the playoffs, it hurts the home fans expecting to see superstars from other teams. They only get that chance every so often.
The draft lottery reform is long overdue. Teams have been tanking for “the process” in the last few years, even going so far as to openly admit they will lose on purpose. Ironically, the lottery was already designed to prevent this, but it was still too top heavy. The new system is much better.