Changes may be coming to the NBA’s Draft Lottery system soon, and there’s little question that the way the Sixers have chosen to build their team was the impetus for the league looking at ways to innovate where the allocation of top draft picks is concerned.
The current system incentivizes teams to lose, plain and simple. The worse you do during the regular season, the better your odds are of landing a top-three pick in the draft the following summer. The Sixers chose to embrace it, dealing any and and all of their productive veteran players in order to bottom out, and build through the draft by trying to acquire superstar-level talent on rookie-scale contracts that would provide the foundation for a long-term solution.
Philadelphia is only in year two of its plan, but after drafting an injured Nerlens Noel in 2013 (who sat out all of last season) and another injured player in Joel Embiid this summer, other teams are outraged at the blatant lack of an attempt to compete — so much so, that lottery reform may be coming sooner than the Sixers had expected.
The league’s Board of Governors will likely ratify changes to the way lottery chances are distributed in time for implementation in advance of next summer’s draft. While that will obviously affect the Sixers negatively this season, ownership believes those adjustments will ultimately benefit his team when taking a long-term approach.
Speaking to the media at his team’s training camp on the campus of Stockton College on Friday, Sixers managing owner Josh Harris acknowledged that the proposal, which could be voted on later this month and go into effect immediately, would be bad for his team in regard to the 2015 Draft.
But he believes it could benefit them down the line.
“A change that flattens the Lottery system would be a little bit worse for Philadelphia in the short run,” Harris said. “But long run, since we expect to be a consistent playoff or deep playoff-caliber team, it’s actually better for us.”
This statement is unsurprising, in that no one expects that the Sixers have an internal plan to tank forever.
It’s been stated as a three-to-five year rebuild since last season, and though extreme, if done correctly should net Philadelphia an All-Star or two through the draft, which the team can use to build around to once again become a competitive and respectable franchise.
There’s just been a distaste around the league for how unabashedly the Sixers have gone about their business, which has led to a fresh look of making the strategy less palatable for others in the future.