Adam Silver: Lottery reform on hold for couple years

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NBA owners rejected NBA draft lottery change last year, though momentum seemed to be on the side of reformers. A 17-13 majority actually voted to alter the system, but the proposal needed 23 votes to pass.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the National Basketball Players Association rejecting cap smoothing would further delay lottery reform.

How long?

Silver, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

“And given the inflow of the new television money next season and the large increase in the cap, ultimately the owners concluded that while we think we need to take a fresh look at the lottery system, let’s wait and look at the system holistically once the new money comes in.

“Because there’s always unintended consequences and at least everyone understands the rules of the road right now. I think we need to be deliberate about any changes we make, so we’ll turn back to it, but we’re going to leave things as is for now.”

When asked how long it will be before the lottery system is revisited, Silver said: “It will be a couple of years. We will have this very significant increase in the cap next year and I think we’ll have a sense then of how our teams react and what sort player movement we see.”

The new national TV contracts don’t kick in until 2016-17, so it will be a while until we know how they affect things. Silver is right. There will be unintended consequences.

But, as when Silver first said lottery reform was being delayed, I still find NBA owners too risk-averse.

A new lottery system, on a team-by-team basis, would either be better or worse than the current one. Owners might not know which when they vote, but when choosing between two plans, choosing the one already in place just because it’s already in place is unwise. A vote against a new setup is a vote for the current setup. There’s no way around that. There has to be a system for the lottery (even if that system is abolishing it entirely).

Imagine a world where the NBA had a different lottery system than we have now. If someone proposed changing the system to the one we have in real life, it would get voted down – for the same reason owners vote for the current real-life system.

That’s illogical.

But it seems the league has made up its mind on this. Don’t expect any lottery changes for a couple years.