HoopIdea is taking on the problem of tanking by asking smart people around the basketball world to imagine an NBA in which there was no incentive -- such as the top pick in the draft -- to lose a ton of games. The response has been overwhelming (believe it or not, I read every word) -- not only on TrueHoop but in hundreds of emails, tweets and Google+ comments -- as fans give their thoughts about what can be done.
This Friday we highlight five of our favorite tanking solutions:
Determine draft position by guessing which (other) team will have the worst record. You can't eliminate tanking while teams have their own first-round draft pick and the draft order is (in part) determined by losses. A possible solution: instead of the lottery determining the draft order, it determines the order in which each team chooses another team's first-round draft pick for the following season.So if Charlotte finishes with the worst record this year, the reward is first dibs on guessing which team will have the worst record next year. There is far less incentive to tank as teams don't own their first-round pick, and tanking only gets them a choice of who they think will have the worst record the following year.It adds incentive to beat the team whose first-round pick you own, creating a short-term rivalry for the team and the fans. Fans don't have the dilemma of whether to root for their team to lose. -- Glen Thomson on Google+
Connect drafting position with revenue sharing. Continue to give the worst team the biggest chance of winning the first overall pick, but in exchange, give them the smallest slice of the revenue sharing pie. The better the record for each lottery team, the more money they receive from revenue sharing.Teams in full tank mode are shedding salary and assets while acquiring cheap, underpaid talent. It stands to reason that they would require less financial help to cover their lower operating costs. Furthermore, if the winning, big-market teams are forking over their money it makes sense that there should at least be some responsibility on the part of the receiving teams to work for it.This scenario would allow teams a two-to-three-year window for a true rebuilding period, but anything longer could be cost-prohibitive for an owner. If the lockout taught us anything it’s that NBA owners, especially on poorly run franchises, will squabble over every dollar.Putting a prohibitive cost on tanking will give those owners some incentive to make sure the front office overseeing that tanking has a plan in place. At the very least it would give owners incentive to make sure the people that run their teams are showing up more than part-time hours. -- Jesse Blanchard, 48 Minutes of Hell
Lottery tweak: Weight wins to remove incentive to lose. My idea sounds a little complicated, but I think could go a long way to curing tanking and it can easily be adjusted to provide the adequate incentives. It is a points-based system with the goal of rewarding teams for trying, while still trying to work towards competitive balance.Let's start with the most basic elements: A team gets points only when they win and the number of points earned is based on the number of losses that team has accrued to that point in the season. Therefore the ideal team (to get a high pick) would start slowly but develop and grow throughout the season, like the 2008-09 Thunder. A lottery system with the probability tied to the number of points accrued should help dissuade teams from tanking midway through the season. More weight can be given to games as the season progresses. -- Scott
Bidding system for draft picks. Make the draft like the amnesty system. Teams with cap space can bid on players. Highest bid wins the player. Most of the time, playoff teams have little/no cap space. An amnesty-type system for the draft naturally favors losing teams. -- @EJMaroun via Twitter
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
You can give us your ideas and talk with us and other fans in the following places:
Google+: Go to our HoopIdea Google+ page and discuss
TrueHoop: Read our HoopIdea posts here and contribute on the conversation page
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And for the truly ambitious: Shoot a short video of yourself explaining your HoopIdea, upload it to YouTube and share the link with us on Twitter or Google+.