Options for determining the 2012 NBA draft order if the 2011-12 season is canceled have been discussed in labor talks, according to league sources.
The simplest method, one source said, would be to base the order on the final 2010-11 regular season standings and then hold the lottery again. However, several sources said that is the least likely option because it would favor the particular circumstances of last season.
Another formula would order the 30 teams based on their aggregate winning percentage for the last five regular seasons and then set the top 14 picks by lottery, according to a source.
A source also said the league could use the aggregate winning percentage from the last three regular seasons and then set the final 14 by lottery.
When the NHL conducted its 2005 draft following a lockout-canceled 2004-05 season, it used a formula that weighted a league-wide lottery in favor of teams that did not make the playoffs the previous three seasons. It also weighed in teams that had not received the top pick during that time.
Any aggregate method employed by the NBA, league sources said, could include a formula that tilted the percentages for the lottery teams in a similar fashion to what the NHL did.
Ric Bucher is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.