The NBA has the lottery. Check that, they not only have the lottery but have had the lottery for almost 40 years. The NFL, MLB and the NHL have all decided that is too unfair to its worst teams so they don’t have one. Instead, they have organizations who just bail on seasons and decide to hold fire sales knowing that competing for mediocrity doesn’t benefit them. Here is the kicker. You know what? They are correct. It’s also a concept that is terrible for professional sports and fans of bad teams.
So if they really care how do Leagues put an end to this? You do it by rewarding teams that are competitive all the way to the end of the regular season. Up until the final tick off the clock in the final game.
So we have spent the last week coming up with a plan so perfect it will bring about “The End of Tanking”!
Here is what we propose:
- The first four picks are determined by the four teams that came the closest to making the post-season. Those four teams would enter a lottery.
- The Team with the worst record in the league has the #5 overall pick. The team with the second worst record in the league picks 6th overall.
- The rest of the round is done in chronological order in terms of record. Worst to first.
Let’s use the 2021 NFL regular season as an example.
Here is what the Top 10 Draft picks would like for this upcoming NFL Draft in April. For the sake of this we are saying the Chargers win the Lottery. Followed by the Saints, Dolphins and Colts.
- LA Chargers (9-8) (Lottery Winner)
- New Orleans Saints (9-8)
- Miami Dolphins (9-8)
- Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)
- Detroit Lions (3-13-1)
- Houston Texans (4-13)
- New York Giants (4-13)
- New York Jets (4-13)
- Carolina Panthers (5-12)
As you can see under this construct tanking does nothing for you. If you bail on the season with the design to lose you’ll end up picking 5th. By being one of “First Four Out” you’ll enter the lottery with no guarantee and no advantage. You could pick 1st or 4th. This completely destroys a tanking plan for an organization designing their teams to lose. In subsequent rounds you just adjust the order of the top four as you would with a the current system. After the 4th round teams slide back into the overall record slots.
Here is what the NBA Draft would’ve looked like a year ago:
- Indiana Pacers (34-38) (Lottery Winner)
- Golden State (39-33)
- San Antonio Spurs (33-39)
- Charlotte Hornets (33-39)
- Houston Rockets (17-55)
- Detroit Pistons (20-52)
- Orlando Magic (21-51)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (22-50)
- Cleveland Cavs (22-50)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (23-49)
And Major League Baseball:
- Cincinnati Reds (83-79) (Lottery Winner)
- Toronto Blue Jays (91-71)
- Seattle Mariners (90-72)
- Oakland Athletics (86-76)
- Baltimore Orioles (52-110)
- Texas Rangers (60-102)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (61-101)
- Washington Nationals (65-97)
- Miami Marlins (67-95)
- Chicago Cubs (71-91)
By structuring the Leagues this way going forward you make it impossible to tank. Actually, you could tank on purpose and it would guarantee you the 5th overall pick. Good luck with that. Playing up until the end of the season and then losing on purpose would get you in the Top Four with a 25% chance of the Top Slot. It’s the equivalent of electronic roulette. It is 100% perfect? No. But it would unequivocally put an end to tanking. If someone thinks they can manipulate this new structure. Go For It! We are all in and calling your bluff.