The 2018 NBA Playoffs are underway, and 14 teams are sitting at home watching the games just like we are. Now, undoubtedly teams like the Atlanta Hawks (24-58) and Phoenix Suns (21-61) do not deserve to be in the playoffs. They were horrendous to watch all season long.
What sucks about being a fan of the Hawks or the Suns is that the owner does not necessarily care to be bad for a couple of years to have success later. Sam Hinkie, former GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, is looking like a genius now that his “bottoming out” idea is coming to fruition.
The 2013-14 season, Sam Hinkie decided that the best way to rebuild was to blatantly suck for a couple of years and draft a bunch of young guys with a splash of veteran talent. That season the 76ers went 19-63. They followed that up with an 18-64 season, which was followed by the 2015-16 season, where the team won just ten games.
In those three seasons, the 76ers went 47-199. Fast forward to present time, and the Philadelphia 76ers had a 52-30 record and are real contenders to win the Eastern Conference.
However, I am not a Philly fan. I do not cheer for the Hawks, Suns, Magic, or any other team that looks like they are tanking for the NBA Draft. Instead of sucking for picks, teams should have to win for picks, and there is no better way to do that than by playing the games. So, here is my proposal. I am sure it will have some flaws but we can all work on it together, and then the NBA can adopt it, and all will be better.
Instead of the team with the worst record getting the higher percentage in the lottery, the NBA should try to incentivize teams that win instead of teams that suck. Here is what the NBA should do. Instead of having 16 teams that aren’t doing anything this time of year, let them play in a tournament for draft position, March Madness style.
So, in the case of the 2018 season, going 21-61 means nothing for the Suns. Here is a look at how the bracket would shake out.
#1. Denver Nuggets and #2. Los Angeles Clippers get a First Round BYE
#3. Detroit Pistons vs. #14. Phoenix Suns
#4. Charlotte Hornets vs. #13. Memphis Grizzlies
#5. Los Angeles Lakers vs. #12. Atlanta Hawks
#6. New York Knicks vs. #11. Dallas Mavericks
#7. Brooklyn Nets vs. #10. Orlando Magic
#8. Chicago Bulls vs. #9. Sacramento Kings
Obviously, in this case, the higher seed gets home court advantage. The bracket would flow just like the typical NCAA Tournament bracket. Winner gets the first pick of the draft each year.
Maybe Sam Hinkie is a genius, and apparently, it has worked out this year. Perhaps it is a moot point, and fans would trade a couple of lousy seasons for a couple of winning ones. As a basketball fan and an NBA fan, implementing a single elimination tournament for the top draft picks would be must-watch television.