NBA owners vote down lottery reform

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No Reform For NBA Draft Lottery


By JON KRAWCZYNSKI

NEW YORK (AP) -- NBA owners have voted down proposed changes to the league's draft lottery system, staving off efforts to curb tanking for the time being.

The proposal needed 23 votes for approval but only received 17, with 13 lining up to vote against it at the league's board of governors meetings on Wednesday.

It was a somewhat surprising turn of events after appearing earlier in the week that there was support for reforms that would make it more difficult for teams with the worst records to secure the top pick in the draft.

The vote means the existing system will remain in place for now. The team with the worst record will still have a 25 percent chance at getting the top pick and cannot drop lower than fourth. The board agreed to send the issue back to the competition committee for additional study.

"I think, in essence, the owners were concerned about unintended consequences," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "I think we all recognize we need to find the right balance between creating the appropriate incentives on one hand for teams to, of course, win, and on the other hand allowing for appropriate rebuilding and the draft to work as it should in which the worst performing teams get the highest picks in the draft."

The Philadelphia 76ers' strategy of aggressively tearing down their roster in an effort to lose games and increase their chances of landing top-flight talent through the draft is the impetus for conversations about lottery reform.

Philly GM Sam Hinkie, with the blessing of ownership, has assembled a roster designed to lose in the present in hopes of building a foundation that can win in the future.

Hinkie has been unapologetic about his strategy, believing that it provides the Sixers the best chance to not just be competitive in a few years, but to contend in the Eastern Conference.

They have already landing promising point guard Michael Carter-Williams, forward Nerlens Noel, center Joel Embiid and European standout Dario Saric by stockpiling those high draft picks, but they've also lost a lot of games while doing it.

The brazenness of Philadelphia's strategy didn't sit well with some in and around the league who think it compromises the integrity of the games in the present.

"I don't necessarily disagree with the way it works now," Silver said. "I'd say from a personal standpoint what I'm most concerned about is perception out there right now and frankly the pressure on a lot of our teams, even from their very fans, to somehow underperform because it's in some peoples' view the most efficient and quickest way to get better.

"I think that's a corrosive perception out there."

Reform proposals were aimed at two elements: increasing the odds of the best teams in the lottery jumping up into the top three spots and also lowering the floor for the worst teams to drop.

One scenario called for the worst team in the league to be able to fall to the seventh pick in the draft, a huge drop that could have discouraged teams such as the 76ers or others from willfully losing games to boost their lottery chances.

But those scenarios brought their own sets of problems as well. A team such as the Milwaukee Bucks, who actually lost four more games last year than the 76ers despite making several moves before the season aimed at getting them into the Eastern Conference playoff field, would have been exposed to the same risks of plummeting down the draft board and missing out on some of the top available talent.

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NBA owners vote down lottery reform
Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks dunks against Brandan Wright #34 of the Dallas Mavericks on January 5, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers drives to the basket and dunks the ball against the Washington Wizards in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks the ball against the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Eastern Conference goes up for a dunk during the 2013 NBA All-Star game at the Toyota Center on February 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Gay/Pool/Getty Images)
Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Golden State Warriors on February 12, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Raptors DeMar DeRozan slams a backward dunk during NBA matchup between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets, on Sunday, December 16, 2012, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers dunks over Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2012 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets attempts a dunk during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on December 31, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
Paul Millsap #4 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against Jared Dudley #9 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Philips Arena on December 4, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls dunks against the Dallas Mavericks on February 28, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards goes up for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a dunk against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 25, 2014 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 18, 2013 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for the dunk against David Lee #10 of the Golden State Warriors on March 25, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trailblazers dunks the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans goes up for the dunk against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game on March 26, 2014 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dunks the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 11, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets dunks over Wesley Matthews #2 and Robin Lopez #42 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers dunks against Chris Kaman #9 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks against the Boston Celtics on March 17, 2014 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a dunk against the Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre on February 3, 2002 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Fernando Medina/ NBAE/ Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers dunks the ball during the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on December 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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