Call for ideas: Ending tanking

TrueHoop published a very good story today on tanking. Over the next few days they plan to roll out some ideas on how to stop tanking and rewarding bad GM decisions.

I suspect there are people here at CH with great ideas on how to do this. Please post them below. After a few days I'll tweet the link to @TrueHoop. Who knows - maybe the NBA will do something about this issue.

Bill Simmons has weighed in on this issue at least twice here and here. He basically suggests the following:

  • Change the lottery back to that of the late '80s: one envelope per team, same odds for everybody, top three draft spots only. Boom! We've solved the tanking problem. If a half-decent team happens to land a franchise player, like the Wolves getting Oden and pairing him with KG ... I think we'll manage.
  • Entertaining as Hell Tournament — the top seven seeds in each conference make the playoffs, then the other 16 teams play a single-elimination tournament to "win" the no. 8 seeds. This would discourage tanking for lottery picks, reward late-bloomer teams and generate extra interest because, again, this tournament would be entertaining as hell. All 14 games would be televised — eight in Round 1, four in Round 2, then a doubleheader final at Madison Square Garden to decide the no. 8 seeds — over a week as the other 14 playoff teams regrouped and rested up.

I love the EAH tourney idea. A mini "March Madness" to start the NBA playoffs and a chance to see some of the good young players & teams competing for something. This gets the Wile seal of approval.

I am less swayed by the first idea. The 4th and 5th picks would still likely be tank targets. And is he including all 30 teams in this envelope draw? The last thing the league needs is the #1 pick going to Miami or Chicago.

Here is my idea that probably has lots of holes and unintended consequences:

  1. Hold the tournament proposed by Bill Simmons, or some variation.
  2. Hold a non-weighted lottery among the 14 non-playoff teams (based on #1). Picks 1-14 are all drawn via lottery.
  3. Provide the 14 non-playoff teams with an $8 million dollar salary cap exception that can be used in trades or free agency. Exception cannot be re-traded by the receiving team and expires after one year.
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