Dear Mr. Silver,

In a time when we are seeing so many teams intentionally fail their fans (because when you try to lose that exactly what you’re doing), I feel that it is my duty as a representative of all NBA faithful to write to you in regards to the draft process and how you can very quickly become a hero in all of our minds (which you’ve already got a foot in the door with your stance on gambling).

You see, as you already know, the current Lottery system is incredibly flawed.  I’m not one of those people who think that the current process is rigged, and in all honesty believe that if it was rigged that the world would know it pretty fast because trends and “coincidences” can only happen so many times before the red flag goes up (just ask the sport of Boxing how that worked for them).  I do, however, feel that thinking it makes even a bit of common sense to allow a team to be rewarded for going out and purposely giving away games because they want the opportunity to get as many combinations as possible, is about as far from “sportsmanship” as one come imagine.

Being in a position to be a true protector of the game is something that I’m sure you take very serious.  You were selected because a group of people thought that you would make a positive impact and ensure that the NBA continues to grow and improve the product that is put out on the court for the millions of fans who tune in every night, or those who pay the price (which is high) to go and be present at the games.  Having that said, doesn’t it make sense to ensure that the teams are doing everything they can, every night, and every season, to be the best, and not the worst?  To compete regardless of skill level or “rebuilding period” to give the people who pay so much the entertainment that we all know can exist.  Doesn’t it make sense to put a process in place that ensures a top level of competition from all 30 teams in the league at all times?  Give each team a reason to compete as hard as they can for the opportunity to shine at the top of the basketball world?

I have been curious, probably since about 1994, how a player on one of those teams who is competing for the most ping pong balls would feel?  Their dream comes true and they get the opportunity to play a game that most people can only play in their dreams.  They have the chance to make a very good living playing a game (can you imagine?).  However, when they get to the team, they learn that the franchise is trying to get really good…by being really bad.  So what does that mean to them?  How does that make them feel?  I can’t imagine that would be a good feeling, and let’s be honest about this, these players are people too.  Isn’t it your responsibility to protect them just as much as it is to protect the league?  We as adults are always preaching to our youth about sportsmanship…how does them equate to that?

The worst part about this is the publicity of it all.  As fans, we have to hear about all the money that the league makes, the CBA deals that ensure these players can get more and more money each time it comes around.  Each player has to put up with the fact that their financial situations are out in the open, to be gawked at, and discussed as if it’s anyone else’s business besides their own.  We know what everyone is making, and it’s everywhere all of the time.  (I don’t blame this on you, if anyone I blame it on the media for making it such a topic of conversation…ESPN I’m looking at you).

So here is my proposal.  Below is just a suggestion on how you can really make a change for the better in this league.  A chance for you to make your mark very early in your career as the commish and shock the system all for the greater good.
1.  At the end of the season, all teams will be evaluated based on their win/loss record for position of draft order.   The lotto system will be completely removed.
2.  The top 3 teams from both the East and the West who missed the playoffs will be given the top 6 draft choices.  The order of those 6 positions will be determined based on W/L record and ties will be determined by coin flip.
3.  Once those 6 positons are filled, the remaining teams who did not make the playoffs will be organized by W/L record beginning with the best record and working down in order from there.
Once each team has drafted the remaining teams (playoff teams) will draft based on regular season W/L record beginning with the worst team and working down to the best.
4.  This order will remain the same for the second round of the draft.

This is simply a suggestion, however I think we can all agree this makes much more sense and encourages each team to try their hardest each and every game to win.  I understand that you can only do so much to protect things like integrity (nothing you do will fix that problem in Philly), however, at least this removes the idea that it is acceptable to let down the very people who make all of this possible, not to mention the kids who’s dream is to get the opportunity to compete at the highest level, on the highest stage.

Sincerely,
Big Fan of the NBA

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