David Stern says NBA could tinker with draft lottery, not concerned by tanking

Scott Halleran

In his final press conference as NBA commissioner, David Stern said the league could perhaps look in to altering the draft lottery system, but he wouldn't go as far as saying tanking is a prominent issue.

NBA commissioner David Stern is in his final month on the job, and he's not budging from his stance on the controversial draft lottery system. The outgoing commissioner said he thinks "tinkering" with the draft lottery is a worthwhile discussion, yet he wouldn't admit that the tanking issue -- NBA teams losing on purpose to gain a higher draft pick -- is of concern, according to USA Today's Sam Amick

Especially under the collective bargaining agreement of 2011, tanking has become one of the most common discussions when it comes to rebuilding a team. With star players so hard to sign and such a burden to teams' salaries if they are, drafting talent has become the best plan to build a winning team from the ground up.

In an ESPN Magazine piece before the 2013-14 season began, one anonymous NBA executive admitted he was tanking.

Stern, however, seems set in his stance on the matter that he expressed in a 2012 interview with Rockets.com's Jason Friedman. Asked if there is a problem with the system since it's hard to rebuild without bottoming out, Stern is likely to point out there are issues with tanking as is.

Namely, it's still playing with luck.

"I don't know what the problem is because different people have different problems that are actually the opposite of each other. Some people think that we should just give the worst two teams the top two draft picks, and that's a problem because it raises issues that are often covered in the media dealing with the effort that those teams put in. Then when teams wind up having the worst record and only end up with the fourth pick, someone says that's terrible and they should have the first or second pick, even though we've changed it so that wouldn't be guaranteed and that would eliminate the opportunity to do it.

Good thing for Stern that he won't be worrying about such issues soon enough. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver takes over for Stern when the calendar flips to February, and he'll have the lottery issue to deal with, not to mention questions of divisional re-alignment and expansion from Seattle to Europe.

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