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Adam Silver wants to fight tanking with his proposed NBA draft lottery reform

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Silver’s plan, if passed as legislation, would lessen bad teams’ odds at top picks.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In an effort to de-incentivize tanking, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is aggressively pursuing draft lottery reform that could be instituted before the beginning of the 2017-18 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Silver, according to Woj, is a proponent of lowering the odds of the NBA’s worst teams to land the top picks in the draft.

The suggested draft reform hinges on improving the odds of other teams jumping up in the draft. According to Wojnarowski, the new legislation would be integrated over time and “there is no indication” the 2018 NBA draft would be impacted by the reform.

The draft lottery reform must be voted on by the NBA’s Competition Committee, a group of several general managers and coaches, which will send a formal recommendation to the Board of Governors for the final OK, according to Wojnarowski.

How did we get here?

For teams outside of the playoff hunt, the end of the regular season was a race to the bottom. With a deep draft class at the top, featuring Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac, and others, whichever team lost more virtually had its pick of several potentially franchise-altering players.

As a result, the Lakers benched veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov as their young players lost 18 of 21 games before winning five of their final six games. The Phoenix Suns shut down Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe — both healthy — as they went on a 13-game losing streak, dropping 14 of their final 16 games.

Both teams drafted in the top four, landing young rookies who can potentially reshape the outlook of their respective franchises.

What would Silver’s proposed reform mean?

Well, that losing won’t pay off as much in the end. We don’t have all of the specifics to the draft reform Silver is pushing aggressively, but increasing the odds of better teams jumping up into the draft lottery could add a cloud of uncertainty to losing on purpose.

After all, there is no reason to purposely throw games if a top pick isn’t guaranteed. If implemented correctly, the draft lottery reform could create a competitive NBA outside of just playoff-bound teams.

And in the end, that’s all the fans want: competitive basketball.