Are Sports Leagues Moving Away From A Draft Lottery?

Draft Lottery

Are Sports Leagues Moving Away From A Draft Lottery? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

The National Hockey League announced some changes to their draft lottery system, some of which will be seen this year, with others coming next year. The goal it to help ensure the team with the worst record each season doesn’t fall to far from the top spot in the draft. This move may mean that leagues want to see the best players available find their way to the teams that need them the most. If that’s the case, are sports leagues moving away from draft lotteries, and slowly moving towards letting team records dictate who chooses at which spot?

Tanking has always been a difficult topic of conversation for many sports leagues since having a bad record normally leads to a team getting a higher draft pick. For two leagues, the NBA and NHL, a deterrent used to try and limit tanking is their draft lottery, a method that often prevents guaranteeing the team that needs the best available player from being able to select them.

For the 2021 NHL Draft, only the top two picks will be decided by a lottery, with the rest of the picks falling back to the reverse order of each team’s regular season record. This ensures that the team with the worst record each year can pick no lower than third in the next draft.

The NHL also announced this week that beginning with the 2022 Draft, only 11 of the 16 teams that fail to make the playoffs will be allowed into the lottery, with teams 12 through 16 locked into their position based upon their regular season record. This move also enhances the chances of those teams with the fewest regular season points from moving up, not down in the draft lottery. 

The league also added a rule that no franchise can win the Draft Lottery more than twice in any five-year period; this, in theory, will help spread the young talent entering the league around rather than by the fluke of a lottery having them land with a few lucky teams.

If any league is going to try and say that no franchise is tanking for a draft pick, then, by definition, there should be no need for any type of draft lottery system since a team’s record is naturally occurring. For a sport like baseball, a full 162-game schedule is clearly enough to determine who had the best 40-man roster and organizational depth, causing no need for a draft lottery system. Interestingly enough, pro football, which plays the fewest number of games each season, also doesn’t feel the need to have a draft lottery.

Why?

Because the NFL has a salary cap and a salary floor, keeping the teams all closely balanced, but still permitting the best teams to win their fair share of games.

Tanking for higher draft picks is not something that players in uniform do since they, by their own nature, are always competitive and are almost always out there to win. Where tanking comes from is from the front office standpoint, with those who are running spreadsheet reports determining that if you can’t win a title, then getting better players is more advantageous in the long run. For both the NBA and NHL, however, tanking is something both league’s commissioner deny exists, at least publicly; which begs the question, why does either league still need a draft lottery at all?

I have a feeling that one day leagues will do away with their draft lotteries, if they can get away with the need to have their television shows airing the lottery results. If you are trying to sell fans high priced tickets to games and convince us every team isn’t tanking, then there should be no need to have a lottery, the fact that anyone does flies in the face of that sales pitch, and is the only true reason why lotteries still exist, but also why they need to be done away with once and for all. 

 


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Are Sports Leagues Moving Away From A Draft Lottery? | TooAthletic.com

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