(Reuters) - Proposed changes to the NBA’s draft lottery format designed to distribute the odds more evenly among the non-playoff teams failed to pass at the league’s board of governors meeting on Wednesday, Commissioner Adam Silver said.
Silver said the final vote was 17-13 in favor of the reform but that fell short of the required 23 votes — three-quarters of the league’s teams — needed to change the lottery.
The reform plan was to discourage the idea of losing on purpose, known as “tanking”, to increase a team’s odds in the lottery.
Silver said the league has to “find the right balance” in creating incentives for teams to win and allowing what is appropriate re-building through the draft.
“We’ve tinkered with the draft lottery several times over the years,” Silver told a news conference. “I don’t necessarily disagree with the way it works now.
“From a personal standpoint, what I’m most concerned about is the perception out there right now. Frankly, (there is pressure on a lot of our teams, even from their very fans, to somehow underperform because in some people’s view (that’s) the most efficient and quickest way to get better.
“That’s a corrosive perception out there.”
The reforms would have given the league’s four worst teams identical odds (around 11 percent) of winning the number one draft pick, with the fifth team having about a 10 percent chance and the rest of the teams declining odds, ESPN reported.
Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance at the top pick and the second-worst team has a 19.9 percent chance. Each subsequent team’s odds decline slightly.
The board unanimously agreed to send the issue back to the NBA’s Competition Committee for additional study, Silver said.
Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes