The NBA determines their draft order using a lottery system. If you know how the system works, skip the quote and subsequent paragraph. For those of you who aren't familiar with the system, I'll use the description from Wikipedia:
The lottery winner would get the first selection in the draft. In the current rules, 14 teams participate in the Draft Lottery. The lottery is weighted so that the team with the worst record has the best chance to obtain a higher draft pick. The lottery process determines the first three picks of the draft. The rest of the first-round draft order is in reverse order of the win-loss record for the remaining teams, or the teams who originally held the lottery rights if they were traded. The lottery does not determine the draft order in the subsequent rounds of the draft.
The 14 "lottery teams" represent the portion of the 30 team league that did not make the playoffs. The worst team has a 25% chances of getting the top pick. Each team their after has a lower probability, with chances of approximately 20%, 15%, 12%, 8%, 6%, 4%, etc. The 4 lottery teams with the highest records have under a 1% shot at the top pick.
The "Suck for Luck" campaign got me thinking- would the NFL benefit from using a customized version of the weighted lottery system? I understand that this couldn't happen without a new CBA, and that it likely never will. Either way, I wanted to see whether or not you guys think this would be a beneficial change for the NFL.
Imagine that rather than determining the top of the draft purely by record, the NFL used a lottery system such that every team with 4 or less wins is entered into a lottery for the top 3 picks. This is just an example I came up with that would illustrate what this format can look like...
Every team with a 4-12 or worse record receives a certain number of entries in the lottery. The number of entries is calculated using the formula: (Losses - Wins) x (Losses / Win %)
For this years draft, this would result in the following 5 teams receiving the following numbers of entries:
Colts- 192 (24%)
Rams- 192 (24%)
Vikings- 160 (20%)
Browns- 128 (16%)
Bucs- 128 (16%)
Without attempting to solve all the complex probabilities, I can tell you this would give the worst teams (Colts/Rams) about a 70% chance of ending up with a top 3 pick. The Bucs/Browns would have only about a 50% chance of landing a top 5 pick. After the top 3 picks are drafted the remaining picks would be determined by record using the original system.
Last year, this format would have resulted in a lottery with the following teams:
Panthers- 192 (33%)
Broncos- 128 (22%)
Bills- 128 (22%)
Bengals- 128 (22%)
In this instance, the Panthers have about an 80-85% chance of landing a top 3 pick.
I think this would be a beneficial system to implement for the following reasons:
1) Every so often there is an elite prospect who can instantly change the future of a franchise, such as Andrew Luck. What is it that makes the Colts, who were a healthy Peyton Manning away from being a 6-10 win team, more deserving of this pick than the Rams, who lost just as many games but happened to play a harder schedule? Why were the Broncos more deserving of the #2 pick last year? Having a harder strength of schedule is pretty meaningless. Each team can play better than any other on any given day, so to say a team was worse simply for this reason is not a very accurate measure of needs.
2) Were the Rams really so much worse than the Vikings that they should have automatically get the rights to a number #2 pick that drew in 3 first rounders while the Viking will only be able to add one impact player? Wouldn't it make sense for the rights to these picks to at least be based off of a weighted chance? In general, every team in the bottom 5 have many glaring needs. Is the difference between one or two wins really a fair way to say that one team deserves the rights to a franchise-turning pick anymore than another when your talking about 2-4 win teams?
3) There is generally at least 5 blue chip prospects that are impact players. Giving the "worst" team under the current system a 2-4 pick still allows them an opportunity to draft an elite player. I don't think any team would complain about being able to add any of the top five picks from a year ago. Similarly, you can't argue Claiborne, Kalil, or Blackmon are elite talents that would help to improve any team.
That is just my opinion, I'm sure there are plenty that agree or disagree and I would love to hear why. Have at it