Economists propose changing NBA draft from lottery to auction

Oct. 24, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Two economists have worked out a proposal for a new market-based format for the NBA draft they say would make the system of selecting players more equitable.

Under the current system, NBA teams are awarded draft slots based on their regular season wins and losses. Purdue University assistant economics Professor Timothy Bond says his idea is to use credits to buy slots in the annual players draft. He says it would remove an incentive for a team to play poorly at the end of a mediocre season in anticipation of getting a higher position in the draft.

As an example, Bond and Princeton, N.J., economist Arup Sen pointed out the Golden State Warriors went 5-22 at the end of the 2011-12 season to finish with a record of 23-43, just bad enough to avoid having to give a protected trade slot to the Utah Jazz.

Rather than trading draft slots -- which would be sold for credits in an auction -- teams would trade credits or split credits to get more picks instead of a single high draft pick.

The credits would be allocated based on regular season records, eliminating the incentive to play poorly for a higher draft position.

"The system could penalize teams by reducing their credit allocation if they show a drop in performance after the break for the all-star game," Bond said in a release. "A significant benefit is that we wouldn't have to change the wage structures or the draft, which would avoid a collective bargaining headache."

Poorly performing teams could then get more credits in a bid to restore league parity.

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