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If NBA loses full season, what might next draft look like?

Nov 4, 2011, 2:17 PM EDT

2011 NBA Draft Getty Images

It’s one of the more interesting questions around the NBA right now:

If a full NBA season is lost, what do you do about next year’s draft?

It’s not really fair to go with the same order or even same lottery as last year — why should Minnesota be rewarded again for being bad two seasons ago? But is an equal lottery — one team, one ping-pong ball — fair? Should Miami or Dallas have the same shot at the top pick as the Cavaliers?

Teams are talking about it. The league won’t talk about if they are talking about it, but you know that they are.

Over at Sports Illustrated, Chris Mannix points to the system the NHL used when it lost a season.

The NHL elected to use a lottery and cooked up a creative solution. The amount of lottery balls a team had was based on two criteria: the number of times a team made the playoffs the last three seasons and the number of times a team had drafted No. 1 in the previous three drafts. Using that model, four teams (the New York Rangers, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Columbus) each had three of the 48 balls in the bin. Ten teams had two balls and 16 had one.

The result was one of the more compelling drafts in NHL history. While Pittsburgh, which finished the ’03-04 season with a league-worst 58 points, landed the top pick in 2005, there were some surprises. Perennial doormat Florida picked 29th. Ottawa and Vancouver, two 100-plus-point teams in the previous regular season, were slotted ninth and 10th, respectively.

I like the idea of this or some variant — everybody has a shot but the teams struggling recently have the best shot. That seems fair to me. Maybe the Lakers will end up with the top pick and we can start talking conspiracy, but I like the chance of that happening better than saying they or the Celtics cannot get the top pick after a missed season.

Ideally, this entire conversation will be moot. But it seems we’re at the point we should start talking about it.

  1. danielcp0303 - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Another thing I’ve wondered about are existing contracts among players. If a guy has a year left on his deal right now, and the year goes by without a season…does he become a free agent? Does everyone’s deal just advance a year, even without a season being played?

    • snoopy2014 - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:47 PM

      Interesting question. My impression would be yes. If the deals weren’t advanced, then people wouldn’t be making a big deal of players like Garnett losing 1 year of their big contract. There wouldn’t really be any huge penalty for the players if they could recoup all that lost money once the league resumed. Larry Coon would know best, but I’d bet the answer to your question is yes.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        Well I don’t mean that the players would get paid for not having a season. I guess I’m wondering if it makes sense for a guy who has 4 years and 20 million left on his deal without a season, couldn’t he just go into the next season with 4 years and 20 million still left on his contract? Although if contracts are based upon dates and not actual seasons, then I guess it would advance a year. So maybe it was a dumb question for me to ask to begin with.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        I guess I’m saying it would just suck for teams with a guy who has one year left, and no ability to trade him because he’d already be a free agent. I’d also hate to be a free agent now and next year because I have a feeling the owners won’t be opening up their pockets as much anymore.

  2. prophetspeakes - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    How about the rookies from this year…if the season is lost, will there be 120 players eligible for rookie of the year?

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      Yes. The same way Blake Griffin won it after missing his rookie season due to injury.

  3. adiddie - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Minny won’t be awarded anyway, our pick goes to the clippers

    • Josh - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      As a Wolves fan I’m not sure whether to give a thumbs up or thumbs down for that.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        Gotta love Kevin McHale…. I hope I see triple finger down thumbs. McHale sucks.

    • emerson12345 - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      or does it?… we owe them our “2012 first round pick”… if the draft dosent happen unless the trade had some verbage about missed seasons… the next draft would be the “2013 draft”…that wasnt mentioned in the trade.

      sooooo …. maybe we would get away???

  4. greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    They should do what the NHL did when they lost their year to a lockout. Every team starts with 3 ping pong balls. Every year you made the playoffs the last 2 years you take off a ping pong ball. Throw them in and draw them out.

  5. steelerchicken - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    The Top 5 picks would be Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, Bulls and Heat.

    There will be a nice 50-game season. They should adopt this schedule for the remainder of time.

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