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Kings owner proposes determining draft order based on standings at All-Star break

Mar 28, 2014, 12:14 PM EDT

Adam Silver, Vivek Ranadive

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive participated in a compelling Q&A with Jared Dubin for ESPN. Among the highlights

  • Ranadive’s desire to legalize taunting in the NBA
  • Hints at why the Kings’ analytics told them Rudy Gay would improve in Sacramento
  • How many times Ranadive describes someone as a 21st-century something

What really caught my eye, though, is Ranadive’s tanking solution – what he calls the V Plan. Ranadive:

There’s two parts to it. Part one is that you freeze the draft order at the time of the All-Star break. Then, everything [pertaining to the current lottery system] remains the same, but it’s frozen based on the standings at the All-Star break. Then there’s no gain in not playing at the highest level for the remainder of the season. That’s part one.

Part two is that at the end of the season, the top seven teams from the Eastern Conference and the top seven teams from the Western Conference make the playoffs. Then for the eighth playoff spot, the remaining eight teams have a sudden-death, college-style playoff in a neutral venue, like Vegas in the West and Kansas or Louisville in the East.

That would inject such excitement into the league. Teams would no longer be incentivized to lose. Their fans would have something to hope for, like a Cinderella team that got into the eighth spot. It would solve most of the issues that we’re facing with the way the draft happens right now.

The end-of-season tournament has been proposed before, and wary of completely diminishing the value of the regular season, I have mixed feelings. I could get behind a six-team-per-conference tournament with the top two seeds getting byes.

But a play-in tournament has been proposed before. Freezing the standings at the All-Star break is completely new to me – and very interesting.

I see a couple potential issues, though.

1. This could increase tanking during the season’s first half. One big disincentive to tanking is selling tickets. Teams still want to attract fans, and committing to a full season of losing will hurt attendance. But a half season of losing? Hey, that’s half as bad for ticket sales.

2. It could be difficult to balance schedules league-wide so every team has had an approximately representative sample. At minimum, each team would have to play the same number of home and road games.

But those obstacles could probably be overcome with a little more planning. The V Plan is certainly intriguing.

  1. amlowlife - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I like the out-of-the-box thinking. Haven’t had time to analyze the draft proposal but the taunting one draws smiles. So, make the NBA like the WWE or a boxing weigh-in or something? Might be fun but might lead to some fights…

  2. romestar82 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    makes sense I got lost though

  3. cruzan80 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    I like it…..I like it a lot. I watched the interview Real Sports did on this guy….he’s not a “basketball guy”…..just a really smart business guy…which is why I think this might work.

  4. bpayton216 - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    I think this is an interesting idea. I think it would also find teams much more active at the trade deadline just after all star break. Interesting idea proposal though to curve tanking.

    Just for the sake of conversation…. All Star Break Power Rankings (Bottom 10):

    (30.) Philadelphia 76ers (29.) Milwaukee Bucks (28.) Los Angeles Lakers
    (27.) Sacramento Kings (26.) Boston Celtics (25.) Orlando Magic (24.) New York Knicks (23.) Utah Jazz (22.) Detroit Pistons (21.) Cleveland Cavaliers (20.) Charlotte Bobcats

  5. knicksmets - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    I don’t think I like it since let say a team does poorly at the beginning of the season but after the all star break goes on a run and makes the playoff. Then let say they won the finals. Will they get a really good pick for doing terribly in the beginning of the year or is it just for lottery teams. I’m a little confused and kind of want someone to Explain it because I’m not 100% sure if this is the right move. It might be though since teams would have less reasons to tank at the end if the season.

    • calkinsrob - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      Idk I would think the worst teams at mid-season wouldnt have much of a chance chance to do much in the playoffs. someone will have to bring up some stats/records at mid-season in the past few years or so.

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        There were those Celtics teams a couple of years ago – right at the end of their Big 3 era – when they had bad records at the All-Star break but went on to have a deep playoff run as a lower seed.

      • n2thaizzo - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        See 2014 Brooklyn Nets

  6. abchome - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    There are better and more feasible suggestions against tanking.

    • sdlakerfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Please name one…thx

      • abchome - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        For starters search websites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Grantland… etc

  7. bknowledge - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    The reason why teams tank is there isn’t enough talent to go around.
    Contraction is the answer.
    Less teams will mean stronger teams.
    Tanking would be less effective….you couldn’t trade away your best players because in order to be a playoff team, you’d have to have a lot of really good players. You couldn’t hope to get good if you had 3 really players, you’d need more than that; that makes tanking a less effective way to rebuild.
    Contraction would mean less teams in the lottery…better chance for a bad team to get a high pick (slightly).
    Contraction also would help solve the problem of teams over-paying for mediocre talent. Some pretty average players make a lot because the competition for talent is so fierce…because there’s not enough talent to go around.
    A smaller league is better for competition and produces a better product. It would be better to watch. The eastern conference is a joke.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      Good luck convincing the owners to contract. Too much $$$

  8. seattlesuperchronic - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    This kind of thinking will only help. Even if it doesn’t go the way he wants, people will think about it. I like this guy.

  9. chunkala - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Note to Dan – NBA regular season is already meaningless.

  10. tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Teams are only tanking when there’s a player worth tanking for (I.e. Wiggins, Lemieux, Luck, Duncan, etc.). If there’s no one available to tank for, it won’t be done. According to this guy’s logic, then all a team has to do to acquire the pick is to only tank for half the season. You’re still not stopping teams from tanking to get the pick they want. Since when has tanking been such a crime anyway? It’s been going on in all sports forever.

  11. pukpokito - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    I like Barkley’s proposal. all 30 teams gets 1 pingpong ball each.draw on all 30 who picks 1st to last.Let’s see who tanks with that.Hahahaha!

  12. titansbro - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    No cinderellas in a series style tournament. Gotta be a 1 & done style tourney.

  13. philtration - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    Leave it the way it is with one change…. any team that does not win at least 25 games during the season does not get a 1st round pick at all.

    Think they will tank after that?

  14. ProBasketballPundit - Mar 30, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    He’s ripping that idea from Bill Simmons. He wrote about the Entertaining-As-Hell-Tournament years ago.

  15. jkirby317 - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    How about if a team finishes as poorly as Milwaukee or Philadelphia are threatening to do then they get relegated to the NBADL?

    Then the team that wins the D-league championship can have an opportunity to play in the NBA while Philly and the Bucks can learn the skills needed to win more than 25 games in a season playing in the D-League.

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