In a development that should shock literally no one, Rob Pelinka, whose Los Angeles Lakers just benefitted greatly from the flattening of the lottery odds to the tune of the No. 4 pick in next month’s draft, is a fan of the new system.
Following the Lakers’ unexpected leap up the draft board, Rob Pelinka hopped on a conference call (transcribed by Mike Trudell of NBA.com) fielded questions about everything from the vibe surrounding the fan base to the team’s options moving forward.
He was then asked about the system itself, and he’s a fan:
“I think it’s a significant step forward, and sort of the NBA and Adam Silver’s vision on lottery reform. I think this is going to shake things up a little bit. Last year, 14 picks went in lock step, there were no changes. This year we had extraordinary movement at the top. I think it is going to leave an impact on the league and how teams play down the stretch, and I think it’ll have a positive impact that will keep the league even more competitive, which is our ultimate aim as a league, to just be a highly competitive league.”
Jokes aside about why Pelinka would be saying this given the outcome of the lottery itself, it’s hard not to argue given the results of that night for everyone involved.
Now, maybe we’d feel differently if the Lakers were one of the teams that got leapfrogged Tuesday night, but as of now, the flattened odds had what would appear to be their intended result. That is: discourage teams from starting season with the outright goal of losing as many games as possible.
It’s impossible to say whether that is definitely going to be the case after only one lottery, but at least in theory, this seems to have worked as best it could right now.
Now, will this do anything to stop teams from resting players late in the season? Of course not, but that has to do with other things beyond draft lottery odds. It just makes sense for teams that are no longer playing for anything to rest important parts of their future and trot out guys who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to show what they bring to the table (see Jones, Jemerrio).
An interesting outcome to watch of the flattened odds and Tuesday’s lottery results is going to be what it does to first-round picks’ values in trades. With teams more likely to jump all over the board, at least theoretically, that should increase the value of even picks later in the lottery, and it isn’t like teams at the bottom of the league are going to value their first-rounders any less.
All these unintended outcomes are fascinating and it will be well worth keeping an eye on how that takes form over the course of the next few years. But for right now, all the Lakers can focus on is finding the best path forward. They got all kinds of lucky, and now have to find a way to take advantage of that good fortune.