To tank or not to tank? That is the question the bottom tier NBA teams ask each year when they know they can’t compete. Unlike the NFL, the NBA has a draft lottery system that is supposed to stop teams from tanking. Do teams still tank? Sure they do but they are taking a pretty big risk when doing so.
What are the Odds?
Let’s take a quick look at the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery better known as the “Victor Wembanyama” sweepstakes. Three of the leagues worst teams the Pistons, Spurs and Rockets came into the lottery with 14% odds of winning. In the end the Spurs came away victorious and now get the rights to pick Wembanyama. It’s important to note that the Pistons had the league’s worst record (17-65) but ended up with the 5th overall pick.
The NFL and Tanking
Now let’s take a closer look at the NFL draft and structure. Does the NFL have a tanking problem? Most would say it doesn’t although there are some teams that make interesting moves down the stretch. When you look back at the 2022-2023 NFL season the Houston Texans were primed to get the 1st overall pick in the draft. They just needed to lose to the Colts and they were set. Well Lovie Smith and crew were not having it as the Texans ended up winning 32-31 in dramatic fashion. It just goes to show you there a many variables to keep in mind when tanking.
NFL Draft Lottery in the Future?
There are many arguing that the NFL should implement a draft lottery and I get it. It would become another primetime showcase event for the league. It would draw millions of viewers and fans would be on the edge of their seat. I just don’t think the NFL needs it. They don’t have a tanking problem in my eyes and the league is full of parity. The worst team in the league could become a playoff team in just one year with the right draft picks. The NFL should stand pat and not mess with a good thing. Mixing up the draft structure now when it’s already one of the top events of the year is not the right move.