How to 'fix' the NBA lottery
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

When the NBA holds its annual draft lottery Sunday, the suspense of the drawing itself will barely register. After all, the pingpong balls are plucked outside the view of TV cameras (although the league is allowing a few reporters to witness the drawing this year). The unveiling of the first three picks are the event's "drama," with the rest of the teams falling in behind them, from worst to least-worst record.

Jerry Krause
Jerry Krause has KO'd the lottery competition before ... but you certainly wouldn't want to see the guy in boxing trunks.
Why not put the pingpong ball machine out front and let all of us witness the process? It's not that we think there might be some backstage chicanery -- though with accounting firms and sports reporters monitoring the process, you never know these days. (Think they hired Arthur Andersen?)

It's just that we live in a lottery culture -- Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6, Powerball, you name it -- and watching pingpong balls shoot out from a bin into a little dish is kind of exciting. But that's not the way it's happening with the NBA. Therefore, Page 2 would like to suggest a few more fan-friendly -- not to mention entertaining -- ways to choose a draft order among the 13 worst teams in the league:

Method: Celebrity Boxing

Pros: Riley vs. Layden! Unseld vs. Babcock!

Cons: Jerry Krause in boxing shorts ... and that's it.

Method: Magic 8-Ball

Pros: Reliability. (Will the Hawks blow their pick? Yes, Definitely. Will the Wizards get the first pick again? Outlook not so good.)

Cons: Would muck up process if the answer is "Reply hazy. Try again."

Method: H-O-R-S-E

Pros: Wouldn't you love to see Jerry West crush the field?

Cons: Would anyone be able to actually make enough baskets to win? After all, these are lottery teams.

Method: Let Mike Dunleavy decide

Pros: Pops might know the NBA scene as well as anyone.

Mike Dunleavy
Mike Dunleavy's methods would definitely deny the Clippers.
Cons: Kind of unfair to the Clippers, isn't it?

Method: Let the PTI guys decide

Pros: Kornheiser and Wilbon would figure it out in 30 seconds or less.

Cons: Must endure yet another shameless plug for Tony's new book.

Method: Pick a number

Pros: A simple strategy for teams that can't seem to figure one out.

Cons: Donald Sterling can't count too high.

Method: Psychic Hotline

Pros: Will save Golden State the humiliation of wasting pick on Mike Dunleavy.

Cons: $4.99 per minute counts against salary cap?

Method: Old school (Allot the players to the teams that are geographically closest to their college)

Pros: Chris Wilcox to the Wizards. Dajuan Wagner to the Grizzlies. Yao to some team on the West Coast.

Cons: Nets, Knicks brawl over Jay Williams.

Method: Just let Stern divvy out the order how he sees fit.

Pros: He knows best.

Cons: He will anyway.

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting list appears Thursdays.



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