How Will the NBA Draft Lottery Changes Affect the Indiana Pacers?

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 22: NBA Draft 2017 held in Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on June 22, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 22: NBA Draft 2017 held in Barclays Center in Brooklyn borough of New York, United States on June 22, 2017. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /

With the news dropping that the draft lottery system is changing, analyzing how it affects the Pacers can help you get a better grasp of the changes.

In 2014, during the Sam Hinkie era tank-fest in Philadelphia, the league was embarrassed. The 76ers were embarrassingly bad, and it looked like they were losing on purpose. They won less than 20 games three years in a row, and the league tried to change the draft lottery system as a result.

The league failed.

Now, three years and many tanks later, the league decided to tweak their lottery reform idea. This time, it passed almost unanimously.

The idea of this new draft lottery proposal is that being the worst team isn’t much more valuable in getting a high draft pick than being a team with one of the worst five records. The new proposal flattened the odds around the top of the lottery to encourage teams to try instead of being the worst team. Adrian Wojnarowski breaks it down in this graphic:

Right off the bat, the biggest changes are glaring. The bottom three teams in the lottery all have equal chances of obtaining the number one pick, at 14 percent. The big change is that now the No. 1 team can fall down to the No. 5 pick, wherein the old system they could only fall to the No. 4 pick.

The minor changes fall in the odds for the teams in the middle of the lottery. Just one example, the eighth worst record now has better than a 25 percent chance of moving into the top five picks. The expected pick of the top five teams in the lottery has worsened, while the expected pick of the teams seven through 14 has improved.

T.J. Leaf
GREENBURGH, NY – AUGUST 11: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally altered) T.J. Leaf of the Indiana Pacers /

How it effects the Pacers

The draft lottery in theory affects every team, but it has a unique effect on Indiana specifically.

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The Pacers have had a lengthy run of success; they haven’t picked in the top 10 since 1989. Now, they look to have a team that may be bad enough to pick in the top 10. Because of this, the draft lottery reform may change the outlook the Pacers have in future drafts.

It is important to first note that these draft changes will not come to head until the 2019 NBA draft. Excuse next years draft from these discussions.

But in 2019, when this lottery reform starts, the Pacers project to be a non-playoff team. However, they still appear like they will be rebuilding. This reform is great for the team because of that.

If Indiana ends the 2018-19 season with the eighth worst record, they would have a better chance of moving up in the draft than ever before. This would be very useful for a rebuilding team, and a team that will be running out of cap space. Myles Turner will be getting a sizeable contract around then, taking much of the team’s cap space.

Concluding Thoughts

Since the Pacers tend to try to avoid tanking in general, this proposal does help them. They can be even happier attempting to compete year in and year. If things do fall apart, their draft odds will still be improved.

It’s official, the draft is changed. Who knows what kind of ripples this will cause around the league. But for now, this new proposal looks like it will help the Pacers.

Next: Thaddeus Young is the wily old vet now

Fans of the team can be excited about the odds of getting a good player in the draft going forward.