Opinion: Lottery should stay

Photo courtesy of nba.com | NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (above) has an important decision in his hands that could impact the current lottery system. Staff writer Donnie Menke argues that a reform really won’t change anything

The NBA proposed a potential reform to de-incentivize teams from tanking last week. Tanking, the act of intentionally not playing and trading certain players to obtain better odds at a high draft pick, is generally frowned upon among basketball fans.

Under the proposed measure, the teams toward the top of the lottery would have reduced odds of obtaining a top-3 pick, as opposed to previous years. Teams would also be able to fall farther down in the order.

Under the current system, a team can fall no farther than three spots from its projected spot. As an example, the team with the worst record can fall no farther than fourth. Under the new system, the team with the worst record could fall to the fifth spot.

Tanking has been a problem for a few seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers made it known a few years ago that they were tanking by trading away every player with value on their roster.

While the proposed reform may look like it reduces the incentive to tank, it is unclear how much of an impact it will have on tanking. If teams feel like they are bound for the lottery, what’s to stop them from obtaining the best possible odds?

If a team is unhappy with consistently being a playoff contender, but not a championship contender, why would they not put themselves in the best possible position to make the leap?

While this could stop teams from losing one or two games toward the beginning of the season, by the end, teams guaranteed a spot in the lottery will likely do whatever they can to improve their odds of getting the top pick.

This already happened last season when the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers rested healthy players in favor of obtaining better odds of getting a top pick. Neither team was able to obtain it as the Boston Celtics came away with the top pick in the most recent draft.

Just because the odds are slightly reduced does not mean teams will stop doing what they need to do to get a better draft selection.

Doing so will allow a team a better opportunity at drafting a player who will lead it to a championship.

The Major League Baseball season is starting to wind down, and the award races are getting tighter by the minute.

In the American League, things should not be this close. At the All-Star break, all three awards looked like they were decided. Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale was running away with the Cy Young award and Yankees rookie Aaron Judge had a stranglehold on the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors.

Now, Indians pitcher Corey Kluber is taking the Cy Young away from Sale, while Judge has let the MVP race become wide-open. To compare the stats, Kluber has a 15-4 record, with a 2.56 earned run average, a 0.88 walks plus hits per inning pitched and 235 strikeouts. Chris Sale, meanwhile, has a 17-6 record, with a 2.76 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 278 strikeouts.

In addition to Judge, Sale, Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve are all in the race for AL MVP. In terms of hitting, Altuve blows everyone away. He has a .351 average, best in the majors. Despite missing time due to injury, Trout is still posting MVP numbers. His .320 average is among the best in baseball, along with 27 homeruns and 61 runs batted in.

Judge, before the all-star break, was incredible. He had a .329 average with 30 homeruns and 66 RBIS. Since the all-star break, he’s batting .191 with 11 homeruns and 24 RBIs. Even if he has ROY, MVP is far from a sure thing.

On the National League side, the Cy Young race has been tight for a while. Perennial contenders Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Zack Grienke lead the pack. Kershaw has a 16-3 record, with a 2.15 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 182 strike-outs. Scherzer, on the other hand, has a 14-5 record, with a 2.32 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 239 strike-outs.

Prior to getting injured, Bryce Harper appeared to be well on his way to his second MVP award. Now, Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rendon appear to be the front-runners.

Goldschmidt is having a normal season for him, but now his team is in the national spotlight. His .312 average with 34 homeruns and 111 RBIs is one of the best stat lines in the majors. Rendon’s line doesn’t look as good as Goldschmidt’s. He has a .302 average with 23 homeruns and 91 RBIs. But he is a major part of one of the best teams in baseball.

Most of these races won’t be decided until the end of September, and it should be an interesting ride.

By: Donnie Menke ~Staff Writer~