The D-League is the testing board for the NBA.
Whether it’s bringing in the international goaltending rule, a 3-minute overtime or having top four seeds pick their first-round playoff opponents, the D-League has always experimented.
However, D-League has gone traditional for its upcoming draft next month – sort of.
Instead of having a lottery to determine a draft order, the league is basing it on last year’s records, meaning the playoff teams will pick after the teams that didn’t make the playoffs.
Eight of the 16 teams make the playoffs.
Now the NBA has a draft lottery, but it’s for the teams that don’t make the playoffs. What the D-League did in the past was have a lottery for every team regardless.
I understood the theory of it, though.
Since the rosters can drastically change from year to year, it gave everyone a fair shot to get the top picks in the draft.
On the other hand, it’s more logical to let the worst team from a season ago pick first.
That’s how the NFL does it.
This year, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants will pick first after going 14-36 last season. The Erie BayHawks are picking 12th overall after going 28-22 last season. They made the D-League playoffs.
This year, the draft order won’t change, either. In the past, the D-League used a “serpentine” draft format, meaning the order would alternate in each of the eight rounds.
For example, the team that picked last in the first round would select first in the second round to give it the 16th and 17th overall choices.
Now I thought that was a cool because it gave the team picking last momentum going into that second round.
In addition, teams can’t trade during the draft. This takes some strategy out of the draft, but it also eliminates teams working together in terms of picking for each other, which happens in the NBA.