• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pistons Are Latest Terrible Team to Get Weak Draft Reward

  • The Pistons received their third straight No. 5 pick despite finishing worst in the league again.
  • The NBA’s worst team hasn’t picked first since 2018.
Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s draft lottery once again did not smile kindly on the Pistons, who received their third consecutive No. 5 pick despite having the worst record in the league each of the past two seasons.

Detroit set the league record for the longest single-season losing streak this year and finished with a franchise-worst 68 losses. The Pistons and Wizards—one game better at 15–67—each had a 14% chance of winning the No. 1 pick. The Hawks, who made the play-in tournament this year, won the first spot with only a 3% chance, while Washington took second, the Rockets landed at No. 3 with the Nets’ pick (from the James Harden trade), and the Spurs will look to build around last year’s No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama with the fourth selection. The Pistons last received the top spot in 2021 when they drafted Cade Cunningham.

The worst team in the NBA hasn’t wound up with the No. 1 pick since 2018, when the Suns took Deandre Ayton in a stacked draft class that included Luka Dončić, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That trend has helped cement the Pistons alongside other very bad teams who have gotten unlucky with their draft order in recent years. The Hornets and Trail Blazers, who each finished with a record of 21–61 (third worst in the East and worst in the West), will pick sixth and seventh, respectively. In MLB, rules in the ’22 CBA prohibit teams that receive revenue-sharing payouts from getting consecutive lottery picks, which are the first six selections, and a club ineligible for the lottery isn’t allowed to pick higher than 10th. That meant the Nationals, who had one of the worst seasons in baseball last year, had to take the 10th pick in the ’24 draft despite winning the lottery. The White Sox, who have currently 12 wins on the season, will face the same problem next year.

In some ways, the systems in baseball and basketball are working as intended. MLB and the NBA instituted anti-tanking measures after teams aped the Cubs and Astros, who both tanked their way to the World Series, or the 76ers, who tanked their way back to relevancy through what then GM Sam Hinkie called “The Process.” The NBA and MLB have tried multiple avenues to curb tanking, from the draft lottery, CBA rules, and the In-Season Tournament.

But this isn’t the case across all sports. In this year’s NHL draft, where only the top two picks are determined by the lottery, the league-worst Sharks actually did get first, and the second-worst Blackhawks got second. From there, teams are placed in reverse order based on their finish in the standings. At least in the NHL, and the draft-lottery-free NFL, tanking is still alive and well.

The NBA draft takes place in New York on June 26 and 27 under a new two-day format. The first round will be presented at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the Nets, while the second round will move to ESPN’s Seaport District studio in Manhattan.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

MLB Officially Investigating Gambling Allegations Against Ohtani’s Close Friend and Longtime Teammate

David Fletcher reportedly used the same bookmaker as Ohtani’s former interpreter.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows

0:00

Featured Today

exclusive

‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.
May 20, 2024

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
May 16, 2024

Preakness in Spotlight: Chance of a Triple Crown Winner Bolsters Status

The presence of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan gives a big boost to the Triple Crown’s middle leg.
May 15, 2024

PGA Championship Setting Revenue Records, but LIV Drama Still Looms

The PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning at Valhalla Golf Club.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.