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Report: NBA Passes Lottery Reform, Player Resting Rule Changes

The league’s board of governors passed some changes on Thursday.

The NBA’s board of governors approved changes to the league’s draft lottery format as well as passing new rules pertaining to player rest, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The board met Wednesday and Thursday this week in New York City, according to Wojnarowski, and agreed with the necessary three-fourths majority to make the draft changes.

The new lottery rules are set to go into effect for the 2019 draft. The changes smooth out some of the discrepancies in No. 1 pick odds between the league’s worst finishers, with the league’s worst three teams now given identical odds to win the lottery. Those teams will have a 14% chance to win the lottery, down from the previous 25/19.9/15.6 percentage split. The rest of the lottery teams also receive boosts across the board that increase their chances at a more desirable finish.

Wojnarowski tweeted the below chart, which explains the new system. Four teams instead of three will be part of the final lottery draw, allowing more teams to leap toward the top and also allowing the teams with the best odds to fall further than before. The No. 1 lottery seed will be able to fall no further than fifth, No. 2 sixth, and so forth.

The changes are designed to disincentivize teams from ‘tanking’ or bottoming out in order to try and land a future star through the draft. Although there is still value in a low finish, the adjustments to the percentages take away some of the need to lose games, since the top three sets of odds are the same and the fourth spot is just 1.5% less likely to win.

The rest rules allow commissioner Adam Silver to under certain circumstances (including nationally televised games) fine teams who choose to sit players who are healthy.