# Is the draft lottery working?

Rating:
5/5,
1. Motivation: As a Red Wings fan, I've experienced the entitlement of a team capable of staying competitive for over a decade, followed by the unfamiliar frustration of a team that's not used to being bad. My fanbase is split between those [rightfully] wanting to win games because of pro sports' competitive spirit and pride, and those [rightfully] wanting to tank for the chance at a better future. Notice I called both sides right: I don't blame the fans for their divide, but the system creates it nonetheless.

Purpose of the lottery: I think the draft and lottery have a couple purposes and I want to analyze whether it's accomplishing them.
1: Distribute top talent fairly to all teams
2: Create parity by making the worst teams better
3: Discourage tanking

Odds: What I've been hearing a lot lately is "you NEED a top 3 drafted player to compete for a Cup." I'm going to accept that premise without questioning it to simplify things. But it's also important to remember that a top 3 drafted player is obviously not sufficient by itself- you need quality depth and support.

Lottery odds are, for the last place team for example, 18.5%, 16.5%, 14.4% for 1st, 2nd, 3rd pick. Added up, that's 49.4% chance at a lottery pick.

The key is that since it's a probability, it doesn't really make sense to look at a single year. It's 50/50, you might win it or you might not. But probabilities work for averaging over time. So the important number is 1/49.4%, which means the last place team will win a top 3 lottery pick on average once in 2.02 years.

Do this math for all positions, and we see it will take, on average,
 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 9 10 12 15 20 30
years for a team in a given position to get a lottery pick.
** This is the main point of the thread. I think this is a much more useful number to look at than anything else, because it breaks the lottery down and simplifies, with the "prize" being a lottery pick, what it takes to win in terms of time spent as a losing team.