# Is the draft lottery working?

Rating:
5/5,
1. ### TheOtherOneRegistered User

Joined:
Jan 2, 2010
Messages:
5,689
1,621
Trophy Points:
154
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
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.

I'm going to split non-playoff teams into "bad" 1-7 and "bubble" 8-15.

- The lottery has been this way since 2016, and we've seen wins by #13, #8, and #12. So out of 9 potential lottery picks, 3 were won by bubble teams. We can see it in the odds and we've seen it happen in reality. When we talk about teams refusing to tank and staying a bubble team forever- such a team will get a lottery pick, on average, once in 14 years, while staying in the better half of non-playoff teams.

- For bad teams, tanking, or losing a game on purpose, has the potential of changing the expected value by 1. In a given year, it's a crapshoot (out of those 9 potential lottery picks, only 2 were won by bottom 3 teams). But as far as the year-to-year average goes, it doesn't matter much if you're dead last or 4th to last. If you're a bad team for 5 years you should get a lottery pick regardless of your specific standing.

- The way I see it you can rebuild one of two ways. 1: You can have a bad team with no depth, finish in the bottom half of non-playoff standings, and take on average 3 years to win a lottery pick. Then take several(?) more years to build the surrounding depth necessary to compete for a cup. 2: You can have a bubble team with decent depth but lacking high end talent, finish in the top half of non-playoff standings, and take on average 14 years to win the lottery. From this it seems like method 1 is a bit faster, but there is a lot of fuzziness because no matter which way you choose, everything has to go right. I'd like to encourage method 2 (i.e. discourage "tanking" even more), but maybe the lottery odds need to be adjusted some more for that to happen.

Ok I already spent too much time on this so go ahead hfboards tear it apart if you want.

2. ### ibleedkingsMake LA Great Again!Sponsor

Joined:
Jul 19, 2004
Messages:
2,423
505
Trophy Points:
184
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
Santa Clarita
Hell no it’s not working. The Kings were completely f***ed last night!

3. ### oXo CubeTermite

Joined:
Nov 4, 2008
Messages:
8,982
5,653
Trophy Points:
156
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
It hasn't prevented a single team from entering a rebuilding period and it has screwed over multiple teams that are/were legitimately bad and need the most help.

So no, it isn't working. It's making things worse.

4. ### BPDRegistered User

Joined:
Jul 7, 2009
Messages:
3,297
415
Trophy Points:
124
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
New York City
Premise is nice, but your n is literally 9.

You're operating under the assumption that the distribution is not going to skew toward outliers early. 13 and 12 winning one of those spots twice in 9 is certainly unexpected, it's not unusual.

Joined:
Jun 11, 2010
Messages:
2,465
1,503
Trophy Points:
139
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Occupation:
Engineer
Location:
Manayunk (Rutgers, in spirit)
Teams that have benefitted from the system: Absolutely.

Teams that have not: No way.

6. ### Nick0930Registered User

Joined:
Mar 16, 2011
Messages:
4,380
367
Trophy Points:
94
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Occupation:
Store Manager
Location:
Quebec
It's fine.

- Devils fan

7. ### FourRingsRegistered User

Joined:
Mar 26, 2013
Messages:
3,675
1,170
Trophy Points:
109
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
New York City
I don't think a team should be able to win the lottery twice within a 5 year period. I'm not just saying that because NJ won, just my honest opinion.

8. ### Barrie22Shark fan in hiding

Joined:
Aug 11, 2009
Messages:
22,209
3,431
Trophy Points:
187
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Occupation:
hockey lol
Location:
ontario
Why because they moved back 2 spots?

Oryxo, llamateizer, HabsQC and 4 others like this.
9. ### Kaapo CabanaNext name: Admiral Kakkbar

Joined:
Sep 5, 2014
Messages:
4,091
2,443
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
This is a very good point

also, the aim of the Lottery is to reduce teams intentionally putting out bad rosters in order to get a better draft position. Because we don't know if any teams would have operated differently had the draft been strict reverse order, we cannot measure its efficacy.

BUT

Just because you can't measure its efficacy doesn't mean its not effective. Being at the bottom of the league is less of a meal ticket than it was before. in theory, this should discourage tanking.

10. ### bossramRegistered User

Joined:
Sep 25, 2013
Messages:
6,540
1,975
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
Vancouver
Yet people didn't like the old system because the same teams (EDM) kept getting 1st overalls.

The point of the more evenly distributed lottery is to allow for rebuilding, but discourage outright tanking a la the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres' McDavid quest. If people thought the team in dead last needed the most help, and deserved the first overall, then the system should never have changed. But it did, because everyone got pissy over Edmonton.

Perfect_Drug and MC2D like this.
11. ### chi777Registered User

Joined:
Feb 23, 2006
Messages:
1,487
85
Trophy Points:
101
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
I think it's a disgrace. I have a feeling when execs from the NFL watch this they fall out of their chairs laughing.

It should just go back to drafting players in the order of the standings. Worst drafts first, and so on.

This tanking concern is so overblown it makes me sad.

When you're a team, with a bunch of aging vets, on the downswing, there's two ways to handle it.

You can hang on to those vets and wait for them to leave on their own, like Detroit. In this case you end up getting nothing for them when they retire.

Or you can trade them off and hope to get some assets for them before they hang 'em up. Like Buffalo tried to do, but failed miserably.

Either way, both end up at the bottom of the standings and neither should be punished for being terrible.

This whole lottery thing is a travesty.

12. ### LostToAZamboniDriverRegistered User

Joined:
Nov 16, 2010
Messages:
46,454
9,151
Trophy Points:
187
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
Toronto
Yes, it's working. It deters tanking. Any team that misses the playoffs can win it but you aren't guaranteed a top 2 pick just because you finished last.

If you draft well...you can get good players anywhere in the draft. Islanders got Barzal, Boston got McAvoy and Pastrnak, Detroit got Larkin...all great players, all after the top 10 picks in the draft.

bigtim1988, TonyDay, blankall and 3 others like this.
13. ### oXo CubeTermite

Joined:
Nov 4, 2008
Messages:
8,982
5,653
Trophy Points:
156
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
Yes.

I'm saying that non-Edmonton GMs throwing a hissy fit over a small sample statistical outlier of Edmonton wins was stupid and has made things worse for everyone.

14. ### HennessyBlank Space

Joined:
Dec 20, 2006
Messages:
12,206
2,560
Trophy Points:
235
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Occupation:
Marmot Hustler
Location:
On my keister
Taylor Hall is satisfied.

15. ### ibleedkingsMake LA Great Again!Sponsor

Joined:
Jul 19, 2004
Messages:
2,423
505
Trophy Points:
184
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
Santa Clarita
Three spots. Kings had a horrible year and could of really benefited from kakko or Hughes to help the rebuild.

16. ### Getz2nooneRegistered User

Joined:
Jul 25, 2012
Messages:
22,582
9,668
Trophy Points:
162
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
You guys suck at the lottery almost as bad as you do at hockey.

17. ### BramskiiDevils

Joined:
Jul 23, 2007
Messages:
20,285
1,258
Trophy Points:
169
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
Toronto
I'm sure if the Kings won the lottery, you'd have a different opinion...

In fact, the only people pissed about it are the ones who's teams fell back a few spots. This is how a lottery works people. Everyone was asking to have a system in place that wouldn't encourage tanking, and now that it's finally here, people want to revert back.

18. ### These Are The Days2019-2020 Stanley Cup Champions

Joined:
May 17, 2014
Messages:
25,328
10,010
Trophy Points:
156
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Occupation:
Wouldn't you like to know
Location:
Tampa Bay
No. The Senators and Kings are going to continue to decline and will get far worse over the next several years unless lady luck gives them a kiss come lottery day

19. ### ibleedkingsMake LA Great Again!Sponsor

Joined:
Jul 19, 2004
Messages:
2,423
505
Trophy Points:
184
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
Santa Clarita

I’m mean literally the worst case scenario happened last night to the kings. Straight bullshit

20. ### Rangers79Registered User

Joined:
Aug 10, 2012
Messages:
490
256
Trophy Points:
74
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Location:
New Jersey
Not that the Kings tanked intentionally, cause I don't think they did, but I'm fine with some teams who tank intentionally or are run like crap not getting rewarded for that. I mean I could be wrong about teams tanking intentionally but it certainly seems that way

21. ### FlowahRegistered User

Joined:
Nov 30, 2009
Messages:
10,249
538
Trophy Points:
169
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
You guys call it tanking. I call it rebuilding. Most of the time they look identical.
• What do you do when you rebuild? You stockpile picks and prospects.
• How do you do that? You trade players.
• What kind of players do other teams want? The good ones.
• What does that do to your team? It makes it suck more.
And honestly, who cares if Edmonton got all those 1sts. They still suck hardcore. What good is 1OA if you still suck?

I feel like they changed the system because it didn't seem "fair" that Edmonton got 1OA so many times, without considering that it didn't really help them that much. And they've had to trade away good players because you can't afford to keep all your 1OA players when it's time for them to get paid.

ek93, dukeofjive, CPTN71 and 4 others like this.
22. ### New Jerseytrenton makes, the world takes

Joined:
Sep 7, 2009
Messages:
23,774
2,891
Trophy Points:
186
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Occupation:
databases
Location:
soprano turf
23. ### ibleedkingsMake LA Great Again!Sponsor

Joined:
Jul 19, 2004
Messages:
2,423
505
Trophy Points:
184
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Gender:
Male
Location:
Santa Clarita

I’d be a lot happier that’s for sure.

24. ### Spilot23Registered User

Joined:
Dec 30, 2014
Messages:
2,862
2,044
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 50,000
Absolutely not. - Signed every Avs fans and Joe Sakic

iamjs, Nakunako, blinkman360 and 7 others like this.

Joined:
Mar 28, 2018
Messages:
1,347