MMM: The Draft, Priority picks and Draft Lotto

Hi all,

Here is my Molly’s Mondays Machinations as appears on www.footytalk.com.au. Can’t wait to here
what the boys have to say on this issue:

Many people are speculating about teams Throwing games, laying down or
picking sides deliberately to get a Priority Pick in the draft. Well, any one
saying that just need to look at two of the results in the last round to see
that this doesn’t seem to be the case. The two teams most likely to get a PP
were the Hawks and the Blues yet both sides won on the weekend and have really
fought hard over past weeks. And as a fan of one of these sides (the Mighty
Hawks) I definitely don’t want to see that.

Yes I want to see the kids played but not to lose the games. I want to see
the young kids improve. Nothing better then seeing Buddy (Franklin) take on a
few guys with his pace.

But what about the PP, should they be removed, reworked? Evidence to me,
shows that they shouldn’t. In the last few years, teams that get these picks and
use them as intended (to stock a few young players in a hurry) and move up the
ladder for the ultimate result of having 16 different premiers in 16 years.
There is an argument to have the calculation work over multiple years but is
this needed? St Kilda was the last team to spend extended time in the PP zone
and they were only there for 2 odd years (in which one of their picks was
injured) and then got the first pick by luck (due to the Blues stupidity (sorry
Disco, there’s no other way to put it)). And who wants to live the year as the
wooden spooners to get a PP. This year there is a chance (if the three bottom
teams find a win each, which Blues and hawks have a good chance to beat Bombers
and Richmond and Collingwood (has to be favorite for the Spoon) would need to
beat the bullies).

The other argument, that we are rewarding teams for losing (silly way to look
at it) and we should have a Lottery system (like the NBA). From my impression of
the NBA’s system, it isn’t a good idea. In the NBA, all teams that don’t make
the Playoffs (read Finals) get ping pong balls in the lotto. The lower you
finish the more balls you get. Only the first three spots are up for grabs. So
the worst the worst team could pick is 4. But the real problem is that it is
possible for a team that misses the finals by a small margin to get the 1st
pick.

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Lets look at this within the AFL. In 2002 the hawks won 12 matches and missed
out on the finals. The same year the Saints won 11 matches and finished 10th. In
a Draft lotto, it is possible (unlikely) that they would but possible, that they
could pick one and two. This hasn’t (to my knowledge) happened but teams that
just missed out in the NBA have got the 1st pick. The Orlando Magic got 1st pick
two years in a row (Shaq and then Penny Hardaway) and then got to the Grand
Finals in the next 2 years. San Antino Spurs dropped out of the playoffs after
being very close to the finals because their superstar was injured and picked up
Tim Ducan and have since won 2 to 3 Championships since then. In this time, the
LA clippers have stayed close to the bottom of the table and only once had the
top pick. The lotto doesn’t work.

Where it would work for the AFL is in the Preseason Draft (i.e. Veterans
draft). This would stop the bottom team just getting the best player without
having to give anything to the team he is coming from. There have been years
where this has happened (some would argue that St Kilda got a lot of success
from this) and the teams have given players up for nothing (3rd, 4th round picks
to get something for them). It would be better if there was a lotto so that
teams wouldn’t rely that the player they want would be available in the
Preseason draft.

Any way, Just some thoughts.

Molly

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