To try and counteract the incentives in tanking the Association has been floating out skeleton concepts, to temperature test public perception. The most promising such idea is the fixed-wheel. On the fixed-wheel, every team will pick first exactly one time over a 30-year period. They will pick second, one time. They will pick third, one time, etc. This eliminates the ambiguity of lottery picks and forces teams to simply build the best squad they can.
It also royally screws injury-decimated teams (ask the Trailblazers) and other basement dwellers. I understand the league and its fans will have little sympathy for teams that consistently flub draft picks and free agent signings, but an entire fanbase should not be penalized for the actions of one general manager, or one front office. Yes, Philadelphia is abusing the living hell out of the system, but should the (insanely) loyal fans in that city be punished for Hinkie's actions?
So, if the wheel doesn't work, what does?
The answer is simple: Kentucky.
Kentucky is a state. It is famous for horse pastures and races. I think there are a number of whiskey and bourbon distilleries there (but I might be confused). It is the setting for FX's Justified. I am fairly certain that many of Kentucky's residents enjoy mint juleps on Sunday afternoons after church service has let out. The Appalachian Dulcimer is the state musical instrument (it looks like this).
It is also home to the Kentucky Wildcats, currently 34-0 and poised to embark on a journey through the NCAA tournament. The 'Cats are the heavy favorites to win the championship and become one of the historically great teams in NCAA history.
That run of dominance has prompted many, many people to ask a very dumb question: Could Kentucky beat the worst NBA team?
The answer is no. Regardless of Larry Brown's insane comments that Kentucky could make the playoffs in the eastern conference, NBA players are culled from the NCAA pack. Less than 2 percent of collegiate ball players go professional. Those that do make the cut are the literal best of the best. Brian Scalabrine "The White Mamba" is frequently derided as the worst NBA player. This is an article about him devouring normal people's worlds.
But who cares. We want to believe that the scrappy college kids could beat the spoiled, professional athletes. So give the nation what they want.
Force the worst NBA team to play the best NCAA team.
Make it an annual game. Give it a spiffy name like the First-and-Last Game or the Toyota Second Chance Bowl (might as well make money off it). The college kids would love it. It would basically be a gigantic scouting event for them. Plus, every point they score would be a slap in the face. Imagine some two-bit bench player from Tuscon managing to score a meaningless trash bucket. He'd get to carry that with him forever. He'd be the guy at his accounting firm who can't stop wearing his championship ring and saying shit like, "Remember when I back door cut on Jason Richardson? Cause it fucking happened."
Plus, it would be a searing indignity to whichever professional team had to play in the game. If they don't win by 75, their fanbase would revolt. And the off-chance that they lose...Jesus....that would be incredible.
Some years the game wouldn't be close. Kentucky won't always have a frontline composed of future First Team All Rookies. Some years Shabazz Napier will lead UConn to the title and subsequently get obliterated by the Lakers.
But imagine if Notre Dame won this year. Then Jerian Grant could play Jerami Grant and the results would be unimaginable fun. Or we could watch Nerlens Noel go up against Calipari and Willie Cauley-Stein. Tell me that's not a tantalizing prospect. Seriously, tell me. Because it seems pretty amazing to me.
Personally, I can't wait for the 2017 Toyota Holy Shit I Can't Believe This Is Happening Bowl.