Good question. And the answer is ... nobody but David Stern really knows, and for obvious reasons, he's not talking about that right now.
One option that's been discussed by a lot of people is simply using the same lottery odds from the 2011 draft -- an idea which seems a bit crazy to me, not to mention the half of the league that didn't have a lottery ball this past season. TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz examines another possibility -- one that was actually used by the NHL when they were in this same situation several years ago:
Each of the 30 teams was rewarded three lottery "balls" to start the process, but lost one for each playoff appearance over the previous three seasons and for each time it had selected No. 1 overall in the previous four entry drafts. To make things interesting, the NHL guaranteed every team at least one ball, which means that elite teams that had qualified for every Stanley Cup playoff over the past several springs still had a shot for the No. 1 pick.
And rather than stopping after the selection of the first lottery ball and slotting the remaining 29 teams in order of record/results, the NHL ordered the entire draft based on lottery selection. After Pittsburgh's ball was selected No. 1 (guaranteeing the Penguins a shot at signing Sidney Crosby), Anaheim, Carolina, Minnesota and Montreal followed -- even though none of the four was a "3-ball" team.
If the 2011-12 NBA season were cancelled and the league opted for these criteria -- playoff appearances over the previous three seasons and No. 1 overall picks over the past four drafts -- here's how the 2012 draft lottery would be weighted:
3 balls: Golden State, Minnesota, New Jersey, Sacramento, Toronto
2 balls: Charlotte, Detroit, Houston, Indiana, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, Washington
1 ball: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, Utah
I like it. Then again, I'm a bit of an anarchist when it comes to bucking tradition in favor of innovation. What do you think?
P.S. DBB has been stuck in the lockout doldrums the last couple of weeks, but we have some exciting news to share very soon. Stay tuned!