SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) -The NBA may consider examining its draft lottery system after speculation some teams weren't trying their best to win late in the season, with the hope of improving their chances of getting the top pick.
NBA commissioner David Stern, speaking Tuesday before the lottery was held, also defended the league's mandatory suspension policy for players leaving the bench during an altercation. The rule helped the San Antonio Spurs oust the Phoenix Suns after Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were suspended for Game 5.
Stern would like the owners to talk about the current weighted lottery, which gives teams with the worst records the best chance of selecting No. 1. He said he likes the system but wasn't happy with the way some teams played down the stretch.
``I haven't spoken to a lot of owners,'' Stern said. ``On the end of the season and what teams do competitively, I think we should look at the lottery system and see whether it can be improved. I believe that.''
Boston, which had the second-best chance of winning the lottery, rested some starters for the fourth quarter of a game and blew a lead.
Philadelphia 76ers chairman Ed Snider believes each of the 14 teams in the lottery should get one ball instead of the team with the worst record having the greatest chance of winning.
Stern doesn't like that idea.
``You could have a 45-win team in a particular year be in the lottery and get the first pick,'' he said. ``I'm not sure that's what drafts were meant to achieve. But if the tide has turned on this or if opinion has switched, we'll let the owners talk about it.''
The suspension policy was put under a microscope last week when Stoudemire and Diaw were suspended for leaving the bench after Robert Horry committed a flagrant foul against two-time MVP Steve Nash of the Suns.
Neither player got into a scuffle, but they were forced to miss Game 5. The Spurs won to take a 3-2 in the series and closed out Phoenix the next game.
``I've been commissioner for 25 years almost,'' Stern said. ``...You enforce the rules as you see them. And one of reasons the rule is in effect is that we guard zealously the court. We want our fans to be able to have the best seat in sports and we want them to feel safe.''
Stern said that the intent of the rule is to make sure the players stay on the bench and things don't escalate. He added that there was no doubt that Stoudemire and Diaw were both 20 feet away from the bench in Game 4 after the incident.
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