The excellent staff of CBS Sports' Eye On Basketball blog put together a list of items the NBA should attend to while it's already working out this labor stoppage thing. One of Royce Young's suggestions is to kill the second round of the NBA Draft. (I know, a little part of you just died, right?)
Most second rounders don't make it anyway, but there are always five or six that are quality pickups for a team. Some get signed, some don't. And the ones that don't end up going to Europe or the D-League, sometimes because they're a small forward and were picked by the Heat. If the contracts aren't guaranteed anyway, what purpose does the second round really have other than it's decent TV?
Just decent? What second round are you watching? Three arguments for keeping the second round are below.
1. It's phenomenal TV.
The first round of the draft features nice moments most years -- Marcus Morris' seething was a real highlight this year, Brandon Jennings' erratic no-show to just-a-bit-late sequence in 2009 was fantastic. But the second round is full of this stuff! The Jon Diebler fans in Newark last month in the 2011 draft were amazing, and you can't do better than the teams at the back of the second round did this year, with the sequence of names that even well-traveled Adam Silver struggled with. (Complete with grainy YouTube highlight reels narrated by a very skeptical Fran Fraschilla.) The second is television gold. Killing it would be akin to killing Community.
2. It's an equalizer.
Teams so frequently trade second-round picks that the order never resembles that of the first round, in which worse teams get better picks. But it still serves as an equalizer of sorts: without it, the higher-revenue teams could outbid the others for top remaining prospects. This mostly affects top European prospects who slip out of the first due to contract issues or the like -- if they make themselves eligible for a draft and don't get picked, they become free agents. A player like Croatian wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, who went first in the second round to the New Jersey Nets, could end up a target of multiple teams, driving up his price. With the second round in place, there's just one suitor, and limited true negotiation spread. Without the second round, the rich could get richer.
3. The shady tactics would become overwhelming.
Reggie Jackson froze everyone out of the workout process this year because he had a promise with the Thunder at No. 24. No one much liked this, except I suppose Reggie Jackson, who didn't have to travel around the country trying to impress scouts and general managers. Now imagine if agents and teams worked out deals to go invisible in the draft workout season in order to slip out of the first round so that they could sign more lucrative contracts than are available in the 20s. Say the Lakers wanted Marshon Brooks, and told him to not work out for anyone, and if he slipped past the Bulls at No. 30, they'd give him a contract identical to that of the No. 20 pick. Imagine teams doing this for 10-15 players. Widespread hijinks!