While we all wait for basketball to come back, one aspect of the bargaining process that a lot of fans overlook is the potential for large, sweeping changes to NBA traditions as we know them. Just look at some of the proposed changes to the NBA Draft.
Former ESPN reporter Chris Sheridan has news on two proposed overhauls to the draft, both of which could reinvent the way the draft works. See what the future looks like after the jump.
First, there's craziest option, a solid nine Stephen Jacksons out of ten.
Under one proposal, the 15 teams with the worst records would continue to pick 1st through 15th, but then would also have the 16th through 30th picks. The teams with the top 15 records would have the first 15 picks of the second round, then would have the 44th through 60th picks, too. Under this proposal, the Chicago Bulls (whose 62-20 record was the league’s best last season) would have the 45th and 60th picks instead of the 30th and 30th picks. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the NBA’s worst record (17-65), would have their lottery pick and the 16th pick, but would no longer have the first pick of the second round — No. 31 overall.
So instead of getting just Kyrie Irving at no. 1 in 2011, the Cavs would've gotten Kawhi Leonard, too. Not exactly earth-shattering stuff, but a player like Leonard would mean a lot more to a team like the Cavs than, say, the Spurs, who traded for him as a role player.
This would present a couple problems, obviously. The first would be logistical. How will teams trade first round draft picks if there's a 50% that they'll make the playoffs and lose their first round draft pick?
Likewise, from a more abstract standpoint, if teams are fighting for 7th and 8th playoff spots, wouldn't it be smarter to miss the playoffs, get two first round picks, and try to crack the top five or six seeds the following season? That's why the second model makes more sense.
Again from Chris Sheridan's new website, Sheridan Hoops:
Under another proposal, the teams with the eight worst records would get an additional first round pick, beginning with selection No. 22, and the teams with the eight best records would have no first-round picks but would select at the top of the second round (picks 31 through 38), then also would get the final eight picks of the second round.
Yeah, see, that could actually work. Right? You could even limit it to the worst five records. Because only the truly terrible teams deserve NBA welfare, but if it distributed in an intelligent way, this could go a long way toward promoting the "competitive balance" David Stern keeps talking so much about. Which, of course, is why the players association is promoting it.
Rather than taking massive paycuts to help prop up small market teams, this would infuse their rosters with extra talent, and ensure that the worst teams in the league have a chance to bounce back year-to-year, getting fans excited (and selling tickets), and making more money.
Isn't that what the NBA wants? So... Why couldn't this work?