Chris Sheridan, the former ESPN basketball guy now off on his own, has come up with a couple of NBA Lockout gems. Yesterday, it was an optimistic piece predicting a resolution in time to save the season.
Today, it's a piece on an inexplicable aspect of the negotiations: A redesign of the NBA draft.
Here are the 3 key points:
– The NBA wants a 3rd round in the draft.
– One counter proposal suggests the 15 worst teams get all 30 first round picks (they'd pick 1-15 and then 16-30) followed by the 15 best teams owning all the second round picks.
– A second counter would give the 8 worst teams extra first rounders while the 8 best teams would have no first rounders.
I have no clue why a 3rd round is even a proposal, unless it goes hand-in-hand with an expansion of the D-League and rules regarding D-League assignments. If you're going to create a system where more players are being brought into teams, then you have to give teams somewhere to put them. Otherwise, what's the point of bringing more players in just to cut them?
The counter proposals seem to be aimed at some sort of competitive balance. I already tackled this on Crossover Chronicles:
I'm not 100% sure owners would be into that scenario. What happens to first round picks that are traded? How can you make a deal for Player A and two first round picks in exchange for Player B when those two first round picks might not exist? That takes a valuable chip out of the hands of good teams who are looking to make smart moves to stay good.
Don't reward being crappy with extra first round picks. You're just going to create a scenario where a team is teetering on the edge of that 15th worst record and then tanking to get two picks in the upcoming draft, especially if it's a strong one. That'll turn a middle of the road team into a better team more quickly, but its encouraging the tanking to get there. And what happens when you have a sub-.500 team that squeaks into the playoffs but manages to still get one of the 15 worst records? Now you're giving a playoff team two first round picks too?
I get the desire for parity. But this just forces the issue unnecessarily. If you want to take some of the advantages big market teams have away to even things out, then hit the salary cap structure and luxury tax system. THAT is where the big/small market disparity lies.
The draft is a place for GM's to prove their worth. It's a place where the smart succeed and the idiots are exposed. Rewarding the idiots like David Kahn or Isiah Thomas… two of the most egregious recent examples of bad drafting, is…well… idiotic. And making first round picks worthless in trades takes away a valuable tool when it comes to make a trade. Struggling teams looking to rebuild and trade a good player away won't be able to stockpile picks and clear salary in an effort to get better.
A good GM can use that approach and make it work. Look at Sam Presti in OKC. He dismantled a team, stockpiled picks from other teams, and flipped those picks for other players while using some to build his team in the draft. Presti has made a number trades involving first and second round picks with teams that, under the counter proposals, would not have those picks to trade.
The counter proposals just don't make sense. Add as many rounds to the draft as you want, even change the lottery system to guarantee the three worst teams the top three spots, but don't radically alter a system that simply could use a minor tweak. Don't take a valuable tool way from good GM's. A good GM can work in any market. Don't punish them.