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September 07, 2011

Changes coming to the NBA draft?

Really interesting stuff from Chris Sheridan (who's now out on his own, rather than working for espn.com) concerning possible changes in the NBA draft that could be incorporated into the next collective bargaining agreement:


Some reaction:

I'm less interested in the idea of adding a third round than I am with various proposals to give the league's worst teams extra first-round picks. One such proposal would let the teams with the 15 worst records pick twice in the first 30 picks. A more conservative proposal would allow the very worst teams to pick at the top and the bottom of the top 30.

I think the idea of granting bad teams extra picks is innovative, and I suspect you'd hear less complaining from the elite teams than you might suspect. Not saying there'd be no push-back, but elite teams see picks in the 20s as a mixed bless. That's all about payroll management.

If you're the Lakers or the Celtics, you're at least as concerned with payroll management (as in how much luxury tax must you pay?) as you are with adding a rookie with a guaranteed contract. Teams like the Lakers and Celtics would probably rather add a veteran at the minimum than a comparably-priced rookie.

That's partially the reason many teams use late first-round picks on International players. It's a strategy called draft-and-stash, where a foreign team pays their salaries while those players develop.

As to the third round, I'm not sure it serves much purpose. Generally by the 60th pick, NBA teams think they've harvested the vast majority of NBA-quality players. If you're outside the top 60, you should get the chance to sign with any team, looking for your best fit.




Posted by Observer Sports on September 7, 2011 at 02:45 PM | Permalink


Rick, what are you doing working? There's no need to come in and work. Take the year off! That's why I told the players to start finding work in other countries. I am NOT going to settle for anything David Stern and the Owners throw out there.
See, the difference is that with the NFL, they only play in the US of A. Not so in Basketball. My players, and I do mean MY PLAYERS, can make a living in many different countries and earn millions of dollars. The Owners are the ones who are going to lose out on this.
No TV revenue, No corporate Suites, no fannies in the seats, no marketing or advertising...all while MY PLAYERS are making money all over the Globe. My Players aren't sitting home and worried about how they're going to feed their family. They're getting together and treating this time like it's an extended summer vacation.

Rick, if you ever see MJ, tell him he should have stayed on the side of the players...because it's going to cost him more money on the side he's on now than what Juanita or Vegas ever cost the man.

Posted by: Billy Hunter | Sep 7, 2011 5:11:15 PM


Thanks for the post. Fairly major development and generally sticking to the "social progressive" line favored by American sports Leagues.
Interesting that the world's most popular league, the EPL, goes against the "social progressive" politics favored by the region and pits teams in an uber-Darwinian struggle to the death every season. Premier League teams which perform poorly are relegated to the lower levels of play -- denying them a great deal of the financial profits of playing in the EPL. Sort of a "Win or Die" mentality.
It seems Stern wants to re-create the NFL's parity model and that's a very good thing for Charlotte sports fans used to sub-average squads.

Posted by: ASChin | Sep 7, 2011 8:33:59 PM

i think it's clear they need to change the rules of the draft when so many teams are intentionally spending the pick on foreign players who have 10 year contracts and no opt out in europe and when there are top 15 college players going undrafted. there have been so many undrafted guys starting in the league over the past few years, they should be doing something about this but i don't know if it's THAT necessary.

what is necessary though, is the development of the d-league as farm teams so that teams can spend a 3rd round draft pick on a guy SPECIFICALLY for their d-league team and have first rights on the guy for say a 3 year window or something. they could allow those guys to play overseas under that assumption, and they could say that if another team wanted to sign the d-leaguer that the team holding it's rights be compensated with a 2nd round pick or something of that nature. something similar to how the nfl does compensatory picks for free agents lost.

i don't like the idea of winning teams giving away their 1st rounders and stacking the deck entirely on the lottery teams, i think the current format is more than fair. any team consistently at the bottom of the league is poorly managed, not because it is impossible to win. every year there's 3 or 4 unexpected playoff teams. in football you can mismanage a roster and still win if you have a great QB or great luck or great coach. in the nba you have to have a great roster top to bottom to win championships. when was the last time you saw a championship team that lacked depth or had 1 guy and a bunch of scrubs. and i'm not talking about role players. scrubs. hasn't been one.

Posted by: charlottean | Sep 8, 2011 7:24:40 PM

Really interesting ideas.
I didn't like the extreme version of it (that leaves no 1st round picks for the top 15 teams), but the more moderate version - a second 1st round draft pick for the bottom eight teams in order to improve their chances, with the top eight teams picking first in the second round - makes sense.
I think Rick is right; the greatest franchises may not care much about losing picks 23 to 30, and being compensated with 31 through 37 (which are not guaranteed, and thus give them more payroll flexibility).

I also agree with Rick, that a 3rd round is not needed. Not because of lack of talent beyond the 60th pick (and here, I agree with Charlottean). But, talented players who go undrafted usually need at least one, or a few more, seasons to develop either overseas (the better way) or in the D-League. IF they get an NBA contract after the Draft (3rd round), most likely they'd dry up on the bench, and drop out of the league within one or two years. I see no need to tie them (through the Draft) to a team that can't really use them. The best of them will either make it into the NBA through free agency, or will keep developing as players, and have some very nice careers, abroad.

Posted by: Sandy | Sep 11, 2011 9:40:00 PM

What would be the order in which the worst eight teams would get the second of their first round picks? It should probably be reversing the order of their first picks; i.e., if you get luckier than other bottom teams with your lottery pick, you should at least let them have a better pick at the end of the first round!

The dark side of these new ideas is that it creates a new incentive, for teams who lost their playoffs chances, to lose as much as possible in the final part of the season, so they'll be in the bottom eight and get another first round pick. Even now, lower teams are sometimes suspected of tanking the late part of the season, in order to improve their chances in the lottery.
This new idea gives an additional incentive for playing to lose. This is rotten, and it should be prevented.

Here is my idea for taking away the incentives to tank the late part of the season. For the top 14 picks, the non-playoff teams should enter a simple - equal chances, not weighted - lottery. Then, those who fared worse in the lottery will get their second 1st round picks in reverse order of their lottery picks. Fair enough, and no incentive to be the worst among the lowest anymore.

Posted by: Sandy | Sep 11, 2011 10:00:57 PM

The people who will be hurt by the lockout will be the ticket takers, the ushers, the popcorn sellars. The regular people who are working a second job to pay for their kids college - or maybe some medical bills - are the ones who will be hurt the most.

Posted by: Courtside | Sep 13, 2011 9:15:21 AM

All I would change about the draft is dump the lottery. If you finish last then you get the first pick. There is nothing worse than seeing a team that just missed the playoffs move up into the top five picks based on pure luck. The lottery is just something the NBA can hype up and make the draft less fair. Dump the lottery...

Posted by: Dominator | Oct 7, 2011 3:46:59 PM

Also - the NBA owners don't mind missing games. Think about it - they don't have to pay all those overpaid players for those games and most of them were losing money anyway. Maybe they have to pay the arenas some money but that is way less than they were losing every game. Think about it - they were LOSING MONEY... How can it hurt them not to have games????

Posted by: Dominator | Oct 7, 2011 3:49:51 PM

And another thing..... Maybe the NBA is required to hire players in the NBA Players union - i am not sure - but at this point i would be looking to bring in non-union players if possible. There are lots of guys out there who would love to try out for the NBA. Sure - they would all get fired once the union came around but it would be so cool for so many of those guys and even though the play would be much lower it would still be fun. The NBA could lower the ticket prices and just have some fun - and there would be some good players in the mix.

Posted by: Dominator | Oct 7, 2011 3:56:16 PM

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