Today we are going to play David Stern. Well we will actually play the role of Commissioner of the NBA, not a condensing know it all who happens to run the Hornets. We are going to take a look at some of the problems in the NBA and try to fix them. Not by ignoring them, but by trying to actually solve the issues and not focus on how players dress. Take notes David.
Contraction is okay. It is more than okay, it is a necessary evil. Have you ever seen the commercials about college athletes. You know the ones telling you 99% of them go pro in something other than sports? Well there is a reason for that. Being a professional athlete is a hard thing to attain. However, a pro athlete who contributes to their team is even harder.
There really is only 3 major pro team sports in America now, the NBA, MLB, and NFL. Outside maybe the NFL the other 2 have the same problem. The quality of play and depth in their respective leagues. I am not going to argue the fact that the worst player in the NBA is not a fantastic basketball player. But chances are, he is either there to be developed(AKA never amounting to anything) or to fill up the roster. But with 30 current teams in the NBA and 15 players a roster, are you telling me there are 450 players in the league who actually contribute to the league.
The competitiveness of the league also gets hurt by having watered down talent. You usually have 4-6 teams that start the year with everyone knowing they don’t have the talent or the resources to compete with other teams. Combining the fact that you have players coming out of college early (under evaluated) eating up roster spots, you also have 7 foot blobs just hanging out on the bench.
Cut 4 teams. That is 60 fewer players watering down the league. It also makes the brand of basketball more entertaining to watch. The teams in general will be better and the rosters deeper. People might watch more regular season basketball as well.
Keep the kids in school. It was just March Madness time. Everyone was filling out their brackets. College hoops was the talk of national media. All was well for college basketball, as of this moment. But when college basketball kicks off in the early winter stages nobody really notices. Even die-hard fans don’t really know who is on their roster, never the less who is going to be a lottery pick.
At the same time, the National Basketball Association has their own issues. Mainly with their draft. It has become more of a gamble. Even with a top 15 pick, heck a top 3 pick, you have almost no idea what you are getting. You are likely drafting a guy with one year of college under his belts, so you have little to go off of in as far as scouting the player.
There is a fix to this, for both parties. Make kids stay in school. Not for degrees, but for the betterment of both leagues. To do so, the NBA holds all the cards. In reality, they would be doing this for themselves, not the NCAA. Indirectly however, it would have a lasting and strong impact on college hoops.
First off, the NBA would have to get the NBAPA to agree to such a thing. Keeping kids in school. Player reps want their guys to come in the league as soon as possible, to make the most money. Which makes sense. The NBA would have to give them something, a bonus to agree of some sorts.
What I am suggesting is that you have 2 options coming out of High School. You can either go directly to the pros, do not pass go, do collect millions of dollars. Or you have to go to college and play 3 years of amatuer hoops. You would think the NBAPA would be totally against it. Not if you offer something, something both can agree on.
Since some, if not most, of the players coming out of High School will have to go to college for 3 years, it means more scouting time for General Managers. A less risk and more reward in the draft. It would not be as much of a gamble, while you will also get a player ready to play right away. To appease the NBAPA, offer the players more money in the rookie contracts. That would be your “bonus” to the NBAPA. Give us more time to scout and we will give you more cash money in your rookie contracts. In theory, to make up for the loss of 2 years of your pro career. That would be the logistics of it. Now comes how it would benefit both parties. And it would do so for both in a major way.
For college hoops it would do a bunch of good things for the game. The national audience would actually know the players on the teams. Instead of finding out which freshman is a beast in February, you will already know going into the season the countries best players. It would also add REAL parody to the sport. 5 star recruits are not going to sit behind 5 star recruits waiting to play. It means they will play elsewhere. Another school, whether it be a mid major or a low quality program at a power conference.
It also means just plain old better basketball. The coaches will have more time to develop the talent they have. The players themselves will be playing with each other longer, so the chemistry will be there. No longer will just the best athletes be dominate. But the best teams, with the best depth, talent, and actually skill will win out.
For the NBA well its a no brainer. You get actual developed talent. Not a promising young stud who you are banking potential on. Not only will you have a better idea what you are getting. You will also get a guy who is ready to contribute soon as he gets into the league. An actual draft pick making an immediate impact, what a thing!
It also makes the players more marketable. In college, soon as we know who is good, they go pro. Sometimes not to be seen for a few years, until after he developed. But now, the nation will already know said player, meaning your draft will actually mean something. Which draws interest.
More importantly then all of that, is the fact now you too have a better brand of basketball. You can kick off your bench that wasted developmental talent eating up a deserving guys spot. Those back up point guards who turn the ball over too much, likely gone. It could also mean the return of the big man. It has been said that it takes big guys longer to develop. Well let them, in college. It will build their confidence, so when they reach the pros they will no longer look like a deer in headlights.
The NBA also needs to build a better relationship with the NCAA. Not because they care, but because it would help there product. It is good from a image standpoint. It works for the most popular sport in the country, the NFL, so give it a try.
It is not a 18 year old’s right to play in the NBA. It is a private business. Business would be best served if your players were more prepared, marketable, and mature. Even if it’s not your intent, which it won’t be, you will also be helping the world of college hoops. Which means better basketball overall. A win win for everyone. Players won’t like it, some of the owners won’t like it, but the nation will love it. And the nation is what drives your ratings, which gives you money. And you like money NBA, so go get some!
We are going to try to explain yet another way the NBA can make their draft and more importantly the league more interesting. Earlier we have talked about ways we could help the NBA. Such as keeping kids in school longer, making the drafting process less of a gamble.
Well, there is a bigger gamble then drafting a freshman from college. It is drafting a foreign player who has yet to play at the highest levels. Sure General Managers got tape of them playing in international games. Guess what? Most of the guys they played against are not playing in the NBA. So a Foreign Round ONLY.
For years it has seemed the cool trend is to draft foreign players, even sometimes relatively high. Despite the fact you, more than likely, never saw the kid play in person. Fran Fraschilla seems to be the only guy stationed anywhere overseas to scout these guys. No disrespect to the former college hoops coach, but he has not been overly accurate either.
The NBA still insists that most of its teams are hemorrhaging money. That is not good if true, I don’t like to hemorrhage from anywhere, especially my pocketbook. Despite that, they still invest money and resources into foreign-born players for the potential they will even make it to the states. There are plenty of players from all around the world who are good enough to be in the NBA, except the league is going about it all wrong.
Currently there are 2 rounds in the NBA draft. Seems like only a handful of players actually make the league. Even less make an impact there first year out, if ever. Why not separate the draft? First round college, 2nd round foreign-born.
If you already adopted the Joe Nardone “Keep Kids In School 3 Years” policy, the draft will be deep enough for a 1 round college only draft. Saving the 2nd round for just foreign-born players. Keeping the risk level of drafting an overseas prospect less of a potential franchise crippling move and more of a double up and see.
Double up, you ask? Well sure. If you’re drafting first overall, it is because your team stinks. Your going to get the first pick in the 2nd round as well. Which means you actually have the potential to turn your team around in one draft. Say it is a year the number 1 overall is some can’t miss kid out of college. That is NBA fantastic, how about if in that same year there is a foreign-born player who would in any other year be the 2nd or 3rd overall pick? BINGO! Jackpot for you New Orleans David Stern’s.
It also, as usual, keeps the NBA owners from hurting themselves. This is a practice that needs to happen more. Those owners are more dangerous to themselves than a drug addict in a meth lab. They, along with their scouts and General Managers have a tendency to over think prospects. Or look for the next so and so. Let them, just protect them by not letting them chase after the next Dirk and landing Yi Jianlian with their first round pick.
The only tricky thing would be how you would pay and lock up said foreign-born player. Despite it being the “2nd” round, the players are likely more valuable than the collegiate 2nd round players. Some of the finest overseas guys do not even want to come play over here, some can actually make more money with the club they are on now. Or worse, the team owns their rights for several years.
Did you know international basketball has this thing called FIBA. It regulates basketball moves world-wide. You actually have to get their approval, and the teams if they still have the rights, to acquire the potential fantastic foreign player. So a way to get around (when I mean get around, I simply mean not making NBA owners shell out big bucks for the rights to a player) is to have just 3 year “Right to Player” contracts.
If the player does not want to play in America, he does not. But if he simply does not want to play for you(David Kahn) you still own his rights for 3 years. You can trade them, dance on them, whatever you please. The player could either stay overseas for 3 years, continue to play for their team, then re-enter the draft, or negotiate a deal with the team who drafted them.
FIBA already plays a small role in this. If I were David Stern, I would try to make their role as small as possible by self-regulating. The more power the NBA has, the better chances of successfully luring overseas guys over. It will also create a better working relationship with the teams overseas. Working directly with them, not through FIBA, will be a good move. It is not the NBA’s concern on how FIBA is doing, it is the NBA’s job to worry about how they are doing.
I had to talk myself into this idea. It is something really outside of the box. There are plenty of men and women in the NBA offices smarter than me. I am sure they could put twists and turns to make this work even better and more smoothly than me. David Stern of all people must agree with me. Saving owners from themselves is priority number 1. Priority 2? David Stern.
Joseph Nardone is a Writer/Blogger for Sir Charles In Charge. You can follow him on the twitter machine@JosephNardone