Owners and union representatives had a closed-door meeting in L.A. this All-Star Weekend. "While there wasn't much negotiating during the meeting and very little progress was made," Alex Kennedy reported Saturday at HoopsWorld, the players proposed a complete overhaul of how the annual draft functions.
The NBPA suggested that non-playoff teams receive two picks in the first round with playoff teams receiving none -- that playoff teams get their two picks in the second round under a similar format at the first round for the lottery teams:
Rather than changing the salary structure to level the playing field for
small market teams, an alternative was proposed that would involve
making drastic changes to the draft process.
The union made the argument that the quickest way to turn around
"crummy" teams is through the draft. Because first-round picks have
become so valuable in today's NBA and many teams have had success
building a roster with this model, the union feels that the best way to
increase parity is to focus the draft around the underachieving teams.
The fourteen non-playoff teams that make up the lottery would not only
receive the first fourteen picks, but the next fourteen as well. The
team that wins the lottery would receive the first overall pick as well
as the fifteenth overall pick. The second team on the clock would also
own the sixteenth pick, the third picking team would also own the
seventeenth pick and so on.
Each team would receive two first-round selections so that the top
twenty-eight players go to the teams that are struggling and the playoff
teams that need the least help receive second-round talent. Those
playoff teams would follow the same structure in the second round with
two late picks each. The union is willing to lower the number to the
eight worst teams, but they feel this is a much better way for the
league to level the playing field.
First, it's great that the NBPA, under the leadership of Derek Fisher, isn't just being a 'party-of No.' They're bringing a pro-active contribution to the league to the table. Personally, I believe this is a great idea, but even if I didn't, the fact that they're brainstorming how to improve the level of competition across the league is great for fans.
Second, the suggestion is extremely interesting. More importantly, it doesn't isolate desirable destination players to the same ol' franchises and doesn't force higher risk on the part of teams with little personnel capital to acquire multiple picks in the first round.
Third, it's pretty refreshing that "issues such as contraction or implementing a franchise tag were not the focus of the meeting," as Kennedy reported. These are dialogue-stoppers and it's too early in their process with the collective bargaining agreement not expiring until June to waste a rare opportunity for early dialogue.
Fourth, I understand what I expect will be this largest criticism of this proposal. Bad teams in the seven- and eight-seeds of the lesser conference are usually much worse and trending worse than the nine- and ten-seeds in the stronger conference. But the better teams in the better conference will get two of the first 28 picks. The alternative suggestion of the bottom-eight teams receiving the first 16 picks might be more practical and serve meeting the objective of the proposal much better.
I just read all of this, so admittedly, this post is a knee-jerk reaction. I'm not married to my thoughts and feelings on this, so I'm highly open to criticism on this. No doubt, this is a very interesting idea.