Do what the English do, David Stern. I'm not the only one that agrees.
by Radio Joe,posted Apr 26 2013 1:02PM
Wow, it’s about time a prominent writer addresses an issue I’ve been stressing for the last year!
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s be honest. The NBA system sucks. How can anybody, especially in this city, believe that the Milwaukee Bucks are treated fairly by David Stern and company? A simple luxury tax is a slap in the face to the big shot organizations in the biggest cities. There needs to be a level playing field, and while David Stern can run his mouth all day that the NBA is fair, the fact of the matter is…it isn’t.
Author Howard Bryant wrote a recent column in ESPN The Magazine about the flaws of the NBA system, and why the two-month long NBA playoffs are the biggest joke in sports. He believes that Stern needs to take a page out of the English Premier League. I wrote a blog several months ago about college football revamping its system through the European soccer format.
Bryant writes that the 30-team NBA could be split into a Championship League (the lower league) and a Premier League (the top league). While he doesn’t say how many teams would go into each league, personally, I wouldn’t split it in half. I’d say at least 12-14 teams would qualify in the Premier League, that is, the best of the best – Heat, Spurs, Clippers, Lakers, etc. While the other 16-18 teams play in the Championship League – Bucks, Wizards, Pistons, Cavs, etc. Based on how the English soccer system works, no team in the Premier League is scheduled to play a team from the Championship league during the regular season. However, in England, teams from the two leagues may clash in other national tournaments, or cups, during that season: The Capital One Cup and The English FA Cup.
Before going further, just so I don’t confuse people, let’s change the lower-league “Championship League” name to the NBA Futures League. Much better.
Now, if you’re a franchise like the Milwaukee Bucks, your goal for the season, if placed in the Futures League, is to either win the league by season’s end or finish in the top three of the league. If the Bucks pull off one of those two scenarios, then next season, they will be promoted to the NBA Premier League. Let’s say during that next season the Bucks struggle and finish in the bottom three of the standings in the Premier League, then the Bucks would be relegated back to the Futures League. Theoretically, if the Heat had a horrible season in the Premier League and finished in the bottom three, LeBron and his boys would be playing with the leftovers of the NBA next season. SportsCenter would be all over that!
Bryant goes on to say that only the teams in the Premier League would have the opportunity to compete for an NBA Championship. Bryant writes, “The length of the season could remain the same, but only the upper-division teams would be eligible to compete for an NBA Championship. Suddenly, every game would mean something.” It sure would, Howard. Once again, Bryant does not go into depth on how a playoff system, if any, would fit into achieving an NBA Title. Here’s what I suggest…
By the end of the season, the top eight teams in the NBA Premier League would clinch a playoff berth. The first and second rounds would be three-game series with the higher seed getting home-court advantage. The final round would become a five game series. I’m OK with a longer series for the NBA Trophy, but I’ve always loathed that anything more than five games is too excessive for any fan. (Only exception – The World Series). First team to three wins gets the NBA Trophy.
Bryant and I both agree that these seven game playoff series (particularly the first round) are unnecessary and a big waste of time. No playoff system should last two-months long. In fact, Bryant worked the numbers and said that the NBA Playoffs is 20% of the length of an NBA regular season!
Now, Bryant does say that the 82-game regular season would remain the same for both leagues. You could leave it that way, but in my opinion, I would scale that back. If there’s a maximum of 14 teams in the NBA Premier League, every team should play each other four times. That’s 13 opponents multiple by four meetings, which equals 52 regular season games. That number would be slightly greater in the NBA Futures league, though, since the other 16 teams would play down there. (If my math serves me correctly, that’s 60 regular season games). Now, if you split the leagues in half 15-15, both leagues would total 56 regular season games. I understand the NBA could lose significant revenue if you reduce the number of regular season games, so yes, there is one disadvantage there. However, if it’s a popular season, attendance would surely rise.
This is also assuming that the NBA eliminates eastern and western conferences and regional divisions within those conferences. Bryant encourages this idea of eliminating both in order to make it more exciting. I agree as well.
However, there’s one area that Howard Bryant does not mention - How would the NBA work?
This is what I propose – only the teams playing in the NBA Futures League are eligible for the draft. That’s right! Teams like the Heat, Clippers, Spurs, etc, are not allowed to participate in the NBA Draft because they are settled in the Premier League. This gives teams in the lower-level league an advantage to improve their team and level the playing field, so their chances of getting to the Premier League increase for next season. There would be a lottery style draft like before, with the worse records getting better odds of landing the number one pick. Instead of two rounds, there would be three. Teams in the lower-level can restock with younger talent, since it’s nearly impossible to land a superstar free agent during the offseason.
And since we know the majority of the teams in the Premier League will go over the salary cap anyway, they can improve their team through free agent signings or trades during the offseason. If a team from the Premier League wants to venture into the draft, they can do it via trade. A team from the Premier League can trade a player for a draft pick with a team from the Futures League. In addition, during the regular season, with a mandated trade deadline, teams from both leagues can make trades with anybody. The Heat in the Premier League, for example, could make a trade with the Bucks of the Futures League.
Once the draft has closed, undrafted free agents can now sign with any team, including those franchises apart of the Premier League (sorry, guys, you get the crumbs).
One question you might be asking yourself, though, is what about the relegated and promoted teams? Who gets in the draft and who doesn’t? Simple. Teams promoted from the NBA Futures League to the NBA Premier League going into next season miss out on the upcoming draft. However, teams relegated from the Premier League down to the Futures League get thrown into the lottery. Although you’ve been kicked out, your franchise has the luxury to rebuild your team through the draft.
Do I make myself clear?
If you can find a loophole in this proposed system from either myself or from Howard Bryant, I’d like to hear it. Bryant has a serious point. And so do I. The question is, do you? Is the NBA fair? Do you like the system David Stern has in place? Do you like the two-month long playoffs, especially when you know the Milwaukee Bucks don’t stand a snowball’s chance?
Do what the English do, David Stern. I'm not the only one that agrees.
Please Enter Your Comments Below
Why would anyone watch?
Soccer in Europe is like football in the United States everyone watches and plays it. The NBA is far from as popular therefore why would people want to pay for tickets to teams in the futures league when there is no chance of a championship. You would also have to renegotiate all salaries if you would shorten the season. I agree that the NBA has too long of a playoff season and my solution would be to move the NBA to Europe.
In response to why anyone would watch...
" The NBA is far from as popular therefore why would people want to pay for tickets to teams in the futures league when there is no chance of a championship."
You are suggesting that people went to Bucks games this year because they thought the team was on the verge of winning a championship.
You're overlooking the fact that the loss of games, especially playoff games, will not reflect positively on the bottom line.
Did they go?
Did people go to Bucks games this year? I did not say that they were on the verge of a championship but from game one of the season until they are eliminated they technically have a chance to. I am trying to figure why anyone would go to NBA games anyhow and would just like it moved to Europe. The NBA will never be fair.
Been a life long Buck fan. I will not watch another game. Why have refs? Superstars get all the calls. The queen Lebron talked his way out of a tech! Really! NBA refs need to be like MLB officials you talk trash to me your gone! I have never seen more 6' 8 240lbs men fall to the ground so easily and often! I hate Stern and the superstar call.
This article is SO DISRESPECTFUL to the game of basketball. Nobody who loves the game of basketball would propose shortening the season (I HATE baseball and I know that season should be 154 games at most). I LOVE the two months of playoffs (which, incidentally, are two months long because of television scheduling and television is the golden goose that pays the rent). I am depressed when the pro basketball season ends because then there is nothing left to watch but baseball until football starts up again in August. I will agree that the early rounds of the playoffs should return to 3 game series but the commissioner and the owners live in fear of a repeat of eight seed Denver beating one seed Seattle. In fact, everything that is actually wrong with basketball is the fault of the owners. The salary cap is in place to protect profligate owners. Owners should be allowed to spend as much as they like until they bankrupt themselves ala Cleveland's Ted Stepien. Franchises would rise and fall and new blood would constantly come into the league. Further, being a fan of a "futures" team, being fed a constant diet of Detroit, New Orleans and Orlando would SUCK! Who would buy a season ticket package to that?
The NBA is FANtastic! (And baseball and soccer still suck).
The Best way to fix the NBA...
Get rid of the draft lottery, you draft in the order of your record from bottom to top.
But if your on the topic of promotion how about we throw the D-League teams into the promotion mix as well, they win they move up into the futures league and the futures team gets relegated if they are in the bottom. You could still have a playoff system. The English Championship only the top two are automatic promotions spots 3 through 6 have to have a playoff to get promoted to the Premier League. You could also break it down to first half winner vs second half winner, or at the half way point of the season only the top half teams are eligible to be promoted and the bottom half teams are S.O.L.