March 4, 2018, 7:35 pm
This isn’t going to be an expansive thinkpiece on fixing the draft and tanking, but if it can help the greater good and Adam Silver wants to give me some BRI for my trouble who am I to stop progress.
So here’s the idea.
For the teams that are seeded 5-8 in each conference, they’re going to get slotted in at the start of the second round for that year’s draft.
So, the No. 8 seeds in each conference would get the No. 31 & 32 picks, the No. 7 seeds would get the No. 33 & 34 picks, the No. 6 seeds would get the No. 35 & 36 picks and the No. 5 seed would get the No. 37 & 38 picks.
After that, the worst team in the league would slot in with the No. 39 pick and so on in backwards order as it typically does to the No. 17 finishing team, who would get the No. 52 pick. After that, the top eight teams would finish up the second round.
Rationale from the napkin I wrote this plan on:
–Early second round picks have been coveted by aggressive teams because the contracts are team friendly. Also, there is still real value in this range and there is always at least one player that becomes an impact guy. Jordan Bell is that guy from this past year. The year before it was Malcolm Brogdon and it was Josh Richardson the year before that (or Richaun Holmes if you’re a basketball geek). DeAndre Jordan, Mark Price, Gilbert Arenas and Draymond Green are just a few guys who have been drafted in these slots. Not worthless!
–The current system gives 5-8 seeds one shot to improve in a range (15-23) that doesn’t typically produce needle movers. And as everybody knows, if you’re not first you’re last, or so the legend goes. Under this new system, a No. 8 seed moves from 45-46 to 31-32. The odds of getting what you want don’t go up astronomically, but two chances rather than one in the top-40 is a lot more breathing room for decision-makers.
–Most early second round picks are not going to be rotation players at the NBA level. So no, teams won’t try and tank out of the No. 4 seed to get an extra pick out of the No. 5 seed. Besides, an extra home game in the first round of the playoffs will keep most owners, coaches and GMs happy. For the bottom dwelling teams, this won’t change the trajectory of their rebuilds by any stretch.
–Ah yes, the bottom dwellers. They still get your crack at top-tier talent coming out of the draft but the calculus isn’t quite as strong if they’re looking at tanking as a multi-year strategy. Bubble playoff teams are now getting two bites at the apple in that top-40 range, while the tankers are only getting one realistic chance to bring back a rotation player. That pick will have all sorts of upside, but now the margin for error is getting thin and harder to sell to fans, decision-makers, etc.