For a long time, the NBA has been the greatest basketball league in the world. They have the most talented players, the best shooters and the most innovative systems of recovery. Of course, Americans like to be entertained so the game has become a show, losing its romantic side. Actually, this is the reason why a lot of basketball fans prefer the Euroleague – they feel it is more sincere, more genuine. However, one must recognize that at the moment, the NBA is the best league in the world.
This doesn’t mean that the NBA doesn’t have any flaws. In fact, I have an idea of a rule that is destroying the competition in the American basketball league. Everybody knows that Golden State Warriors is the team of the moment. They won three titles in the last four years and they are on the pace of winning this season too. Even though Bob Myers and Jerry West built this team very smartly, there are a lot of voices that say that the Warriors ruined the NBA. The spectators are saying that by having five all-stars on their roster the competition is ruined and the game doesn’t deserve to be played anymore. In my opinion, this is not true and I will try to prove what is actually ruining the NBA.
I think that in everything we do we have to be very cautious and keep some balance. That’s because an idea can be great but the implementation of it can do more damage than to actually fix the things. This is the case with the rule of the NBA Draft. As you probably know, every summer the league organizes a draft where each team has at least one pick and they can choose players to come and join their rosters. And here comes the trick – the worst teams in the NBA are getting the best picks in the draft. Ideally, I can understand why they made this rule, it is to help bad teams to become better easily. This is a good thing because they are creating an environment where, with the right choices, an organization can’t stay at the bottom of the standings for such a long time.
But, let’s talk about the consequences of creating this rule. Every year there are some really bad teams which don’t have a shot at the playoff so what is the management deciding to do? They are starting to lose intentionally, to tank, in order to have a better chance of getting a Top 5 pick in the NBA Draft. I understand that this is a good way of developing a team but it is wrong on so many levels.
First of all, it kills the competition. If there are five, six, or even seven teams every year that are trying to lose how does this impact the rest of the league? Well, as I previously said, it kills the competition. Of course, the best teams in the league are still competing but when they play against organizations such as Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago Bulls they are winning by 30+ points. This is in contradiction with the definition of sports. If you start the game with the idea to lose than you are not in the spirit of the game and you don’t deserve to play. Of course, this is not decided by the players but by the management. And this leads us to the second consequence.
The players on the bad teams are still trying to win but the general manager is putting into the game crazy lineups in order to be much weaker than the opposition. And this is bad for the players because they can’t develop, they lose confidence in themselves and they are being bullied by the fans. Also, they are getting used with a loser mentality. If they see every day that the GM or other people in the staff are intentionally pulling strings to lose the game they will eventually lose the winner mindset. And this will impact the league also.
And the last argument that comes into my mind at this time is about people which run the organizations. As I said in the beginning, a lot of fans are blaming the Golden State Warriors for their roster. But if we think again, why are they blaming them? Are they really blaming them for being too good? This, in my opinion, is the worse thing they can do. Let’s think. Instead of trying to encourage more organizations to be like the Warriors, to make smart decisions, to choose wisely in the draft, they are giving the best picks to the worse teams. I do not think that the best teams should get the best picks because in this way the top organizations will become unbeatable. Instead, I think of two options: give the best picks to the most improved teams over a season or make it random.
I will explain these two solutions. The first one is based on the fact that in a healthy competitive environment we want our rewards to be awarded to the deserving teams, not to the ones who actively try to lose. But if we would choose the organizations that are at the top of the standings then we would make the gap between teams even bigger. So what I would suggest is that for example, if a team won in a season 23 games and in the next year it won 35 games by fighting hard than they have an index of +12. At the end of the season, the league makes a classification in the order of the indexes and they give the best pick to the team with the biggest index. In this way teams that are on the bottom of the standings can win a great pick if they work hard and try to always be the best version on themselves. In this way, I think the competition will become much greater and the matches will become interesting again.
The other option is just to randomize everything. In this way, the teams won’t be encouraged to lose but they won’t be encouraged to win either. Therefore this solution is not as great as the other but at least it solves the problem of tanking. I agree that there is a chance that the best team in the league would get the first pick but it is a percentage of 3.33%. Ok, let’s take the first ten teams: it is a 33% chance that these teams would get the first picks. But it still is a bigger chance that this will not happen. So, these are my two solutions for solving this problem.
In conclusion, I really hope that Adam Silver and all the guys who run the NBA would consider changing this rule. They need to see that it kills the competition, it makes the games boring, and it has an effect on the mentality of players.
David Istrate, firstname.lastname@example.org