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May 23, 2014

The NBA draft should not exist

by Jared

If the 2014 NBA Draft lottery outcome tells us anything about the NBA, it’s that ineptitude gets rewarded with good fortune. The Cavaliers have, once again, found themselves with first dibs on the incoming rookie class, after repeatedly getting it wrong and making personnel mistakes to cover up for their lack of draft acumen.

Don’t get it twisted — a lot of great young basketball players are wasted on many inept franchises. This is a league-wide problem, both for the fans, the franchises, and the kids who are unfortunate enough to be “selected” by a team they might not want anything to do with.

Put it this way — if I were a rookie and it were up to me where to play, I’d go somewhere warm, cosmopolitan, and with a proven track record of good basketball decisions. Call me a pussy, but that’s the truth.

Of course, it’s obvious why players aren’t given the choice, because they’d never pick Cleveland or Milwaukee or Oklahoma City, and those franchises would suffer and detract from the competitiveness of the league. It’d become as disparate and predictable as any European soccer league. But there’s got to be a better way to keep the NBA competitive, still give players some say in their future, and reward “good” managerial behavior.

HERE IT IS: Amin Elhassan’s weighted rookie free agent signing day.

Under this premise, the lottery teams would be allowed to pay incoming rookies vastly more money than playoff teams. For instance, Cleveland would be granted the maximum amount of salary to offer a player this year, while the Miami Heat would only be allowed to offer him the league minimum. The rest of the NBA would fall somewhere in between on a progressive scale.

Teams would then basically pitch the players as to why they should sign there.

This not only gives players more freedom, but it forces franchises to actually think about their direction — as opposed to “Tank until we get enough lottery picks that we’re good again.” That’s not good for anyone. If a team clearly has no idea what it’s doing, the player could opt to forgo the money and sign a lesser deal with a more intelligently designed squad.

Players would still overwhelmingly choose to play for more money, so balance would still exist — but the Donald Sterling’s of the world (who spent the better part of 35 years fielding horrible teams and ruining young players) would no longer be given preferential treatment.

ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz and Amin Elhassan broke it down on TruHoop TV Wednesday.

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