by Dan Salem and Todd Salem (6-28-13)
[Part one - A dull affair with Real consequence]
So we agree the NBA draft is flawed, but how does it get fixed? I personally like the idea of instituting the baseball rule. A player can enter the draft out of high school if he wishes. However, if he decides to go to college, he must attend for at least three years. So the studs will enter out of high school and teams will drool all over them. The rest of the guys will gain the proper seasoning and experience during three years of major college basketball. We will get to know them; their games will improve; the NBA and NCAA products will both improve because of it.
Was there anyone in this year's draft you're even excited about? There are a few guys I like but no one that stands out to me. If I were a GM, I'd have been content to have a pick in the teens. There you can take the player you have the best feel for, without having to take one of the top guys with major flaws. Reaching for a player at 15 is no big deal. However, if you are Cleveland or Orlando and you pass on Nerlens Noel because of all the red flags (which they did), and he then becomes the next Tyson Chandler, you are in deep shit.
The MLB rule for entering the draft works great in baseball, but the NBA had its chance to institute something similar and instead opted for a required one year in college. The reason is pretty obvious, Minor League Baseball is a huge entity and every single drafted player goes to the minors for at least a month or six. So coming out of high school is a null issue. The NBA doesn't use its development league in this way, hell it barely markets it. They addressed their biggest issue, all be it haphazardly, high school players getting drafted and not being ready for the NBA. In hindsight I think the NBA would make it a mandatory two years in college. The goal was to ensure top talent is NBA ready, bodies fully developed, skills honed at least a little bit. I don't think they've quite achieved this and the hype machine has certainly fallen flat in the last few years when the draft roles around.
So a draft fix? I'm taking your suggestion one step further. Actually use the damn D-league! The biggest hype in a draft is for the stars and nothing is bigger than a high school super star. These kids are all hype, since most of us fans have only seen clips of them play, if at all. So why not let them get drafted? Let the fans drool over hope and the future. Then send them to the D-league for a season and make money off those games too. Its not complicated. The MLB already has a model in place to follow. Come on man!
As for the draft that took place last night, here's hoping we get a star are two out of the bunch. No one excites me, just like no one stole the show during March Madness this season either. I wish this was a bigger deal, but its not. I'm still WAY excited for the NBA this summer. Doc Rivers is now the Clippers coach! Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Celtics! Dwight Howard is a free agent AGAIN. And what will CP3 do? I'm even excited for Ray Allen's contract decision. The NBA is chock full of stars. It doesn't need the draft, but they could really spice things up by having the current stars interview the potential newbies. I liked what Shane Battier brought to the table, but something was still missing. I want on camera hazing baby!
I can't get with you on using the D-League like that. Basketball isn't the same as baseball as far as minor league development. There are way too many basketball players, the vast majority, who are ready to play in the NBA year one. They may not be ready to start or play big minutes. They may not be ready to hit an important shot at the end of a game. But they are ready to compete and contribute. So why send them away? If you're saying that just high school players should go to the NBDL, then we get into logistical problems of high school players who are ready to play right away versus college players who are not. Where is the line drawn and should a high school player then skip the draft and go to a year of college so he can avoid playing in the D-League? The list goes on.
We'll have to take another look at this problem next year when the crop of players is much better. Perhaps we're looking through whatever the opposite of rose-colored glasses are. Is the NBA draft really that horrible when there are potential franchise guys involved? This year there just isn't anyone like that.
You have to believe Cleveland is pretty upset, internally, about getting the number one pick this year versus a different season. They decided to go with Anthony Bennett, as I predicted they would last week in my mock draft for College Sports Madness. I was also spot on when predicting the Nerlens Noel drop. I had him going fifth and he lasted even longer than that.
I know you wanted to talk draft fixes, but last night pissed me off! The trading is AWFUL from an entertainment standpoint. Every trade happens after the picks are made and no trade is official; they are all pending league approval and "according to multiple sources." The guys narrating the draft react to each pick not knowing if a certain player will play for the team that chose him. They then react to each trade rumor and then react again when a proposed trade is supposedly agreed upon. After that, they are forced to react when a team is selecting someone with a pick involved in a previous proposed trade! It is cuckoo.
Some of the action from last night was actually fun. The "proposed" Jrue Holiday trade was exciting news even though we had to listen to everyone talk about how Noel would fit with Anthony Davis and then ten minutes later he was no longer a Pelican. Overall, the NBA draft is such a poor product for so many reasons and it's disappointing.
I have a brilliant idea! What if, instead of putting on the hat of the team that drafted you, each player had to dunk a basketball with its new team's logo on it. Make the hoop a bit shorter, since the guys are in suits, and have them dunk over a stuffed animal of their new team's biggest rival. The photos of exceedingly tall men in suits dunking over large teddy bears would be amazing!
Final thought, I can't read the sentence "And then ten minutes later [Noel] was no longer a Pelican" without chuckling. Sure, they were the Hornets, but somehow a hornet is at least a little bit threatening of an animal. Pelicans are one step above storks and storks deliver babies. I'm not getting over this.