Wednesday, December 15, 2010

7 comments NBA Free Agency Compensation

At heart, I am a basketball purist. I prefer the Spurs to the Heat. I prefer passing to dribbling. But every offense in today's NBA is initiated by the dribble drive or pick and roll. Teams do not have plays, but offensive sets. Stand here, pass to him, run out of the way. Sure, more set plays would limit offensive creativity and impede the greatest assets of many of the strongest NBA players, but it would cut out the excess fat as well.

Coinciding with the growth of the NBA has been player freedom. So much so that Carmelo Anthony has complete control over which team the Denver Nuggets trade him to. No team in their right mind would deal for Melo without the assured knowledge that he will sign a long-term extension. His selfishness is single-handedly handcuffing the entire Denver Nuggets franchise. While I'm all for players choosing to play wherever they want, we have reached the point in the NBA where parity has long disappeared. In reality, only 6 NBA teams have a chance at the NBA title: The Celtics, Magic, Heat, Lakers, Spurs and Mavs (and that's a generous estimation).

Once Carmelo leaves, Denver will wallow in mediocrity until they find their next superstar. The NBA's newfound pleasure in gathering, as opposed to separating stars, is creating a clear dividing line between contenders and everyone else. This summer witnessed this transition in full. Teams with potential for greatness dissolved because their superstars fled the mediocrity for a chance at a quick fix. In my opinion, this issues needs to be combated. I have, what I believe, is a simple solution: compensatory picks.

Unfortunately for the MLB, compensatory picks hardly solve the issue. The lack of a salary cap renders draft picks essentially useless. In the NBA, however, top flight rookies have an immediate impact. If a system was created to assign draft picks to teams that lost players to free agency, the Cleveland's, Phoenix's and Torontos of the world would not be eternally screwed. So here's my proposition:

1. As classified by the Elias Sports Bureau (that's what the MLB does), type "A" free agents (the top 20% at their position) that leave their original teams would receive a compensatory first round pick. This draft pick would be the mean of the draft position (for the following year) of the free agent's original team and new team. This way, teams that are gutted by a free agent's signing elsewhere would have a high draft pick with which they can rebuild their team.

2. Teams that lose type "B" free agents (between 21% and 40% at their position) would receive the a compensatory pick between the first and second round. Because the free agent who departed was not of an extremely high caliber, teams would not receive first round picks. But since 2nd round are not enough compensation, this sandwich pick would suffice.

3. If there are 10 or fewer type "A" or type "B" free agents, no team can sign more than two. If there between 10-20, no team can sign more than 3.

This third rule I went back and forth on. While I would not want to restrict a team's ability to sign whoever it wants, it is unlikely that 3 free agents will decide, "let's all sign in Milwaukee!" In order to give smaller markets a fair chance, I would enact this rule. However, it is the one rule which I am most willing to scrap.

This entire post may be totally unfeasible and you may not like this idea, but I think it's an area that needs to be addressed by the NBA.


Bengoodfella said...

That is not a bad idea. It's interesting at least. Personally, what would please me about this is it would make the NBA Draft a little bit bigger. I miss the days when the draft had more rounds. Obviously I am not saying the draft needs to be 10 rounds long anymore, but I wouldn't mind seeing teams get compensatory picks.

I will be interested to see if people like your idea or not. I guess that teams will be able to rebuild quicker using this method. I don't know if I like the last rule or not. I feel a team should be able to sign whoever they want.

Not a terrible idea, I don't think.

Dylan said...

I agree that the draft needs to be bigger. Maybe not the 7 rounds of the NFL, but a round or two more would be beneficial. At the same time, how many guys from the second round even succeed? I can't imagine guys from the 3rd or 4th round really making that much a difference to have more rounds. Although Gregggg would love this. Maybe a short, white point guard drafted in the 4th round will score 10 points and we'll have a new Danny Woodhead on our hands.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I would like to see it a bit bigger. I just think 2 rounds is too small. I think these compensatory selections would do needs to be done to make it slightly bigger. I like the idea. I would just be interested to see it in action.

Gregg Easterbrook would love the idea but that would involve watching basketball, which he doesn't seem to do.

Dylan said...

I think he watches basketball. But the fact that I'm at all uncertain of this fact is a sad reality for Mr. Easterbrook.

Bengoodfella said...

I am not even sure sometimes if Gregg Easterbrook watches the NFL games he talks about in TMQ. I have a feeling he has someone help him find all of those stats and plays. So following the NBA would blow his mind completely.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your generous estimation see as how the Mavericks did win the NBA title this year.

The idea for compensatory draft picks is pretty sweet unless a team like the Lakers sign a top free agent giving the lower team a really low 1st round pick.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that's a good point. The NBA has "protected" picks, so maybe in that situation a team would ensure a pick is in the Top 20 or something. Not sure how that would work of course. Still I like the original idea by Dylan, but I think this would need to fixed.

I like the idea of compensatory picks, but there would need to be some work done.