Part 2: The Question No One Is Asking About the NBA Lockout
In case you missed part one of this series, click here for the SpreeGoogs assessment of how the lockout could spell the end of the WNBA.
As we enter mid-November with no NBA season in sight, it is only natural to begin speculating on the possibility of a completely lost season. Some of the consequences are rather sad to me (lost jobs, lack of entertaining television from Tuesday through Friday for the next four months), others are intriguing (more pickup games, amnesty clause) but to me it all comes down to one question.
If the entire season is cancelled, what becomes of one of my favorite days of the year: the NBA Draft?
There’s no real precedent for this in the NBA – when the 1999 lockout ended mid-season, and a shortened 50-game season determined the draft order for the following season. The NHL chose option #5, but even if you love hockey, tell me that you care about the NHL draft. Didn’t think so. Let’s lay out the possible scenarios, counting down from my least desirable to most desirable.
6. Keep the order of the teams from 2010-2011.
Whether this means giving the Clippers the top pick (that went to the Cavs last year) or just giving it to Minnesota (the team with the worst record in the regular season), I think this option is boring and not entirely fair. Why reward the T-Wolves twice for having a horrendous season? We all know they could use the help, but it doesn’t seem fair that they should strike gold simply because they hit rock bottom at the right time.
5. A full lottery including all 30 teams.
Another less than satisfactory option. Why? Because somehow this would all but guarantee a great team ending up with the top pick in the draft. Can’t you see the Heat getting Jared Sullinger this way? Wouldn’t it be just bad for the NBA to give Harrison Barnes to the Lakers? If the Lakers want a new franchise player, they’re going to have to trade for him or suffer through one or two horrible years to get a high draft pick.
4. Cancel the Draft
Within this option – there are two variations. The first is to make all the current college players just entirely ineligible for the following season, which probably wouldn’t fly and might just lead to a ton of lawsuits, so let’s exclude that option.
The other variation is to make all of the eligible seniors free agents open to be signed for whichever team is willing to pay them the most money. This is intriguing because it would give an advantage to teams that have successfully managed their finances and have money under the cap to sign elite rookies. But, there are plenty of potential disasters with this option – there would probably be a dozen teams financially handicapped by overpaying a rookie who doesn’t pan out.
3. Auction Draft
We’re all familiar enough with fantasy drafts at this point to know that this could be great. Reward the teams that are under the cap by saying that they can’t spend beyond their salary cap room to draft a player, and once they’ve reached that limit, they are done drafting. Imaging a bidding war between the Lakers and Celtics, or a hilarious exchange where the Blazers bid $1 on a 17-year-old European, only to be outbid $2 by the Spurs who plan on stowing that guy away for years.
2. Coaches Royal-Rumble
Put all head coaches in the ring, WWF style, and have them toss each other over the top rope. Last one standing gets the #1 pick. A couple of great angles here – would the small and nimble Lawrence Frank be able to dart around the competition and avoid being knocked out? Mark Jackson and Avery Johnson would be clear favorites, but would the old guys bond together to knock him out? Just like the real Royal Rumble – it always comes down to two bruisers in the end, so I’m taking Vicious Vinny Del Negro to eke out Scotty Too Hotty Skiles for the #1 pick in the draft.
1. One-on-one tournament
Maybe this could take place while they are still locked out (since coaches would never approve of getting their best players involved in something like this once the season starts). Now here’s where we could use last year’s draft order – let’s have the team with the worst record put their best player against the team with the best record’s best, with the two WORST teams having a bye to give them a leg up. Here’s how the bracket would shape up:
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota
16.Carmelo Anthony, New York
17. Kevin Martin, Houston
8. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
25. Kevin Garnett, Boston
9. Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte (By the way, have you looked at the Bobcats roster and how awful it is? If we play the season, they are getting the #1 pick)
24. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
28. Dwyane Wade, Miami (Lebron gives way to Dwyane awkwardly during the pre-tournament press conference)
5. Jimmer Fredette (steps in for Tyreke Evans after an injury and goes bonkers in round 1 to upset Wade)
12. Danny Granger, Indiana
21. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
29. Tim Duncan, San Antonio
4. John Wall, Washington
13. Al Jefferson, Utah
20.Chris Paul, New Orleans
6. Deron Williams, New Jersey
27. Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers
11. Monta Ellis, Golden State
22. Nene, Denver
3. Demar Derozan, Toronto
30. Derrick Rose, Chicago
14. Steve Nash, Phoenix
19. Zach Randolph, Memphis
7. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit (Rip Hamilton is pissed that he doesn’t get picked, and demands a trade)
26. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
10. Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee
23. Dwight Howard, Orlando
15. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia
18. Joe Johnson, Atlanta
2. Antawn Jamison, Cleveland
Love vs. Carmelo
Blake vs. Durant
Fredette vs. Aldridge
Paul vs. Wall (PAUL WALL BABY!)
Kobe vs. Monta
D-Rose vs. Steve Nash
Dirk vs. Dwight Howard
Antawn vs. Joe Johnson
Love vs. Durant
Aldridge vs. Chris Paul
Kobe vs. D-Rose
Dirk vs. Joe Johnson
Durant vs. Chris Paul
D-Rose vs. Dirk
Finals: Durant vs. Dirk, and I’m taking Dirk in an ugly one. PLEASE make this happen.
What a tournament this would be! Think of all the tickets they could sell for this! Imagine a Durant vs. CP semifinal, where one of them will get a top 2 pick – don’ t you think that could make the difference between Paul staying in New Orleans or ditching for New York? Imagine the storylines! Who would Boston choose for this tournament?
Who would win in a game between Steve Nash and Zach Randolph? Another question that this brings up – if two equally superstar-level talents played 1-on-1, who would win, a point guard or a center/PF? In the prime of their careers, who wins a 1-on-1 game between Allen Iverson and Shaq? I’ve heard many people argue that it would be Iverson. “He could dribble right by Shaq!” I disagree – I think Iverson would get packed at least a handful of times, and miss a few runners, whereas Shaq could back Iverson down and score nearly every time.
This scenario clearly would produce the most revenue, draw the most interest from fans, and put an end to age old debates about which NBA player would be the best when playing 1-on-1. I implore you all to come up with a better or more rational solution.