By Stephen Brisman
The NBA is nearing the end of the regular season and moving into the playoffs. More than half of the teams will have clinched playoff berth. Those teams battle it out for the right to be called the NBA champion. Throughout the entire 82 game season they show up, work hard, and most importantly, win games. But what about the other teams who aren’t capable of making it to the big stage in April? I am a huge Knicks fan and watching them this year has been extremely disappointing. The Knicks are currently 14-60, the worst team in the NBA! But how did they get to this point? And most importantly, how can we solve this situation?
Teams that know they will have an unsuccessful season tend to give it all they got for only a handful of games. Once their record starts to drop to the point where they can say that they will not make the playoffs, they give up. Sadly enough, that can last as long as a month! The Knicks are in desperate need of the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, and being a Knick fan I am hoping and rooting for them to get it. But does that mean I have to root for them to lose? The Knicks have announced that Carmelo Anthony will be having season ending surgery. They have also dumped key players like Amare Stoudemire, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler, and other role players within a couple of months. Now their best players are names like Langston Galloway who they just picked up from the D-League. This has made the regular season hard to watch. Seeing matchups like Lebron James vs Travis Wear in the 1st quarter is just an embarrassment to the league.
So what am I proposing to the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver? The way the draft lottery works is whomever has the worst records at the end of the season, has the best chance to get the first overall pick in the draft. As a result teams often “tank” the end of the season to increase their chances to get that draft pick. What I’m proposing is that whomever the best non-playoff team is, should have the best chance of getting that first pick. All teams that are eligible for a lottery pick will have a chance to get the first pick. The only change is, instead of the worst teams, the best teams out of the non playoff teams have the odds in their favor. Non play-off teams will suddenly start trying to win and start playing with a purpose. The NBA will get a lot more competitive, make more money, and get a lot more fans interested and excited for their teams. Superstars like Carmelo Anthony and DeMarcus Cousins would have reasons to play their hardest and to compete to make their team a more exciting and fun team to watch for the league and their fans.
Why is this a problem? Fans pay a lot of money to go to games where their favorite players don’t even play because they are giving up on the season. Not only do fans spend money on games that mean nothing, but yes, Adam Silver, you have to deal with these consequences as well. The NBA loses money because fans aren’t interested in watching games that don’t have any impact on the season whatsoever. Places like Madison Square Garden will always sell out but not places like Minnesota where fans have suffered watching their team go 16-58 so far. This system will make the league more interesting, entertaining, and make fans like me have something to root for.
By Stephen Brisman