Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said that the NBA should just eliminate the NBA Draft entirely to discourage teams from tanking to increase the odds of landing a top draft pick. Ridiculous, right? Just another typical crazy Van Gundy comment, or so I first thought. The more I read about what he said, the more that I thought it was a brilliant idea.
“I’d get rid of it, just get rid of the draft altogether,” Van Gundy told reporters after practice Friday. “We’d just deal with the salary cap. Make all [rookies] free agents coming in, and if I want to go give a guy $50 million a year, good, but I got to do it under the cap. They say everybody would want to go to L.A. Well, how much money are they going to give up to go to those places?”
Van Gundy raises a very interesting point. If players all want to go to a certain team or play for a specific coach, then they may have to sacrifice salary. Or, if they want to get rich quick, then they can simply sign with whatever team offers them to most lucrative contract. Pure genius!
Why force rookies to enter a situation they dread? After all, they get to select which college they attend, and many don’t strictly make that decision based on how much they are offered in bribes, right? I kid, of course. Well, maybe. A little. OK. Not really. But why not let them enter the NBA in a situation that works for everyone? If the top three players want to play for the same team in the NBA, then they have to make sacrifices and sign for smaller deals. I think that it could be very interesting to see which direction players and organizations would go.
According to ESPN, Van Gundy also “proposed eliminating max contracts as part of his plan,” an concept that he has previously expressed. He said that max contracts are the reason so-called “superteams” (Just don’t use that word around LeBron James, as he is in denial) can form.
At this point, why not try something completely unique? I know that the NBA Board of Governors already approved a change that starting with the 2019 draft, the top three teams will each have 14 percent odds of landing the No. 1 pick, and that four teams will be drawn in the lottery, meaning that the team with the worst record the season before could fall as low as fifth in the draft order. Sure, that is all well and good. But it still will not entirely curb tanking. It may just make it happen less.
I like Van Gundy’s idea. Eliminate the Draft, even though it is probably my favorite part of the NBA. This would be fun to see take place.