The NBA has proposed adding a third round to the NBA draft, and the Players’ Association has countered the proposal with some funky ideas for the third round. (Sheridan Hoops)
-Under one proposal, the 15 teams with the worst records would continue to pick 1st through 15th, but then would also have the 16th through 30th picks. The teams with the top 15 records would have the first 15 picks of the second round, then would have the 44th through 60th picks, too. Under this proposal, the Chicago Bulls (whose 62-20 record was the league’s best last season) would have the 45th and 60th picks instead of the 30th and 30th picks. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who had the NBA’s worst record (17-65), would have their lottery pick and the 16th pick, but would no longer have the first pick of the second round — No. 31 overall.
-Under another proposal, the teams with the eight worst records would get an additional first round pick, beginning with selection No. 22, and the teams with the eight best records would have no first-round picks but would select at the top of the second round (picks 31 through 38), then also would get the final eight picks of the second round.
Adding a third round — and then possibly giving the 15 worst NBA teams two first-round picks, while the 15 best NBA teams forfeit their first-round picks — sounds landscape-altering. But pondering this rationally lets us note two things:
1) the third round would be unlikely to produce rotation-level talent, never mind All-Star talent
2) adding a late-first round pick rather than an early-second round selection won’t necessarily change a bad team’s fortunes
Rather than examine this year’s draft — which we cannot possibly judge since none of the players have begun their NBA careers — let’s look at the 2005 draft (the year was selected randomly out of a hat) to see how this new rule would have swung the pendulum of power. We’ll call it the Retroactive Draft.
Note: for the sake of argument, rather than speculate who would have been selected by new teams, I am using the real draft as my template. For example, if the New York Knicks used the 37th pick on Ronny Turiaf but would have selected 22nd under the new rules, they forfeit Turiaf and select the actual 22nd pick, who happened to be Jarrett Jack. Of course, the picks would have changed if new teams had them. I know this. But there’s no other way to have this hypothetical discussion.
1. Milwaukee Bucks:
With the first overall pick in the 2005 draft, the Bucks selected Andrew Bogut. The Aussie turned into a nice player and solid Tweeter, as we all know, albeit slightly bogged down by perhaps the most disturbing elbow injury in NBA history. Based on their 30-52 record, the Bucks would have selected again with the 21st pick — which was Nate Robinson. So sorry, Retroactive Bucks, you just traded Ersan Ilyasova for Nate Robinson.
2. Atlanta Hawks:
With the second pick in the NBA draft, the Hawks selected Marvin Williams. The pick was disappointing, but at least the Hawks didn’t pass on Deron Williams and Chris Paul to select the fraud from UNC. Oops. With their second round pick in 2005, the Hawks chose Salim Stoudamire, the hot-shooting lefty from Arizona who amounted to dung in the NBA. But the Retroactive Hawks would have received the 16th pick instead, meaning they just upgraded… from Stoudamire to Joey Graham. Something tells me Joey Graham would not have won the Hawks any championships.
3. Utah Jazz:
With the new rule, the Jazz still would have selected Deron Williams, meaning he still would have given them a handful of good-to-great years, followed by an inexplicable situation in which Williams — never thought to be a problem child — ran a Utah institution, Jerry Sloan, out of town. Rather than use their second round pick on C.J. Miles, the Jazz would have selected Hakim Warrick with the 19th pick. Though he certainly wouldn’t have erased the pain of Karl Malone’s departure, at least he would have thrown down a few exciting dunks.
4. New Orleans Hornets:
Good news first: shortly after punching Julius Hodge where the sun don’t shine in a college game, Chris Paul still would have been selected as Retroactive New Orleans’s savior. Now, the bad news: rather than choosing Brandon Bass in the second round, the Retroactive Hornets would have spent their second first-round pick on the athletic, uber-talented wing they have needed since forever. That sounds like great news, right? Unless that athletic, uber-talented wing is Gerald Green.
5. Charlotte Bobcats:
The Bobcats still would have selected Raymond Felton. Their second round pick would have been forfeited, but they had traded it away (to the Clippers, who used it to select Daniel Ewing, who, like most Clippers draft picks, never became a star). I don’t know how to judge the trade, so I’ll pretend like it never happened. Yes, this hypothetical venture has flaws. But the Bobcats then become the big winners of the Retroactive Draft: Danny Granger, welcome to Charlotte.
Because of a trade, the Bobcats also had the 13th pick in the 2005 Draft and the Retroactive Draft. Sadly for them, they used it to select Sean May.
6. Portland Trail Blazers:
The Blazers still would have selected Martell Webster with their first pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, and he presumably still would have followed the same career arc as his team:
Step 1: Webster begins his career as a young and exciting player with a nice future.
Step 2: Webster gets injured.
Step 3: Webster is no longer young and exciting.
In 2005, the Blazers traded their second round selection (Ricky Sanchez) to Denver. In the Retroactive Draft, they use their second first-round pick (the 20th pick) on Julius Hodge. For the record, we’re not even 1,000 words into this Retroactive Draft and that’s already two Hodge references.
7. Toronto Raptors:
With the 7th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Raptors selected a young player who would become a cancer to his team and the league, Charlie Villanueva. Rather than using their second-round pick on Travis Diener (and subsequently trading the five-foot-nothing, 100-nothing point guard to the Orlando Magic), the Retroactive Raptors select Francisco Garcia. Just don’t let him near the physio-ball.
If you’re keeping score at home, we now have one franchise that inarguably brightened its future (Charlotte by adding Danny Granger), one team that upgraded to Joey Graham, one team that added Gerald Green, and one team that effectively traded Ricky Sanchez for Julius Hodge. Perhaps this rule isn’t as necessary or effective at improving competitive imbalance as the NBA seems to think.
P.S. – Third Hodge reference.
8. New York Knicks:
Channing Frye still heads to the Knicks in the Retroactive Draft. Instead of trading their second round pick (Ronny Turiaf) to the Lakers, the Knicks used their second first-round pick (22nd) to choose Jarrett Jack. Helpful, but not quite NBA-shattering. Later in the first round, the Knicks lose their 30th pick (David Lee) to the new draft rule. Sorry, Knicks, but remember that Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are coming in a few years.
9. Golden St. Warriors:
Sorry, Warriors, you still select Ike Diogu with the 9th pick. Far sorrier: rather than select Monta Ellis in round two, you select Johan Petro with your second first-round pick. Talk about your all-time backfires.
10. Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers still choose Andrew Bynum with the 10th pick. After getting thrown under the bus by Kobe Bryant during a vicious YouTube clip, he presumably would still develop into a dangerous center, albeit with knees that are only slightly more reliable than Greg Oden’s.
The Lakers forfeit their second round pick (Von Wafer) in favor of their second first-round pick (Luther Head). Something tells me they would still have won their two titles.
11. Orlando Magic:
With Danny Granger, David Lee and Monta Ellis on the board, the Orlando Magic selected… Fran Vazquez. Rather than trading their second round pick (Roko Ukic) to Toronto, the Retroactive Magic choose Jason Maxiell, who will probably try to dunk on everyone for a few years in Orlando before getting pregnant — er, lazy — and losing most of his athleticism.
12. Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers drafted Yaroslav Korolev with their 12th pick. Considering that he stayed in Russia for two more years, then finally came to the United States in 2007, at which time he was promptly cut, the pick was very Clippers-ish. The Clippers traded their 2005 second round pick (Chris Taft) to Golden St., but the Retroactive Clippers select Linas Kleiza instead. Another upgrade!
13. Charlotte Bobcats:
We’ve already discussed Charlotte’s draft, but… Sean May! In the lottery!
14. Minnesota Timberwolves:
At one point after the Timberwolves selected him with the 14th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, after he quickly became a bust, after he put together a few so-so games for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, Rashad McCants noted that he was still better than 95% of all NBA players. He said, “I don’t even think there are top-tier All-Stars who are better than me, and they know who they are.” Um, no, Rashad, they don’t.
Anyway, the Timberwolves selected Bracey Wright with their second round pick in the 2005 draft. The Retroactive Timberwolves do not receive an additional first-round pick because they did not have one of the league’s 15 worst records (the T-Wolves “earned” a lottery pick by finishing 9th in the Western Conference). But their second round pick is improved from Wright to Daniel Ewing, if that’s anything to cheer about.
15. New Jersey Nets:
With their first pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets selected Antoine Wright. Everyone was (and is) indifferent about the pick.
The 2005 Nets selected Mile Ilic in round two, but the Retroactive Nets get Ian Mahinmi instead. That’s an upgrade, I suppose, but not one anybody in New Jersey is particularly thrilled about.
16. Philadelphia 76ers:
The Sixers traded their first round pick away, and it eventually ended with the Raptors (who selected the aforementioned Joey Graham). But the Retroactive Sixers still get a nice surprise: Philly, say goodbye to second round pick Lou Williams and hello to second first-round pick David Lee.
We have reached the end of teams who receive an extra pick, so now we’ll discuss the Retroactive Draft’s winners and losers.
1) Charlotte Bobcats: Traded the rights to Daniel Ewing, added Danny Granger, became slightly more relevant, though not relevant enough to scare anyone in the East.
2) Philadelphia 76ers: Though sorry to see Lou Williams go, the 76ers added double-double threat David Lee with their second first-round pick. Let’s just hope the Sixers know better than to pay Lee $80 million when he becomes a free agent. Golden St., I’m looking at you.
3) Julius Hodge: Hodge hasn’t been mentioned this many times in an NBA column since, well, since ever.
1) Indiana Pacers: The Pacers lose Danny Granger, meaning they become — with apologies to Josh McRoberts and his “I want to dunk any basketball I can see” mentality — even less fun than usual.
2) Golden St: Lose Monta Ellis, get Johan Petro? Damn, and I thought getting another first-rounder was supposed to be a good thing. Don’t worry, though, Warrior fans. In a few years your team will desperately overpay David Lee and turn the coaching reins to a former player with zero coaching experience and a propensity to say, “Mama, there goes that man.”
3) Competitive Balance: No, the new rule wouldn’t hurt competitive balance. But it wouldn’t help much, and it also would give additional tanking incentive to bubble teams. Count my vote as a no, if only because it’s a lot of change for no apparent reason. Spend your time discussing issues that matter, NBA, like the hard cap and player salary issues. This rule wouldn’t change much.