Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pump You Up

Via True Hoop we learn that one of the union proposals to NBA owners is extra draft picks to struggling teams. As Abbott points out, that’s a pretty goofy proposal:
…More good draft picks would be a way for the worst GMs and owners to compete without getting any better at their jobs. This is like performance-enhancing drugs for the worst front offices in the league.

As fans, we root for the great competitors, right? Those who do best at their jobs? I'd argue the league ought to encourage teams similarly. If the Clippers didn't have Blake Griffin walking through that door, as a reward for losing, wouldn't Donald Sterling have to do some soul-searching about how he runs his team, and maybe come up with a more competitive approach?

This is correct. It’s even more striking when you realize the number of teams that have been more-or-less generationally mismanaged—the Clippers, the Knicks, the Hawks, and the Warriors are probably overall the worst, though other teams flit in and out. (Strikingly, the number of highly mismanaged teams in big important markets is higher. Correlation or causation?) Obviously bailing them out with draft picks is an artificial way of increasing parity, the chop-the-best-down rather than build-them-up strategy, and it’s probably not best for the NBA in the long run—the most compelling teams (to me) have a vision and an organizing hand behind them; the pumped-up, doped teams that will emerge from this infusion of draft picks will be good but probably not organized.

At any rate, this is a funny little comment about the way the world works. I bet, of the 30 NBA owners, approximately 25 or even higher like to talk tough about capitalism most of the time but are utterly unconcerned with being whiny little socialists when it comes to their sports teams.

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