Improving the NBA draft

I’m of the opinion that the current implementation of the National Basketball Association draft isn’t perfect.  My proposed solution isn’t perfect either, but I think it is an improvement.

My suggestion (in a nutshell)
a. Assign ‘Draft Dollars’ to each team based on their record and have teams bid on players.
b. Unused ‘Draft Dollars’ roll over to the next year (well.. not 100% of them) and can be traded amongst teams in conjunction with other players.

There are a few more details to the proposal, but before I get into it let me first try to explain the problems with the current system.  I don’t like it that team management will devise strategies to improve their odds in the draft lottery by winning FEWER games once they know that they won’t make the playoffs.  This is a disappointment to the players on those teams, the league and the fans.  “Tanking” is currently a valid strategy and it shouldn’t be.
Secondly, I don’t like the fact that a well run and managed team should need to rely on luck to win a great draft pick and other teams which reach the ‘middle of the pack’ don’t really have the opportunity to build through the draft and are stuck in the middle, just missing the playoffs (or having a first round exit) year after year.

The reason why I think the draft dollars will address ‘tanking’ is because the extra few dollars the team will get from dropping a place or two in the overall league rankings won’t come close to what the other teams have managed to save from prior years and acquired through deals.
Furthermore, teams in the middle now have a tradeable asset they can use to pick up players that fill specific needs on their rosters or they can save them up for a few years and perhaps pick up a top-5 prospect without needing to ‘bottom-out’ first.

The other potential benefit for draft dollars is that if your superstar player wants to leave town, now your team may be able to work out a three team trade where you will get a load of draft dollars instead of (or in addition to) a bunch or role-players.

I don’t have the resources to run the simulations to figure out how many ‘draft dollars’ each team should get; but my suggestion would be that the two teams with the worst records would be paired up and whichever of those two teams won the season series, would get slightly more dollars allocated.  Same goes for teams 3-4, 5-6 etc…  This has the potential to make the battles at the bottom of the standings almost as interesting as those at the top.

Furthermore, I think it should be encouraged to spend your draft dollars in the year they are allocated instead of just saving up for the next LeBron James.  Therefore, my recommendation would be that unused draft dollars would drop to 65% of their value at the conclusion of the draft.

For the bidding process itself, I think a live auction would be a bad idea and instead advocate a sealed bid auction.  Commissioner Adam Silver would read a name, each team would have five minutes to submit their bid electronically and the winning bid would get the player, with the money deducted from their draft dollar account.  [When my brothers and I do our fantasy auctions, we have a sealed bid vickrey auction; where the winning bidder only pays the amount of the second highest bid, which protects us from really stupid bids.]

No longer will your team lose out on a player because they were picked one spot ahead of your pick.  Now your team simply didn’t have enough money, or didn’t bid enough…

Perhaps I will also post at some point about my ideas for draft eligibility.

I would love to hear your ideas on why you think this is a good or bad solution.  Please leave them in the comments below.

Viral Video Vendredi – Sept 16, 2011

I find ‘sport’ fascinating.  Born and raised in Canada, I see fans who are very passionate about Ice Hockey on a regular basis.  When I was traveling, I saw several examples of countries that take pride in a national sport.  India was absolutely in love with Cricket (which I find astounding from a British cultural standpoint and how kids with nearly no possessions still find a way to get a cricket bat and a tennis ball.)   In Ireland, it felt like everyone was talking about Hurling, and in New Zealand, images of the All-Blacks seemed to be everywhere.  The Rugby World Cup started this past week in New Zealand and Canada beat Tonga to start pool play, I’m not sure they will win another match.

What I find most interesting about sports, specifically spectator sports, is how attached a fan base can connect to the team that represents their city or their country.  These men (and occasionally women) are modern day gladiators who compete on our behalf.  The greatest of these athletes may get showered with Fame and Wealth.  There are many who are admired as heroes even though they don’t actually do anything that could be considered heroic (unless you count exceptional hand-eye coordination and thousands of hours of repetition to be worthy of teenagers treating these men as idols.)

That said, the video that ESPN put together for their ‘sports century’ is so fantastically well done that the music used to accompany the clips and the emotions on display in the video taps into what feels like some primal place and really connects me to a shared (primarily North American) experience.

Yes the video is over 10 years old, but the champions will always be remembered as champions (well, most of them anyway).

Viral Video Vendredi – September 9, 2011

It’s video Friday again; and this time, it’s the Funkasaurus Rex edition:

All three videos are from the band the Black Keys 2010 album “Brothers”.  I was first introduced to the band in the summer of 2007 when the two piece sounded HUGE at Lollapalooza.  The band certainly takes their music seriously, but they have lots of fun with their Videos.  Up first is a video for the song “Tighten Up” from Brothers that was released a few months before the ‘official‘ (but also funny) video came out:

Frank the Funkasaurus Rex really liked pushing the album, so he got a bigger budget for his next video showcasing the song Next Girl:

Frank was unfortunately relegated to a non-dancing cameo role in my favorite music video from the past 12 months, Howlin’ For You.  The video premiered on IMDB as the trailer for the film of the same name, but has since made it over to the YouTube.  I can’t believe that Foo Fighters beat out this video at the MTV VMA’s this year; behold it, in its awesomeness:


Hopefully, I’ll get around to actually adding something to this blog other than linking to videos in the coming year.

Viral Video Vendredi – September 2, 2011

Let’s see if I can pull off a weekly feature on this site.  The plan is to give you wonderful folks something to waste time with each Friday.

I’m not usually going to link to something that is currently viral; instead I’m going to pull from the past videos that went viral ages ago or that I think should have gone viral, simply because I think they are awesome.

The first two are fascinating TED talks all about choice.  First is Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent talk about Spaghetti Sauce:

Malcolm looks like an AWESOME public speaker from this talk, but he works really, really hard to look that comfortable.  He rehearses each talk dozens of times before giving it, and you can tell where he is ad-libbing at the start, with far more pauses, and then settles into the story he has rehearsed over and over again.

To provide the next piece of information on choice I offer Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice:

Next week, perhaps some music videos…

Hello again

So here goes take two on this blog.

Unfortunately, my prior wordpress installation got borked while I was trying to manually clean up some malware that managed to get added to the site (I had not updated the wordpress version and it was compromised.)

I had not been updating the content anyway and I felt like a fresh start.

The prior blog was focused on documenting my trip round the world.  I don’t really have a focus for this one yet; but hopefully it will be figured out soon.