Connect with us


Would getting rid of the NBA Draft help NBA players??

The other day I did a little write up on Jackie MacMullan and what she said in regards to a comment NBA player Kyrie Irving made about players should be able to go where ever they want and they should get rid of the draft. That whole idea stuck with me and I started to wonder what the NBA would actually look like if they did get rid of the NBA Draft and how it would affect the players.


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

NBA would be an open market for players

Part of the reason athletes command so much money for their skills is because there is a high level of exclusivity to the NBA. Most players only come into the league through the draft and that’s by design. The whole balance was created to keep owners from being able to low ball players.

Back in the day athletes weren’t making nearly as much money and owners were low balling them because they could just go find someone else who could play just as well. The draft was designed to balance that and ensure there was a window for new players to be selected by teams to join the league. It’s still an exclusive club, but at least there’s a door way in. This bottle necked strategy keeps a talented player’s value very high.

If they got rid of the draft, I’d imagine it would go to an open tryout format which would allow for more players to be looked by teams since they don’t have to worry about draft picks, placement and things like that. With owners having more flexibility and freedom during that window player value could drop.

Here’s a for instance– each team is allowed a certain number of draft picks and all that jazz so players they may have wanted might be gone before they get to there pick so they have a lot of contingencies in place. If teams don’t have to spend months planning draft strategy they can just focus on selecting the top talent they want and with no draft pick cap they can essentially just sign as many players as they are allowed which could tip the scales.

Imagine if one team ended up with the top 5 would be draft picks in the league and the team’s superstar decides he wants to hold out for more money? The owner could just cut ties with that superstar because he just rebuild his whole team for less than he pays that one guy. Who cares if he has to eat some of his contract because by the time these new guys need new contracts his contract will be up and they might have the next Chicago Bulls’ like dynasty.

This could be a bad situation for guys who command a large paycheck and won’t play for a penny less than what they think they deserve. Throw in the fact that players can go wherever they want, you might find owners are less willing to spend big money.

Freedom of choice

The reason I picked an open market system was because Kyrie suggested that players should be able to go where they want and while that might be good for the players’ freedom that might not sit well with owners. Owners spend big money on these players because they are exclusive contracts that they see as investments. They spend $40 million on a contract because the expect that contract to generate wins, which generates fan revenue, and revenue is the bottom line.

Imagine if a player signs with a team that he wants to be with and then two years into the contract he wants to move to another team because they are losing. That damages the owners’ investment. People think you just swap a player and everything is okay but there is the financial aspect to account for. If they give up their star athlete for a future draft pick, that value is undetermined whereas if they get an equal star they can quantify that value and make a decision.

If players got to go where ever they wanted whenever they wanted, it would give less incentive for owners to pay big contracts because why would they want to be on the hook for a large sum of money just to have the player leave a year into the contract. The whole reason owners sign players to contracts is to ensure that they don’t leave so if there is a clause for players to just terminate their contract whenever they want there is no more reason to offer a guy big money especially when they have the open market to fall back on. Owners could let the player walk and test the market in the offseason.

My opinion on the subject

If they got rid of the draft I think it would be bad for current players but good for future players. Right now the league is very exclusive and there is a balance between owners and players, but if the draft goes away and players are able to go where ever they want whenever they want those big contracts could end up turning in to short term contacts for way less money.

More in Basketball