15 New Year’s Resolutions The NBA Should Adopt
15 New Year's Resolutions The NBA Should Adopt
I love New Year’s resolutions. I love them mostly because they are so inherently optimistic. Whether they’re realistic or not, we could all use a little more optimism in our lives. We too often get ourselves bogged down by the negative things that permeate our everyday lives and forget that there are always things worth striving for. Taking a hard look in the mirror and having the faith to take risks to make ourselves better is what this time of year is all about.
The NBA, solidly slotted in as the second-most prominent major professional sport in America, has been on a run of great success recently. They have marketable stars who act the part off the court, franchises and fan bases that are among the best in sports, rising revenues and team values. It’s pretty hard to find room for improvement in a league that has so much going for it, but nit-picking is a time-honored New Year’s tradition.
Some changes can be small ones, while others are bigger ones. Some will be easy to execute, and others will be much harder. The key is to find the right things that need to be changed. Well, finding what needs to be changed is the easy part -- actually changing is always the hard part. We can all talk a good game about making ourselves better, but change typically means either making sacrifices for a greater good or taking risks, and neither of those is ever easy.
The NBA may be in a great place right now, but these are 15 New Year’s resolutions they should adopt in 2014.
15. Find New Coaches
The NBA recycles coaches like teenage girls swap clothes. When a coach fails in one city, he almost always gets another chance right away. You end up with the same coaches just trading jobs between each other. The league needs some new blood in the coaching ranks, and they should start to look for them at the college level.
13. Shorten The Regular Season
This is one that will never actually happen because everyone except the owners would be better off if they did. The players would be healthier and play harder because they would have fewer games to play, and the fans would have a better product to watch. The owners would make less money, so I’m only dreaming.
12. Open Up The Offense
Ever since the NBA started allowing zone defenses, the league has been getting more and more clogged offensively. The coaches today are so good at devising schemes to keep the dynamic offensive players away from the basket that the average fan misses out on the offensive fireworks.
11. Move The 3-Point Line Back
The 3-point shot was supposed to reward players who could make a challenging shot. Today, any good NBA shooter can make at least one in three attempts. If they want to make the shot harder for the average shooter and space the floor out at the same time, they should move the line back a foot or two.
10. Get A Handle On The PED Issue
We all know that NBA players take PEDs. We also all know that the NBA testing system is a total joke. They can keep burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the issue and wait until it blows up in their face, or they can get proactive and nip it in the bud before it really costs them.
9. Put Pressure On The Shady AAU System To Straighten Up
I’m sure most at the NBA level want to stay as far away from the sordid world of AAU basketball as possible, but the top players are only a year or two away from being pro players. Against a world full of corruption and exploitation, the NBA has the power and prestige to really make a difference for young players, whether they have what it takes to play in their league or not.
8. Remember What A Charge Is
Alright, this one is my own pet peeve. It used to be that someone had to establish some sort of position to draw a charge. Then, for some inexplicable reason, they started letting defenders slide under a player while he’s in the air and reward them with an offensive foul. It’s stupid and it rewards bad defense. It needs to go away.
7. Institute A European Soccer-Style Relegation System
At least one major American sport has to give this a try. The NBA would be great for it, especially if they get the D-League in order. Imagine if they sent the two or three worst teams back down to the D-League every year, and brought the best two or three D-League teams up to the NBA level? Tanking would immediately end, and you would have exciting games for the worst teams in the league right up until the end of the season.
6. Fix The D-League
The D-League is a great idea in principle, but the execution has been terrible. The teams need to be in bigger markets and they need to be more willing to let legitimate future players spend some time getting seasoned in the lower league. Better coaching and an investment in facilities would help convince the up-and-coming young stars to give it a try.
5. Figure Out How The Salary Cap Works
I have no idea how the NBA salary caps, and I’m willing to bet you don’t either. The luxury tax was supposed to make it easier for the small market teams to compete, but you still have all the big boys buying the best players and winning all the games.
4. Get Rid Of The Instant Replay
I’m typically a fan of instant replay, but it just doesn't work in basketball. The game is too free-flowing for all the stoppages in play that it creates. I've always held that basketball is the toughest game to officiate, and there are just too many bang-bang type judgment calls to make. You just have to accept a little human error when it comes to the refs.
3. Keep Their Players Healthy
This is one of those "wishful thinking"-type resolutions. I have no idea how they can do it, but the league would be a much better place if all the good young guards didn’t end up blowing out their knees.
2. Start Designing Better Arenas
The experience of watching games at home versus the cost and hassle of going to them in person is the biggest issue the NBA faces. If they want to keep fans coming to the stadium, they will need to start developing and eventually building stadiums that provide a more enhanced experience than just watching the game.
1. Get Rid Of The Draft Lottery
The NBA draft lottery has been an unmitigated failure. Born of a good place, it was meant to discourage teams from tanking. As this spring will teach us once again, the lottery doesn’t stop anyone from tanking. I don't care what they replace it with, but the lottery needs to go away.