As we did with our SB Nation basketball family last summer, we will be bringing you some themed posts. Today we offer up our ideas if we were: Commissioner for a Day. Since we have Andrew Feinstein, Jeff Morton, Colin Neilson, and I offering up our takes - it'll be more like Commissioner for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
On to our ideas and be sure to vote on the poll below ...
If I was commish for a day I'd expand the NBA by 10 teams to an even 40 and then split the entire league into a 20-team "A" and 20-team "B" league, a la European soccer, whereby the bottom four "A" teams in any given season drop down to the "B" league, and the top four "B" league teams ascend upward into the "A" league.
I'd look to do a 12-team playoff in each 20-team league, with the top four teams getting a first round bye. This could be done as a comprehensive, geographically-wide playoff, as Colin suggested, or done regionally with two halves and the top two teams receiving first round byes. Regardless, whoever finishes in the "final four" of the "B" league jumps into the "A" league the following season and the bottom four "A" league teams (who didn't even make the playoffs) drop down in the "B" league the following season.
And as far as those 10 new markets go, I'd look to Seattle, Vancouver, Anaheim or San Diego (the NBA could use a third Southern California team), Kansas City or St. Louis, South Chicago, London, Paris, Milan or Rome, Madrid and Barcelona. If or when the NBA expands to Europe, they must include basketball hotbeds like Italy and Spain. And while it would be fun to see the NBA ultimately expand into China, as well, I'm concerned the travel would present too many complications. Whereas flying from New York to London is about the same as flying from New York to Los Angeles.
What would I do if I was NBA Commissioner for a day? Well, everything I want to do is a long term thing. If I had to choose just one I would get rid of the block and charge calls. Just eliminate them all together. The block/charge call is subjective to movement, and, much like calling balls and strikes in the MLB it is subject to the individual referees interpretation of the call. It would go a long way toward stopping a lot of the flopping issues. It would also prevent players from recklessly charging down the middle of the lane and opening themselves up for injury while looking for contact - a la Danilo Gallinari in the case of the Denver Nuggets.
If this is eliminated, then the games will run much smoother. Quicker (with the lack of constant foul calls) and it will open up some freedom of movement for offensive sets. This one rule change, in my time as Commissioner, will result in me being hailed as the greatest Commissioner in the history of the worlds and they will write epic songs about me.
So sayeth Jeff.
If I were commissioner for a day, I'd eliminate conferences with respect to playoff seeding. No earth-shattering changes to the rules of the game. Something that could be done today, and something fans have proposed at the collegiate level. Teams would be placed according to their overall win-loss record (tiebreakers being head-to-head match-up records, home-road win/loss percentage, etc.), from 1 through 16. While this could result in some pretty lopsided early-round match-ups - given how terrible the Eastern Conference is, Miami would still play Milwaukee in this scenario, natch - we'd see cross-conference match-ups that are often some of the most entertaining during the regular season. Imagine a playoff season that went something this, using last year's records as a (rough) template:
(2.) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (15.) Boston Celtics (2012 season series: 1-1) - Kendrick Perkins returns to play against his former team. Do the Celtics manage to surprise the Thunder with their slow-it-down, grinding style of play? Does Russell Westbrook still get injured, except this time by Jeff Green?
(3.) Denver Nuggets vs. (14.) Atlanta Hawks (2012 season series: 1-1) - a favorite of some around Denver Stiffs, would Josh Smith torch the Nuggets as badly as Steph Curry did? Would George Karl have kept his job with a playoff victory over an Atlanta team the Nuggets matched up with far better than the surging Warriors? Perhaps Andre Iguodala might not have gotten so obsequious at the attitudes of Smith and Al Horford in the ATL.
(4.) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (13,) Los Angeles Lakers - by virtue of LAC's superior home record, then conference record over the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets (2012 season series: 4-0 Clippers) - the Same-Court Series! No travel involved! The new stars of L.A. versus the old! This would have been an awesome series to watch. Chris Paul vs. Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard vs. DeAndre Jordan. Pau Gasol vs. Lamar Odom. Rife with story lines, this would have been one for a Hollywood blockbuster.
The Commish may not have the power to change team names, but I would like to think that getting a bit power hungry would at least provide me with being able to force teams to change team names; mandate! So, I'd offer up that the following teams would need to submit a nickname change before the conclusion of the 2013-14 season for the 2014-15 season and beyond.
Here is my list with the teams that would need a change and my, perhaps awful, suggestions.
|Team||Name Change||Suggestion 1||Suggestion 2|
|New York Knicks||No|
|Portland Trail Blazers||No|
|Golden State Warriors||No|
|San Antonio Spurs||No|
|New Orleans Pelicans||No|
The obvious ones I didn't change that people often want changed: Lakers and Jazz. I feel like the "Showtime Lakers", the titles with Shaq and Kobe (and just Kobe), and all of that have such a historic significance that the name cannot be changed. For better or worse, the LA Lakers should be here to stay. And the Jazz, almost the same thing - when I think of Utah's hoops team I think of the Jazz. If you tossed an animal in there it just wouldn't be as original and even though you don't have the rich history of the music in Utah, John Stockton and Karl Malone have made the Jazz name stick.
The reason for the changes above:
Brooklyn: the Nets name should stay back in New Jersey. A fresh start, even though I contradict myself with Lakers and Jazz, would be good for an upcoming city like Brooklyn and a historic city would be nice. The Battleships is pretty hokey, but they do have the Navy history there. The Dodgers - take back the MLB name that was stolen!
Toronto: the name change is looming. I sort of like Raptors, but the team is going for all sorts of changes, so why not go all the way. I didn't do the city proud with my suggestions, but I like the name Kingfishers (not an imposing bird) and Typhoon because of Hurricane Hazel, but probably a dumb suggestion. I couldn't go Hurricanes because that's The U and nobody should try to steal a college name.
Cleveland: the Cavaliers or Cavs isn't bad and my suggestions are terrible, but it feels like a name change would be good for them. Now that I think about it, I like the history of the Cavs and love the throwback uniforms from when Michael Jordan used to torture them. Wish I could have a take-back, but the Commish was asleep at the wheel on this one.
Washington: Wizards ... enough said. Change it!
Orlando: The Magic says, "Hey, another center is going to bolt." The history of the name is not remembered fondly and I actually like the Hammerheads. We need more shark names! No? The Commish's one day reign is making sense.
Oklahoma City: may as well just be the Loud Noises. The uniforms are terrible and the name is worse. Let's give the Nuggets' division rival a new chance. I absolutely love Oilers for them, but since it's an old Houston (Texas!) name I doubt the folks in Oklahoma would bite.
Minnesota: the Timber part of the Wolves isn't even one of the best throwback jerseys in the league. So just ditch that first part. Wolves are scary enough, just ask Liam Neeson.
Sacramento: Chris Webber might be sad for a minute, but new owner Vivek Ranadive should switch it up as the name followed the team from Kansas City ... who love a monarchy government apparently with the Royals and Kings back in the day. Redwoods is pretty good too. You know you'd rock that hat, well, Ty Lawson would.
Those are our changes - what say you?
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