I’ve long figured the NBA was the U.S. pro sport best suited to a promotion/relegation system. It’s not hard to find a half-decent arena, the college system produces hundreds of noteworthy players who don’t make NBA rosters, several franchises sit in moribund mediocrity each year, and switching things up wouldn’t trample on history as it would in baseball, football or hockey.
Today, the NBA is struggling with the imbalance in its regional divisions and conferences. The playoffs could easily have some rotten teams. The suggested solutions are creative.
And all this is happening in a year in which teams are being accused of tanking for a shot at Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle or the other players expected to lead a deep draft class.
So why not go farther? Why not go to pro/rel in the NBA?
They’d solve the draft problem. The top three teams in the second division get promoted to the top division and get the top three picks in the draft.
That alone is a compelling reason to switch systems. And unlike the other U.S. pro leagues, the NBA offers no compelling reason not to go to pro/rel. No one has paid a franchise fee in years, so they shouldn’t have a lot of debt. All but two of the existing arenas were built after 2005, and the vast majority of teams are more than 10 years old.
And would anyone really miss the current system? Nah.