Limpag: Reformatting basketball

Fair Play

A FEW days back, LeBron James said he wants the NBA to have a shortened season if it resumes play instead of going straight to the playoffs. I guess, the King wants a few games under his belt before he gets to change into playoff mode. I’m sure that’s one of the things the league is considering.

However, aside from that, I hope NBA commissioner Adam Silver revisits his radical idea of copying European football’s competition for the world’s best loved basketball league. You see, in the NBA, all 30 teams fight for only one title, which is the NBA title and which gets decided by two teams at the end of the season. In European football, the teams in the first division fight for the league title and a slot for the two continent-wide competitions, the Uefa Champions League and the Europa League. The teams in the lower divisions fight for their division titles and promotion spots for the next division. All pro teams--from the first to the lowest division--also compete in the Cup and sometimes, teams in the lower divisionpull a surprise and beat teams in the higher divisions.

Now a Cup competition will only work if there are at least two divisions and if Adam Silver pulls that off, he’s going to make the most radical change in US pro basketball history. And, I think, it’s going to solve a contentious issue in the league, “load management.”

You see, in European football, teams don’t field the same lineup in every competition. While managers are expected to field the best players available for league or continental play, youngsters or players in the reserves get their chance when they play lower division teams in Cup play.

Adopt such play in the NBA, and you give coaches the luxury of resting their stars when they face teams from the lower division. Load management, if you will.

Well, I really hope that this long break brought about by Covid-19 will give the NBA commish ample time to think that radical concept through.

Why do I want the NBA to take the lead? Well since Philippine pro basketball basically copies anything the NBA does, I hope that if the NBA do adopt the multi-tier competition for its pro league, the Philippines will do the same and we can probably have as much as three divisions in our own basketball competitions.

We can have the PBA in the top-flight, the D-League in the second division and the MPBL in the third. Or, it could be the MPBL in the second and the D-League in the third.

And who wouldn’t want the idea of having your MPBL team face the likes of San Miguel in a Cup competition, eh?

That’s radical, right?

That will also eliminate the need for a draft since the teams in all divisions will have the right to hire the players they want. Of course, that will give undue advantage to the teams in the first division, but hey, that’s just another incentive for the lower division teams to fight for those promotion spots, right?

However, this radical concept will only succeed if there is one body that will oversee the pro leagues and if in the PBA, which only has 12 teams, you can have as much as three factions, what hope do you have to unite all pro teams under one body?

Well, we can dream.


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