Seriously though, it’s an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for a while now. Ever since the discussion started about how the lottery should be changed so teams are less inclined to tank yet the bad teams are able to improve through the draft. Now hear me out and I’ll let you know why I think the territorial draft picks could fix the vast majority of the problems being discussed.
First of all I want to point out that in my league these picks won’t be able to be used every year. In my league teams would have to wait 5 years between using these picks and they would replace that teams first round selection for that year and if a team does not have a first round pick they can not use the territorial pick.
Imagine a league where Kevin Durant is on the Wizards, or Kevin Love playing for the Lakers. The NBA right now is full of stars and superstars switching teams in the prime of their careers, jumping from city to city to team up with other stars. This could potentially stop a lot of that movement. Players would be more reluctant to jump ship from their hometown teams while entering their primes (except for Lebron, but at least he came back right?). Rivalries would be formed as players play not only played for their NBA teams, but for the pride of their city.
The biggest issue about the lottery process today is that teams are rewarded for tanking. Just look at the 76ers and how they are blowing up their roster to try and pick up a #1 pick. Now lets use this last years draft as an example. There would be no more “tank for Wiggins or Parker” going on because they would be snatched up by the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. Now that those two prized players are off the table the bottom of the league doesn’t look so good does it? This will encourage teams to push for playoff spots as the top players in the draft will most likely be taken by their home town teams.
The most positive thing about this whole idea though may be that it will encourage NBA teams to invest in their cities. Fund youth leagues, train coaches, set up more camps for high school players. Teams will want to invest in their city basketball leagues in hopes that the next big player will come from their area and they are able to pick them.
As for the specifics on how to divide the territories up and who decides where a player is from, I’ll leave that up to the league to decide. I just think this will create a much more exciting NBA with teams and their cities really coming together now that they will have homegrown talent playing for them.