I have always wanted to form an NBA D-League team made up entirely of guys who didn't get drafted. I would guarantee a spot on my team for Division One's highest remaining scorer, rebounder, assist man and shot blocker, plus several other categories I can't think of right now. I would also sign the highest stat guys from D-II. I guarantee we would win the league every year.
I mentioned this to a top basketball friend of mine, and he suggested that it would be better to form a team of those guys in the NBA summer league, so that they got to show their chops before the season began and get a chance to make a roster. Then a better idea developed.
We came up with the idea that the NBA Draft is only the lottery- 15 teams.
Then all remaining players who declared for the draft are pooled up and put on various NBA Summer League teams. Since all the games are played in the same gyms, it would be easy for the league to provide room and board.
At the end of the summer league, the draft continues in order.
It would draw more interest to both events. A guy who wasn't given much of a chance before draft who kills it in summer league then becomes highly coveted in the second half of the draft. A guy who's a bad teammate drops down and maybe doesn't get drafted at all.
Either way, the cream rises to the top. Who flourishes with new teammates? Which small-college guy proves he's a leader and worthy of a draft spot? Who's shown to be a jerk?
Right now the teams don't know this until after they draft and sign a guy. This way everybody learns at the same time.
Imagine the intrigue. If you have the 4th pick in the lottery, would you rather keep that or would you rather trade "down" to draft the top summer league guy? Summer trading would be much more interesting.
Obviously this would involve changing the timing of free agency and stuff like that, but it would end up being more beneficial to everybody. The second half of the draft would be in mid- to late-July, providing a ratings spike in the dog days of summer and just before NFL and college football training camps begin, so the only real competition would be baseball.
This seems like a no-brainer.
After that, I'd still want to have my D-League team. They'd still win.
photo courtesy: nba.com