SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Detroit, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, Miami, Cleveland and Then What?

No, this isn't the itinerary of the Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band Reunion tour. These are the six best teams in the NBA, record-wise, which means that the remaining 24 just aren't that good. Now, maybe this is the way it should be, that the cream rises to the top and that the rest are mired in some sort of bog that prevents them from cracking the acrylic ceiling and achieving platinum status. It's just that there is a little less than half a season to play, and it's hard to see, especially with the wacky salary cap and the paucity of meaningful trades made yesterday, how the trends which have established themselves so far will change.

Can't there be a ten-run rule concept in the NBA? Translated, if you're more than 15 games under .500 at the All-Star break they can cancel your season. Or, can't they do in U.S. sports what they do in the English professional soccer leagues? It's called relegation. The worst 3 teams in the Premiership, where the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal play, get sent down to the second-best league to play the next season, while the worst three teams in that league get sent down to the third-best league, and so forth. Conversely, when the worst three teams in the Premiership get sent down to the next level, the top three teams from that level get sent up to the Premiership for the next season. Talk about pressure.

Oh, yeah, and, by the way, once you're relegated there's no guarantee of returning to the better league unless, yes, you guessed it, you finish in the top three of the league to which you've been relegated.

Yikes -- a meaning measurement metric with consequences!

Of course, there is no next-level for the NBA, as the CBA and the NBDL aren't to the NBA what the Champions League teams in England are to the Premiership, where the UK's equivalents of the Yankees and Red Sox play. And, the NBA isn't exactly about to send the Knicks down to a league where they'd be playing in Roanoake, Sioux City and Moline anytime soon. Still, my guess is that the threat of having to play in places where the most exciting nightime activities for players with free time would be the latest release of a PlayStation 2 game or watching portable DVDs on a PC might compel some teams to play better team hoops and do everything in their powers to remain in the Big Apple.

Imagine. . . the NBA with no New York Knicks.

Come to think of it, we're pretty much there, aren't we?

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