The NBA’s trip across the pond this week was fun, but it left me with some burning questions. First, what does the Royal Family actually do, and why can’t I help myself from caring about them? Second, what is the meaning behind the nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down”? And third, what if the NBA adopted the promotion/relegation system used in European football (soccer)?
Leagues such as the Premier League in England punish teams that finish in the bottom three of the standings by sending them to a lower league while rewarding the top teams in that lower league with a promotion. It’s quite the financial blow to be dropped from one of the biggest professional sports leagues on Earth, and the results would be just as devastating here in the States.
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There’s no way the NBA would ever relegate one of its franchises to the G League, but it sure would do more to prevent tanking than leveling the lottery odds of the worst three teams in the league. Can you imagine the Atlanta Hawks or…wait for it…the Los Angeles Lakers being replaced in their respective conferences by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers or Erie BayHawks? It’s a fun thought experiment until you realize Lonzo Ball would probably average a triple-double in the G League and Lakers fans are insufferable enough when he’s averaging 10 points per game on 35-percent shooting for a terrible NBA team.
A relegation system would do more than just stave tanking, it would help strengthen the G League and add an exciting subplot for teams at the bottom of the NBA standings over the final stretch of the regular season. It would also expose NBA fans to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and their incredible mascot …the Mad Ant.
And it wouldn’t be all bad for the relegated teams, they’d still get their top draft picks; they’d just have to spend a season (or two) playing in Sioux Falls or Delaware.
Of course, this will never happen because the owners and players will never agree to it. Either way, the idea of potentially jettisoning the Lakers to the G League is something Americans and the English can all get behind.