On the official NBL website (www.nbl.com.au) the current poll question is “Should the NBL introduce player trading?”. My response to this is… Hell yeah! Putting it bluntly of course.
This season has seen many changes in and around the NBL. There have been rule changes that have brought the NBL more in line with the way the NBA is run, such as the shot-clock resetting to 14 seconds after a foul over the half-court line instead of a full 24 reset, the increased distance of the three point line and the position where a throw in is taken after a time-out moved from the half-court line to a designated spot at the top of the three point line opposite the team benches. There has been more advertising (see one of my previous articles Basketball in Australia, Is It Back?), the TV rights have moved to FTA TV and the audiences are growing. So changes are happening in Australian basketball and it is slowly heading in the right direction.
But back to the point at hand, player trading within the NBL. The NBL currently works like the AFL where there is no player movement while the season is in swing, only in the off-season can players move clubs. The NBL is currently, as is shown above, moving towards a point where it is similarly run to the NBA, so why not include player trades and a trade deadline?
If we look at it from a team point of view, starting with a glaringly obvious one, the Melbourne Tigers. Right now the Tigers need to upgrade at their point guard position, or gain a combo guard. So they look to trade one of their countless big men to another team to upgrade at the guard position. Really when you look at their big men, Luke Nevill, Wade Helliwell, Matt Burston, they are all great players, Nevill especially could be a future big lining up alongside Bogut and Jawai for the Boomers once he figures out how to be more aggressive on the boards and in the paint. The next step is finding a team that needs a big man and can also give the Tigers the guard it needs in return. I’d be looking at any one of the Gold Coast Blaze, Cairns Taipans, Adelaide 36ers and to some extent the Sydney Kings.
If we look at the Taipans to do a trade with they have a fairly small team overall and little depth, if any, at the centre position. So a possible trade could come about there that involves sending one of the Tigers talls to the Taipans for an Aaron Grabau, a guard who is a Victorian anyway. If we look at the Blaze there is the possibility of a Jason Cadee (injured currently) or Chris Goulding and the Blaze have just lost Pero Vasiljevic to injury reducing their tall stocks even more. Looking at the 36ers, who have been starting Adam Ballinger at the five spot (more of a PF in my books), trade a Tigers tall and in return Rhys Carter could return home to Victoria. Changing a tall for a guard will also allow the Tigers to match it up against opponents when they play small ball against them, which many have been doing so far. It would also minimise the effectiveness of opponents full-court press/traps on in bounds plays and would keep the ball out of Helliwell’s etc. hands while bringing it down the floor, thus reducing turnovers (31 in their last game against Perth).
So that example is mainly about the Tigers, however it has benefited the other teams mentioned by strengthening them at a certain position as well. So in my eyes its time to introduce player trading and a trade deadline, the step after that is to keep the salary cap but ditch the player points system when it comes to signing players. Again, that is for another discussion however.