Sunday, April 12, 2009

WNBA and a Territorial Drafting System

Rod Steier at the US blog writes about the WNBA Draft and suggests a system that the NBA and NFL used to use way back in the days when they were getting started - a territorial drafting system.

How did the Territorial Pick system work? From 1950 to 1965, if a team chose to it could abandon the right to pick in the first round and claim a player from the immediate territorial area of the team - the "immediate territorial area" being defined as a 50-mile radius from the team's home city.

The NBA used this system for 16 years - from every draft from 1950 to 1965. The rule was stretched in the cases of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry Lucas. The Philadelphia Warriors argued that even though Wilt the Stilt didn't play college ball in Philadelphia, he was born there and played high school basketball there. The case of the Cincinnati Royals and Jerry Lucas was different - Ohio State was outside Cincinnati's 50-mile radius, but the Royals argued that shouldn't matter because there was only one NBA team in Ohio anyway. (The Royals could have used the birth argument, as Lucas was born in Middletown, OH.) In each case, the NBA agreed - Chamberlain went to the Warriors and Lucas to the Royals.

So how would such a system work? Who would get first dibs on who? It's way too complicated to calculate quickly, but the Atlanta Dream would end up with the rights to anyone from Georgia Tech, Georgia State, or Kennesaw State - sadly, the University of Georgia is more than 50 miles from Atlanta. No player from any of those schools has ever been a first round draft pick under the current draft system - the closest we've come is Chioma Nnamaka, Sonja Mallory or Kasha Terry, all of whom were second round draft picks from Georgia Tech.

The Connecticut Sun would love such a rule - they could pick any UConn player they wanted in the first round. Since Knoxville, TN is more than 50 miles from Atlanta, GA, let me say that I am in complete opposition to this rule. Now, if we could move Knoxville to 50 miles within Atlanta's borders....


pilight said...

It was a bad idea when the NBA did it and it's a bad idea now.

pt said...

pilight, do you care to elaborate? I'm interested in your reasoning - was it bad for the NBA when they did, and if so, how so?