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View Full Version : Has free agency created the parity the NBA wants?



JasonJohnHorn
09-16-2016, 10:03 PM
Parity can be viewed in a couple of different ways.

1. Many teams are in a position to win each season.
2. Each team gets a shot at winning once every tens years or so.
3. Each team is in a system where they can win if they put their team together properly (though poorly run teams regularly fail to do this).


The Kings and Suns are great examples. When the owners were running things properly, they were able to build through the draft, free agency, and trades, leading to the Webber/Divac/Bibby/Christie/Miller era for the Kings, and the Nash/Amare/Marion era in Phoenix, but both teams came down from contention and have not been run very well recently, but both did have a shot at a title running for a few years and kept fans interested.

The Thunder is another team. They did a great job building through the draft, and could have kept the team together, but chose to make moves based on reducing costs and now are on the down slope.

Then, of course, there are the teams that are simply run poorly. The 76ers, for instance.

But the curious thing is that since 2004, in a 12-year window, the league, even though it often had no more than 4 legit contenders in a given season, and often times only had one such contender in the east, has actually had 8 different champions, and in the last 9 years has seen 7 different teams win a title. Only twice has a team repeated, and only those two teams have won more than once, and none have won more than twice.

That is the biggest variety of champions the league has seen since between 75-83, when 7 different teams also won titles over the course of 9 seasons (there has never been a period where a larger variety of teams won).

The 70's was a disaster ratings wise. The league seemed to have parity in terms of multiple teams being in contention each year, but no team worthy following in the media, and no dynasties chasing history. No historic, legendary team to report on with the exception of the long winning streak the Lakers put together. Washington and Seattle had a title each and a couple years of contention, then fell away. The Celtics had a comeback with Cowens, then fell out, the Knicks finally won a couple, and the Lakers and West got theirs. The Warriors, Trailblazers, and Bucks all won.

Now, however, the league is spreading the winning around. Seven different champions in 9 seasons. The biggest example of diversity in winning the league has seen in 40 years, and it is not in spite of super teams: it is because of super teams. Players can sign shorter contracts, move around if they aren't winning, and put themselves in a position to win more. It has cause the landscape of the league to change drastically every four years, or even more frequently.

Yes, it is very likely that the league won't be adding a new team to the champion list this year, but in the next free agency cycle, the team who manages to clear cap space and lure a big-name free agent (perhaps the T-Wolves, who have a great core and could add a big name to that, or the Pelicans if they work on their cap situation) and create a new super team to rival the Warriors. And the Warriors and likely Cavs, will give the media two teams to follow and act as a metre stick with which to measure upcoming teams against. That makes things easier to follow. As the saying goes, the torch is not handed down, it must be taken. If title teams fail to even show up the year after they win the no sense of beating the best to be the best.

And on top of it, this parity is news worthy. We had a historic team last season in the Warriors: 73-wins. We had a city that hasn't won a major sports championship in half a century bring home its first NBA title. We've seen the goliath of the Heat fall to potential lottery fodder, and the dynastic Lakers become perennial cellar dwellers. Next year the history will continue. Will the Warriors top 73? Will LBJ come one title close to 6 rings? Will he win another finals MVP? And the MVP race itself will be a compelling narrative.

There is little parity in a given season, but over the course of a decade, it seems that organizations who play their cards right do get a shot at winning: the Pistons from 03-08. The Suns for a few seasons with Nash. The Lakers, The Cavs. The Heat. The Thunder. The Spurs. The Warriors. The Raptors even. The Hawks last year. The Clippers. The Bulls with Rose pr-injury. The Celtics. The Mavs. In a 30 years span, one can't fairly expect every team to win once, but it is fair to expect every team has had about 3 different periods where they saw legit contention or were building to contention.


As a result of recent trends, the league has not only seen its highest variety of champions it has EVER seen, it has done so while maintaining national interest and media coverage, and ratings that are competitive with those outside of the Jordan-era.

So, has the current free agency system created, if not the parity the league seeks in a given season, but at least the kind of parity that keep the league healthy, each team invested in the system, and both casual and regular fans engaged? (periods of drought for poorly runs teams aside, which are more a symptom of management then the system being stacked against them)


It seems the answer is yes: the league finally has a kind of parity that allows any team to contend, and keeps ratings high.


Thoughts?

da ThRONe
09-17-2016, 11:26 AM
Was free agency ever about parity? I was under the impression it's the players that negotiate for FA as it benefits them.

To answer the question free agency does nothing for or against parity. Salary caps are the thing that promotes parity in professional sports.

Chronz
09-17-2016, 11:54 PM
Depends on how you define parity, IMO the league definitely doesn't hope to see the highest win total in the league to be below 50 or something, like it was back in the 70's. It WANTS its powers so it only wants parity in the sense that we never see a GS team and if not for a quirk in FA, this would never have been possible in any other era.

valade16
09-20-2016, 12:17 PM
It seems as if we're talking 2 different forms of parity.

I don't think it's parity if 7 different teams win in 9 seasons but that's as a result of the best players moving because in each individual season you have less parity when the best players still win, just those best players move around.

I guess I could explain my point in a hypothetical odds machine:

Scenario 1:

Team A: 40% chance to win every year
Team B: 30% chance to win every year
Team C: 30% chance to win every year

For 3 seasons Team A wins twice and team C won once.

Scenario 2:

Team A: 80% chance to win year 1, 10% chance to win years 2 and 3.
Team B: 80% chance to win year 2, 10% chance to win years 1 and 3.
Team C: 80% chance to win year 3, 10% chance to win years 1 and 2.

If we look at diversity of records won the second scenario has more "parity" but I'd argue the first scenario actually has more parity because more different teams actually have a chance of winning in a given year.

sep11ie
09-20-2016, 12:44 PM
I would say the NBA has the least amount of "parity" than any other sport.

mrblisterdundee
09-20-2016, 04:06 PM
Was free agency ever about parity? I was under the impression it's the players that negotiate for FA as it benefits them.
To answer the question free agency does nothing for or against parity. Salary caps are the thing that promotes parity in professional sports.

This.
The NBA had a one-season salary cap in the 1940s, and didn't have another one until 1984. The NBA's biggest stars would love to see the salary cap go away. Then the teams with the biggest markets and revenue streams could pay them gigantic salaries with no repercussions.

Sssmush
09-21-2016, 03:37 AM
Parity can be viewed in a couple of different ways.

1. Many teams are in a position to win each season.
2. Each team gets a shot at winning once every tens years or so.
3. Each team is in a system where they can win if they put their team together properly (though poorly run teams regularly fail to do this).


The Kings and Suns are great examples. When the owners were running things properly, they were able to build through the draft, free agency, and trades, leading to the Webber/Divac/Bibby/Christie/Miller era for the Kings, and the Nash/Amare/Marion era in Phoenix, but both teams came down from contention and have not been run very well recently, but both did have a shot at a title running for a few years and kept fans interested.

The Thunder is another team. They did a great job building through the draft, and could have kept the team together, but chose to make moves based on reducing costs and now are on the down slope.

Then, of course, there are the teams that are simply run poorly. The 76ers, for instance.

But the curious thing is that since 2004, in a 12-year window, the league, even though it often had no more than 4 legit contenders in a given season, and often times only had one such contender in the east, has actually had 8 different champions, and in the last 9 years has seen 7 different teams win a title. Only twice has a team repeated, and only those two teams have won more than once, and none have won more than twice.

That is the biggest variety of champions the league has seen since between 75-83, when 7 different teams also won titles over the course of 9 seasons (there has never been a period where a larger variety of teams won).

The 70's was a disaster ratings wise. The league seemed to have parity in terms of multiple teams being in contention each year, but no team worthy following in the media, and no dynasties chasing history. No historic, legendary team to report on with the exception of the long winning streak the Lakers put together. Washington and Seattle had a title each and a couple years of contention, then fell away. The Celtics had a comeback with Cowens, then fell out, the Knicks finally won a couple, and the Lakers and West got theirs. The Warriors, Trailblazers, and Bucks all won.

Now, however, the league is spreading the winning around. Seven different champions in 9 seasons. The biggest example of diversity in winning the league has seen in 40 years, and it is not in spite of super teams: it is because of super teams. Players can sign shorter contracts, move around if they aren't winning, and put themselves in a position to win more. It has cause the landscape of the league to change drastically every four years, or even more frequently.

Yes, it is very likely that the league won't be adding a new team to the champion list this year, but in the next free agency cycle, the team who manages to clear cap space and lure a big-name free agent (perhaps the T-Wolves, who have a great core and could add a big name to that, or the Pelicans if they work on their cap situation) and create a new super team to rival the Warriors. And the Warriors and likely Cavs, will give the media two teams to follow and act as a metre stick with which to measure upcoming teams against. That makes things easier to follow. As the saying goes, the torch is not handed down, it must be taken. If title teams fail to even show up the year after they win the no sense of beating the best to be the best.

And on top of it, this parity is news worthy. We had a historic team last season in the Warriors: 73-wins. We had a city that hasn't won a major sports championship in half a century bring home its first NBA title. We've seen the goliath of the Heat fall to potential lottery fodder, and the dynastic Lakers become perennial cellar dwellers. Next year the history will continue. Will the Warriors top 73? Will LBJ come one title close to 6 rings? Will he win another finals MVP? And the MVP race itself will be a compelling narrative.

There is little parity in a given season, but over the course of a decade, it seems that organizations who play their cards right do get a shot at winning: the Pistons from 03-08. The Suns for a few seasons with Nash. The Lakers, The Cavs. The Heat. The Thunder. The Spurs. The Warriors. The Raptors even. The Hawks last year. The Clippers. The Bulls with Rose pr-injury. The Celtics. The Mavs. In a 30 years span, one can't fairly expect every team to win once, but it is fair to expect every team has had about 3 different periods where they saw legit contention or were building to contention.


As a result of recent trends, the league has not only seen its highest variety of champions it has EVER seen, it has done so while maintaining national interest and media coverage, and ratings that are competitive with those outside of the Jordan-era.

So, has the current free agency system created, if not the parity the league seeks in a given season, but at least the kind of parity that keep the league healthy, each team invested in the system, and both casual and regular fans engaged? (periods of drought for poorly runs teams aside, which are more a symptom of management then the system being stacked against them)


It seems the answer is yes: the league finally has a kind of parity that allows any team to contend, and keeps ratings high.


Thoughts?


YES.

The new free agency and the new CBA has created total parity in the league. Total parity!

TheDish87
09-21-2016, 10:25 AM
a top 2 player in the league just signed with a top 2 team in the league, so you tell me if parity was created.