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How This Year's Starless Draft Rings In the Post-Big 3 Era In The NBA

This Night Won’t Be Memorable, But It Could Make The League’s Current Stars More Memorable


The 2024 NBA draft has been widely deemed as one of, if not the, worst draft classes of the last decade. Unlike years prior, there was no definitive top prospect that every NBA team was salivating at the thought of having. Instead, it seemed like a game of hot potato where the Atlanta Hawks had to, begrudgingly, pick from an assortment of rejects. It has even been questioned whether or not this year's first overall selection, Zaccharie Risacher, would have been a top-five pick in years past. However, despite all the disapproving opinions and overall negative thoughts around the draft class, the 2024 NBA draft class is precisely what the NBA needs right now.


Since LeBron James chose to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, teams that want to win have felt a need to form a "big three." The Spurs had it with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili; The Warriors did it in their way with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green; and most recently, the Suns tried to do it with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. These teams were massive problems that ruined the NBA. They took three massive stars and put them in only one place, one team that would (at least try) to dominate and leave everyone else in the dust. But now, there has been a massive change. The NBA has moved from an era of big threes into an era of depth and duos. This is in large part due to the NBA's new Apron rule.


These "big three" teams were built on paying their three stars 90% of their salary cap and paying cheap role players to fill out the rest of the roster. But this often didn't work, as players would eventually want more money, and the wealthy owners would pay them. These deals would push teams into the Luxury tax, enforcing penalties on teams spending so much more than the typical salary cap. The issue with this, however, was that the Luxury tax was nothing to these contending teams. They were winning, and the owners eventually made money, so who cares? The new CBA (Collective bargaining agreement) implemented the "Apron" rules. There are two tiers, the first and second apron. If a team's payroll fell into either of these tiers, the penalties would be much harsher, restrict team building, and hurt a team much more.


So, Exactly How Does This Bring In A New Era Of Basketball For The NBA?


The past two NBA champions were the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets. These teams had similar cores: two-star players whom you could rely on, surrounded by a strong core and depth around them for late-game situations. The Celtics and Nuggets proved a new strategy, away from the big three, could and would work in the modern NBA. Even the team that lost to the Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks, has two stars surrounded by depth and role players. These teams are spreading their money more wisely throughout their team and building a more competent squad that relies on team cohesion, game planning, and depth more than ever before.


That is precisely where this new draft class comes into play.


With the first overall pick being compared to Harrison Barnes, a slightly above-average role player for his career, it is clear this draft doesn't house star power like in past years. But what it does do is help teams build depth. Teams are drafting guys who won't drop 40 points a night but help those who score 40 points a night. In doing so, those players shine even brighter and help the faces of the league become even more apparent in a league where there are so many talented players. Those who rise above the standard role-player label will be valued more than ever and considered more crucial.


A weak draft class that helps build teams exactly how the NBA wants to see teams constructed right now is precisely what the NBA needs. It helps boost the superstars into even more light and brings fresh young talent to more even basketball between teams that are on an equal playing field, and not just three teams with nine of the best 15 players in the world on them. While it may not seem like it at first glance, this draft class helps usher in a new era for the NBA that will benefit everyone.

 

If you liked this article, check out other NBA articles from Stadium Rant!



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