Today is Mock Expansion Day here at SB Nation. It is a website-wide response to Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments on league expansion. He said the discussions were “inevitable.” This, of course, gives rise to massive speculation to which cities were going to be the ones added to the league along with how this would impact the current structure. Along with our other posts today, Grizzly Bear Blues will give you all the material to have fun with ideas on NBA Expansion and how it would affect the Grizzlies.
This piece is a little different. Instead of playing with the idea of an NBA expansion, this piece will instead argue why NBA fans should not want the NBA to expand to more teams and the problems that could come from it. While even though the NBA is at an all-time high in revenue and popularity, the move should not be to add more teams to the mix. Here’s why:
Will Only Add More Mediocrity
Look at the NBA landscape coming off these past three seasons. It is the Warriors and the Cavaliers and not much changed that each year of up-and-coming teams. Realistically, there are only about six teams each year that can compete for the title. That is just how basketball is. It is a super-team driven sport.
That leaves 24 franchises that are in limbo of what moves to make next to try and compete for the title. This is not always a bad thing, and it is why NBA fans keep coming back to see how much better their team got from the year before.
Adding teams to the league would not help with this disparity. An expansion would do two things: Make it harder to compete, and dilute player pool. If two teams joined the league, these two teams would be added to the 24 teams that are not competing for the title. It would make the gap between the top even further apart. In addition, these two teams would spread out more of the players and talent across the league. That does not bode well for parity among the league.
Look at it this way - the pending Expansion Draft in this scenario would take the average players off all the other teams in the league and add them to their teams. They would thereby be lowering the overall talent of the other 30 teams to build two teams of average players. Growing the mediocrity, while decreasing the parity.
May Not Add More Fans
Another reason why expansion would be bad for the league is this probably won’t add more fans to the league. NBA fans are a diehard, passionate group. Because of this, most fans have a favorite team even without them being a team in their city. These two new teams fan bases would be pulling from other markets to support their cause.
For example, the Seattle SuperSonics come back. Seattleites rejoice as they finally have their team back. This may not be felt the same way in the Portland or Sacramento front offices. With this expansion, these two fan bases could be stolen from by people going back to supporting the SuperSonics. The money will be lost by the two franchises already in the league, and they will not like that.
Since Seattle already had a team (and was wrongly stripped of it), this example may be less persuasive.
Here’s another way to think of it a little closer to home. What if Nashville was granted a new basketball team to play in Bridgestone Arena? This would strip away a huge portion of the Grizzlies’ fan base to this new team in Nashville. Profits would be lost, and it would leave Memphis thinking what just happened to our franchise.
Money, Money, Money
This reason may be not as geared toward the fan as just facing the facts. The bottom line is the philosophy of probably about 90% of these NBA owners, if not more. So, the fact that their income and stake in the league is going from 1/30 to 1/32 could be a huge issue for some of them.
These owners are there for a reason. They (mostly) are savvy businessmen who know how to maximize profits. They will have a say as to whether it is in their best interest to expand or not.
Ultimately, NBA fans should not want an expansion because it just does not align with where the game is today.