Irish Fantasy Basketball – A Reality?

Basketball Ireland recently announced an expansion to the men’s national league with four new clubs granted a licence and an overall increase to 24 teams across 2 divisions. It was accompanied by news of some new tweaks to the format including automatic promotion and relegation and the first division splitting into north and south conferences.

However perhaps the most interesting note in the minutes from the MNCC meeting was the line that stated:

it is agreed that a meeting of all National League clubs must be held before Christmas 2016 to actively consider in detail the merits of the Belfast Star proposal to adopt the “Australian” system for season 2017/18

What is this all about? The Australian system? Are Belfast Star proposing that we have a compulsory BBQ and Beer after every National League game? Not quite, although that wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but what is this all about and what would it mean for Irish basketball?

Up until the end of the 201-16 season the Australian league operated under a “Points” system. (It is moving to a salary cap system next season) At the end of each season every player is evaluated and awarded a score out of 10 with the best players in the league scoring a ’10’ and the end of bench reserves getting a ‘1’. Every club has 70 points to “spend” for an active 12 man roster.

The idea was introduced by the NBL with an aim of providing a level playing field for all teams by ensuring a more even distribution of talent and experience around the league. The main features of the system are explained below.

Player Points System

Each NBL player will be allocated a Player Points Ranking (PPR) between 1 and 10 prior to each season based on their performance in the NBL or based on the league they have participated in for the season just concluded. This ranking will be updated each year.

For the purposes of NBL player contracting, a player will retain his PPR as at the commencement of the contract and for the duration of that contract. Subsequent NBL playing contracts between the same player and the same club will use the allocated PPR at the commencement season of the new contract.

All initial PPR’s will be reviewed by the Points Appeal Panel prior to the rankings being released to the players. Players who dispute the PPR assigned to them have the opportunity to have such ranking reviewed by the NBL Points Appeals Panel.

The NBL Commission and NBLPA determined the TTP will be 70 points per club. The TTP calculation for each Club is to include all players on the club’s active roster, up to and including players 11 & 12 if contracted. Registered NBL Development players are exempt from the calculation of the TTP.

All first year Restricted Players (imports) shall be assigned a PPR of 10 for the duration of their initial NBL Contract. For subsequent contracts these players’ PPR will be determined using the PPR principles applied to all other contracted NBL players.


What would this mean for Irish Basketball? We haven’t seen the Belfast Star proposal but assume it will work something like the above system tweaked to suit the Irish game.  Would it likely mean teams being allowed to play more than one non European on the court at the same time? Would it be a good thing for the Irish game or how would you like to see it implemented? Let us know in the comments!



Niall is the Co-Founder of the Courtside Collective and . He was one of the founding members of North Star in 2002. He has coached at a variety of levels from kids to senior men's teams. He is currently coach of the LYIT National League team and women's college team.


  1. Dave Doran

    / Reply


    First let me say that I love the fact that people are out here coming up with new ideas is amazing, and never never stop. If we setting for the mess that we have right now, we will never get better.

    OK, now for my less positive views. This will not work in Ireland as long as we are fighting the professionalism of the sport. As long as we are not paying our players, we should be looking at finding ways to get as many of the better players on the floor as possible, not restrict them.
    In Dublin, this may work, as all the clubs are nearby, so players could move if the team is already deemed to be of too high a standard, but what about the country teams. Sligo, 5 years from now could have 6/7 underage internationals stepping up to play Superleague (name change will take getting used to again) which could make too many points, but where are those players to go? Is it really fair to ask them to travel.
    Then there is the opposite approach. Lets take the 70 points system. A team with a like to a college could then bring in 6 D1 Americans (60 points) and then fill their squad with 6 guys from the local d4 team (66 points total).
    The whole point of the salary cap/points systems are to help even out PROFESSIONAL leagues, where there are clear advantages, usually financial, to certain teams in larger markets. For the NBA, without the salary cap, it would be won by the same 3/4 teams every year. (Lakers getting 2billion tv deal, despite what they are putting out on the floor right now) would have all that money to spend on the best players in the world, while a team like OKC who are just about able to break even despite being one of the best teams in the league.

    Let me offer an alternative. lets keep expanding the National Leagues. I love how its growing, probably the best thing that BI are doing right now. (Not going to count the International teams until kids arnt asking for €4000+ to represent their country) But lets stop being so restrictive. Lets put the best possible product on the floor. If a team can bring in 3 Americans, lets let them play (id limit to 3 to give Irish guys a fighting chance.) Lets see a bit of a spectacle on the floor so that we can get more that 30 people up to a game. But, yet again, lets not restrict our Irish players. Just because you have committed to playing at the highest level, lets then let you play in the division below on your clubs second team, where you can take what you learnt and apply it in game minutes, against other Irish guys who are in the same situation as you. Not getting minutes on that team because, again, you are aspiring to build yourself up to that level, lets let those guys play at local level.
    I have talked at length with a friend of mine who spent this year playing in Germany. They have a nice system to develop local talent. In the top league, you can have 4 non german players on the court, and as many as you want in your squad. The league below that its 3, below that its 2. (these are all Professional leagues). Below that its 1 on the floor, in semi pro leagues. But more beneficial, German players can register for multiple teams, depending on them age and eligibility. One guy on his team, (Pro B) was registered on the team the level above, as well as the level below. While he barely saw the court in Pro A (Second division), he learnt from every game he attended. He played limited minutes in Pro B, but got meaningful time, and then in the regional league played a lot. This way he got both the learning of the highest level (he could reach), the meaningful minutes at the pro level as well as the pure reps and court time in the regional league. That is, in my opinion, the best way to let a player develop, while allowing the best players at each level play, raising the standard as a whole.

    Rambling message over, thank you to the 3 people who may make it through this whole thing.


  2. Niall McDermott Post author

    / Reply

    Great post Dave! Going to share it on the Facebook thread!

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