In theory this is a reasonable post, I suppose import restrictions date back to the time pre-1989 where all leagues were predominantly comprised of local talent, before global competition was open to 'professionals'.
Obviously the NBA and now the Euroleague have no import restrictions, allowing greater talent to be stockpiled (an ex-British colleague of mine mentioned to me that if the percentage of US born players in the NBA falls below a threshold that may change, but for now a moot point). I too would like to see less import restrictions in our league, but consider that with 8 times 11 full time professionals, there are only a maximum of (obviously) 88 full time jobs for Australian hoopsters, which also includes:
-three unrestricted imports.
- US born naturalised players (omnipresent in the 1980s and 1990s, now down to Lisch- they vote and pay taxes so should rightly be considered Australian).
- Next Star one and done players*.
- Asian imports.
- US raised players with Australian roots (Drake U'U, back in the day Ian Davies).
- New Zealand citizens.
My guesstimate is that there are only 50 something full time jobs available for Australian born and raised players. Let's say more teams utilise the Next Stars and Asian player programs, while the number of NZ players coming into the league continues to rise, a tipping point may be reached (if not already), where a player reaches a critical age, say 16/17 like Luke Jackson, and realises there are too few jobs, let alone well paying jobs, to consider a making a career from basketball. This is not the case in Europe or for most US pros.
I like the current import restrictions provided, but the Australian NBL needs a minimum of 10, probably 12 teams to be viable, and assuming suitable passive income can be provided from the league (media rights and more), with off season employment through the NZ NBL and maybe the possibility of Asian leagues allowing Australians as local Asian imports like in soccer.