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Report Calls for NBA to Allow HS Players to Turn Pro

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Copyright 2018 Richmond Newspapers, Inc.
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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)

 

The commission wants 18-year-olds to be eligible again for the NBA draft, and the NBA Players Association would make that deal today.

Change will take longer than that.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver senses the league's age limit isn't working. Requiring U.S. players to be 19 years old and one year removed from high school has sent many of them to a year of college they don't want, and delayed the full-time basketball instruction pro teams prefer.

But whether the league would agree to allow players to come straight from high school again, or want them to wait two years before becoming draft eligible, has been a sticking point practically since the age limit was enacted in 2005.

The league and union were non-committal about change in a joint statement.

"Regarding the NBA's draft eligibility rules, the NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game," Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts said.

Now could be the time to finally move it forward. Change has to be bargained by the NBA and NBPA, but they don't need to wait for the next CBA to do it. And with nearly every team having its own G League affiliate, there is a legitimate minor league where 18-year-olds could play without having to do it on campus.

WHY IT COULD WORK: Because the timing may be right. With now 27 teams, two-way contracts allowing easier paths to the NBA and a fresh increase in salary, the G League has never been closer to being an option on par with college. As shown recently when high school All-American Darius Bazley chose the G League over his commitment to play at Syracuse, even top players may consider it.

WHY IT WOULDN'T WORK: Ending the age limit doesn't necessarily end one-and-done. Players who know they aren't going to make an NBA roster out of high school might prefer a tuition-paid year of being the big man on campus at Duke or Kentucky over a year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Fort Wayne, Indiana, or some other G League city.

WHY IT'S KEY TO THE SCANDAL: The report cries out for help with one-and-done, noting that "only the NBA and the NBPA can change this rule." The commission says the NCAA may have to mandate that all scholarships be for three or four years if the age limit isn't ended.

 

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April 26, 2018
 
 
 

 

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