The NBA announced Monday that it is entertaining a revision to the one-and-done rule that relegates draft prospects to a one-year break between high school and the NBA. Following a massive FBI investigation of the NCAA regarding player eligibility and funding, commissioner Adam Silver took a proactive stance in addressing the prep to pro path.
LaVar Ball and his sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo also pushed the conversation this season when Ball yanked his sons from their respective collegiate and high school programs to pursue a professional career overseas. Late last year Ball also prodded the idea to start a prep-to-pro league to pay high school grads $10,000 a month.
A long and winding eligibility history is woven into the fabric of the NBA, but the baseline is this: 2005 marked the final time high school age players were directly eligible for the NBA draft. Andrew Bynum, the 10th overall selection in 2005 draft, remains the youngest selected player, at 17 years and 244 days old.
With a vested interest in acquiring top talent, the NBA’s focus on bettering relationships with high school athletes is paramount. The league has its hands in development with both G-League and USA Men’s Basketball, as well as the recently established Jr. NBA.
While most are subjected to a year of college participation, other strategies exist to pass the time until a player’s 19th birthday. Current New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay escaped college play by joining the Guangdong Southern Tigers before being selected seventh in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA,” an league source relayed to ESPN. “This is a complex challenge, and there’s still a lot of discussion about how it’s going to happen, but we all see the need to step in.”
Revisions to draft rules would be just one of many fixes coming to the NBA. Recently, the league has attempted to curtail tanking by reforming the draft lottery, disconnecting the chances for a top draft pick from teams with the lowest record.
Though nothing is set in stone, the dedication to building the league through earnest feedback and trial-and-error should keep the NBA at the forefront of professional basketball worldwide.