Adam Silver has made it clear that the NBA wants to look at the way the one-and-done rule currently works. The modern version of the rule, implemented in the mid-00s, has come under scrutiny for years, but has especially been in the spotlight in the wake of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.
But still, it’s not like Silver has discussed changing the current format ever since word broke of the FBI’s investigation, this is something he has expressed a desire to analyze for some time. The good news is that Silver is making progress on that front, to the point that he reportedly has an idea of how to change things up.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Silver and a team of advisors have been going to “listening tours and information-gathering missions with an array of stakeholders” on this subject. As Windhorst writes, those involved in the decision making process are working on a plan that goes beyond scrapping the current one-and-done rule and letting any high schooler immediately make the jump to the NBA.
A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.
The NBA is focusing on getting involved in two important periods in which they currently have minimal contact with prospects: the high school years and the time between high school graduation and when a young player is physically and emotionally ready to join the NBA.
It’s an interesting idea, one which would make a ton of sense as the league has put forth a number of new youth initiatives to grow the sport of basketball as a whole. The issue now is that, well, re-shaping the way that the NBA interacts with high schoolers so that an avenue is created for them to not have to worry about college ball is a massive undertaking, and Windhorst wrote that a number of options are on the table.
Some — like making the G League a viable alternative (a la the new program launched by Australia’s National Basketball League) or using existing relationships with USA Basketball and the AAU circuit — are things that could be potential common sense measures. Others, like an ambitious plan to launch academies similar to the ones used by soccer clubs abroad, have also been brought up.
The big snag in any plan, obviously, is that it must be approved by both the league and its players union. It’s not necessarily a major hold up even though the current collective bargaining agreement is up in 2024, because Windhorst says both Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts “are trying to work together on this so that amendments can be made in the short term and are trying to use the unrest in college basketball to find a way to make changes that can hopefully help the entire youth basketball environment.”
No matter what happens, it is good to see that the NBA understands the current system isn’t getting the job done. Any plan to change the way it handles high school players would require a ton of work, but the will power to do something is there.