First off, why are one-and-dones a bad thing?
Personally, I think they are bringing the overall quality of basketball down significantly. You have so many unprepared athletes going into the pros that it takes them 3-4 years, if not more, before they are able to really compete consistently at the highest level. Most of them don’t make it that long in the pros and it’s off to Europe or the D-League to try and work on there game in an attempt to get back into the NBA…a shot they may never get again. Teams draft players on potential who a lot of times do not pan out because the player lacks the fundamentals, mental toughness or maturity to work on their game and improve, skills and toughness they more than likely would have gotten had they gone to college for at least two years. This waters down the NBA product and dilutes the college product because players that should be staying 2-3 years are off chasing their dream. I don’t fault them for that but again…most aren’t ready for that. But you have teams carrying players that 15 years ago probably couldn’t make a team. There are always exceptions to this obviously but for the majority of players, this is the case.
So, what can be done about this?
To start, ESPN recently did an article about the Golden State Warriors owning their own D-League team and moving it closer to the Warriors. I think in the future every team will have something similar. Money will obviously be a factor, but I think player development/retainment will outweigh any cost associated with owning a D-League franchise.
I believe the NBA should adopt a system similar to MLB, but with a few changes. You can have the choice to:
– Go “pro” (more on this in a minute)
– Go “pro” and have the option to go to college (minimum of three years) with the team that drafts you retaining your rights until you decide to leave college for the NBA. That team also would be allowed to pay for your education (saves scholarships) and provide a stipend. If a player chooses this option, there would have to be a deadline so a college knows if they going to have a player or not, but allow the athlete enough time to figure out their draft status.
– Go to college for a minimum of three years, then enter the NBA draft.
In this scenario, there would be two separate drafts. The first draft would be for the high school seniors that have not attended college or junior college. You could also have international players younger than 21 in this draft. They would be required to declare if they are going pro, in which they waive their right to participate in college basketball, or if they are going pro but want to go to college for a minimum of three years. It would take place before the usual June NBA Draft. This draft could be like the MLB draft (at least used to be) in that it practically goes until teams no longer wishes to pick. You could have a pay scale based on pick. For players that go pro but choose to attend college for a minimum of three years, they would sign their contract once they leave college. There would be agreements in place that the NBA team would pay for the players education and provide a stipend as long as they remain in college. Once the player leaves, they would sign with the team that drafted them if the team still is interested (like with second round picks in the NBA Draft, in which they retain a players rights and can sign them years later). If the team is no longer interested (again this would have to be decided by a certain deadline after a player leaves college), then that player could enter the second draft. Players taken in this draft have the right to be called up by their respective team at any point. This does not prohibit the exceptions (such as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving) from being able to immediately contribute to their team. It also does not force them (in Kyrie’s case) to attend college if they are not interested in doing so.
The second draft would take place the same time as the current NBA Draft and would be for those players who have attended college for a minimum of three years, or are over 21 (for international and junior college players). This draft would be two rounds like it is now and have a pay scale. For the most part, it would be the same, aside from who is eligible to enter this draft.
I believe this would help to create a true farm system for the NBA in which the players that do not wish to attend college can train and receive instruction that will help them become a successful NBA player and person. This would also allow teams to provide the tools to players to ensure they have a good foundation for handling their money and adjusting to the NBA lifestyle. In the long run, I think it helps to bring the level of basketball back up to where it was in the late 80’s and early 90’s, while better preparing players for life in general. It would not prevent anyone from following their dream or putting their dream on hold while they choose to get an education to better prepare themselves for life after basketball, which comes sooner than later for many.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.