The current “one and done” rule is one that has received a high amount of attention in recent years, especially during this season given the number of high-level freshmen on the scene. That rule is a product of negotiations between the NBA’s owner and its players association, with the 2004 NBA Draft being the last one in which players could go directly from high school to the professional ranks.
Every few years when the league’s collective bargaining agreement would need to be renegotiated the rule would seemingly fall by the wayside, with the owners and players eventually moving on to topics that were deemed more important than the possibility of making young players wait longer (or not at all) to have a shot at the NBA.
That could change in the near future, with David Stern retiring as NBA commissioner last week and being replaced by his long-time right hand man in Adam Silver. According to NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper, one of Silver’s biggest goals is the raise the NBA’s age limit to 20 and require that a player’s high school graduating class be two years removed before being eligible to enter the NBA.
At present time, and this would likely be the case even if the age limit were raised to 20, players don’t have to attend college during their one year “wait.” There’s the D-League and overseas leagues, although the number of players who have taken advantage of these options has been low. For some this is because college basketball is seen as the “best” place for players to develop, but there are certainly people who don’t agree with that.
Will a rule change benefit college basketball? Yes. Who wouldn’t want to know that they’d be able to watch a player like Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins for two years (and to be clear, we don’t know for a fact that they won’t be back in school next year despite the assumptions)? But there are also other variables at play, the biggest of which likely being if the NBA decides at some point to use the D-League as a true minor league “system” for it’s professional franchises.
At present time 14 NBA teams have a direct relationship with a D-League franchise, with the D-League having a total of 17 teams. Is the D-League in position to expand, thereby allowing all 30 NBA teams to have its own franchise to develop young players in? The answer to that question could impact how beneficial an age limit change would be to college basketball as well.
Clearly there are many variables to be discussed when commissioner Silver meets with the newly elected powers that be of the NBPA. All college basketball can do is sit back and wait, with many hoping that the NBA will add a year to its age limit.