There may not be a more controversial or hotly debated rule in basketball than the one-and-done rule.
For those that aren’t in the know, the one-and-done rule was put in place by the NBA in 2005 and requires an athlete to be 19 years old and a full year removed from high school in order to be eligible to be taken in the NBA Draft. The point of the rule was to allow NBA teams more time to scout the players they were drafting and to create a buzz and a brand for the incoming rookies. The rule also benefitted college basketball. One year of Kevin Durant is better than no years of Kevin Durant.
But if John Infante of the By Law Blog is to be believed, than we may be headed on a path of destruction for the rule. For the first time, Mark Emmert and David Stern are publicly putting heads on the issue:
Thus the coming showdown. The war of words over whose “fault” the one-and-done “crisis” (both terms used loosely) is has already started. Both organizations have their next move in the works. The NBA and the union are studying the age limit with a possible move to 20 years-old and two years out of high school. The NCAA is mulling reductions in the number of basketball games and has already passed new initial eligibility requirements that may sideline for a year many of the players the NBA was looking to get extra time to evaluate.
If the current trend continues, the NCAA will increasingly move toward not being an acceptable alternative for the NBA’s purposes. At some point, the NBA would have to move toward a more active role in identifying potential pros at a younger age and investing directly in their development through youth and/or reserve league teams. Not to mention a mechanism to sign homegrown players that both provides an incentive for teams to take youth development seriously but still provides a degree of competitive balance.
Infante admittedly blows the quotes that he pulls from Emmert and Stern out of proportion, but in his mind, the answer to finding the best structure for hoops in America is if the NBA is able to develop a way to get players training and exposure outside of the NCAA.
The article makes some interesting points, and given that we are just eight days away from the NCAA’s early-entry deadline, now is as good of a time as any to begin discussing the draft.