NBA players have a simple reason for wanting to eliminate the ‘one-and-done’ rule, and the league might already be ready for it

  • The NBA is considering ways to get involved with high school basketball, potentially changing the “one-and-done” rule, according to a report.
  • Players have long been critical of the “one-and-done” rule, which they believe delays them from making money and forces them to go to college or play internationally.
  • With NBA teams already treating their G League teams like minor-league operations, they may have a viable path to letting high school players enter the pros and get paid while still developing their games.

The NBA may be looking to get involved in high-school basketball in an effort to improve the current path to the league, according to a report by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

According to the report, the NBA is considering ways to get involved with high-school players and adjust the “one-and-done” rule, which requires players to have one year of experience between high school and the NBA.

With several scandals rocking college basketball, including an FBI investigation into corruption in the college game, many feel it’s time to tweak the rules about how players can enter the NBA.

‘If you’re good enough to play, then you should be in the NBA.’

Current NBA players support ending the one-and-done rule, and for a simple reason – if a player is ready to be in the NBA, he should be in the NBA.

“If you’re good enough to play, then you should be in the NBA,” Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick told Business Insider. “You should play. That’s why I always argue there shouldn’t be an age limit. Guys should be able to come out of high school, not spend a year in college.”

Redick isn’t alone – many other players have expressed similar sentiments. Redick’s teammate Ben Simmons was a vocal critic of the NCAA and the one-and-done system while he was still in college at LSU. In a documentary titled “One and Done,” Simmons said his one year of college served little purpose.

“The NCAA is really f—ed up. Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

“I’m [at LSU] because I have to be here … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

In late February, Kevin Durant said players should be able to make their own decisions.

“You should let these kids make a decision, however they want to,” Durant said. “If they want to come out of high school, it should be on them. You know what I mean? You can’t control everything. So if they feel as though they’re ready, that’s on them. They want to make a decision on their life, that’s on them. If they don’t get drafted, it’s on them.”

When asked if he would have went straight to high school to the NBA, Durant said: “Yeah, probably. I needed the money.”

The NBA needs a farm system – and they might already have one.

Durant noted one of the big concerns about bringing high school-age players into the NBA – there’s a chance they won’t succeed in the NBA environment. Before the NBA created an age limit, there were some high-profile, successful high school players like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, but many other players who weren’t ready to take care of themselves in the league.

LeBron James recently called for the end of one-and-done and noted that the NBA could develop a farm system that many other sports leagues have to develop young prospects.

“I just looked at it like the farm league, like in baseball. Or you look at pros overseas; some of those guys get signed at 14, but they get put into this farm system where they’re able to grow and be around other professionals for three or four years. Then when they’re ready, they hit the national team, or when they’re ready, they become a pro. So I think us, we have to kind of really figure that out, how we can do that …

“We have to figure out if a kid feels like at 16 or 17 he doesn’t feel like the NCAA is for him, or whatever the case may be, [then] we have a system in place where we have a farm league where they can learn and be around the professionals, but not actually become a professional at that point in time.”

Such a system would benefit the NBA’s development league, the G League, which already introduced two-way contracts this season for players to split time between playing in the NBA and developing in the G League.

By allowing high school players into the NBA, the G League could serve as an important mechanism by which teams could draft players and let them develop, easing the transition from high school to pros.

Milwaukee Bucks GM Jon Horst explained to Business Insider how the Bucks have already taken steps into making their G League team, the Herd, like a minor-league team. The team is close by, they employ several of the same staff members, and run similar schemes on offence and defence, allowing their players to prepare for a potential call-up.

“You’ve got a G-League franchise that’s an hour-and-a-half away for us – and by the way that franchise is running the same offence and defence schemes as we are, they have the same medical staff philosophy, performance philosophy as we have,” Horst said. “Operationally, I share staff that are working for me every day that are working down there. So there’s really just such a great continuity between the two that our whole idea is to give our players the feeling that they’re with the Bucks even when they’re with the Herd.

“And I think because of that, you’ll see going forward, for us specifically and I think the rest of the league, I think you’ll see a lot of opportunities for young drafted guys who need to develop spending a ton of time in the G League franchise and the NBA franchise being very comfortable with that, knowing they’re going to develop the way they want to develop.”

Windhorst reported that the NBA is still looking at how, exactly, they could best dip into the high school game, considering several ideas while already eliminating some, like “academies” to train the best high school prospects.

It’s a complex process, and it’s unclear how quickly the NBA can re-route the path to the pros. But it’s clear players have felt change is needed for some time, and the league may already have a viable plan to change the structure.