- The NBA has been working for a while on a way to allow players to not only skip college, but to work with young players and help prepare them for life in the pros.
- This is an issue that has taken on new importance with a major college basketball scandal breaking out, and a new plan could be presented within months.
- The league was at one point considering setting up European-style development academies, but that idea has been scrapped.
- Expanding the developmental G League is an option.
With college basketball in the midst of a massive scandal over illegal payments, the NBA looks ready to take steps to end the one-and-done rule and allow elite prospects to skip college, according to ESPN writer Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst writes that Silver has been gathering information about how to fix the one-and-done rule for months, but this most recent scandal in college basketball has given the issue renewed urgency. Silver could present a plan as early as within the next few months, per Windhorst.
The league aims to develop a plan which will go beyond simply allowing top prospects to enter the NBA at age 18, but to actually get involved with players in the high school years and help them develop into NBA-ready players.
“We are looking at changing the relationship we have with players before they reach the NBA,” one high-ranking league official reportedly told Windhorst. “This is a complex challenge, and there’s still a lot of discussion about how it’s going to happen, but we all see the need to step in.”
At one point the league had seriously considered letting teams set up their own academies for developing young prospects, like how European soccer clubs develop players, but ultimately decided against that idea.
Instead, Windhorst writes, the league is looking at how it can connect with prospects in high school, and ” . . . bring in some of its experts to advise high-level prospects on training methods, recovery, nutrition and life skills. All this in addition to providing professional coaching and playing techniques that could better translate to the professional game and make the eventual transition to the NBA, G League or even high-level college basketball easier.”
Expanding the G League and making it a more lucrative option for young players, an idea touted by LeBron James, who is also a vice president of the player’s union, is also a possibility Windhorst mentions.
Ultimately, it appears the league is serious about giving elite prospects an opportunity outside of college basketball, while working to ensure that they are physically and emotionally mature enough for pro basketball before starting their careers.