Monday, June 12, 2017

The Bucks Forest Solution for One & Done

NBA Commissioner/Occasional Bucks Forest Archenemy Adam Silver mentioned recently that the League's 'one & done' rule for Draft eligibility is, "not working for anyone".  We agree!  (for once)  A ton of talented athletes enter the League unprepared, a ton of fans have little-to-no familiarity with their team's incoming rookie(s) and college folks (coaches, University administrators, etc.) are probably annoyed by the Semester At Basketball players that breeze through campus.

The initial assumption was that Silver was touting a system that would force incoming draftees to spend at least two years in college, but apparently it is not that cut and dried.  During an NBA Finals telecast a few days ago, commentators Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were openly advocating for removing any and all waiting time between high school graduation and Draft eligibility.  Myron Medcalf of wrote an article about the topic recently, and several college coaches went on record as being supportive of reinstating high-school-to-the-pros -- which has been banned since 2005 -- as well.

So, which is it?  Let talented athletes get some quick cash straight out of high school, or force guys who want to make a career out of basketball to get some real instruction and seasoning (because, let's be honest, there's very little at the high school/AAU level anymore) before entering the League?

How about they do both?  Bucks Forest's solution is a system that allows for high-school-to-the-pros, but gives a financial incentive to players who go to college.

The idea is to give players a higher salary if they wait to go pro.  So, for example, a player drafted #1 straight out of high school may get a $6 million starting salary, but a player who stayed one season could get $6.5 million.  Maybe make it $7 million for players who stay in school for two years, $7.5 million (25% higher than the 'one & done' baseline) for three years and end it there.

An important aspect of the system would be to continue to reward ex-college stars throughout their NBA careers.  Mid-level exceptions, max contracts and veteran's minimums could all be set 25% higher for players who play college basketball for 3 or 4 years than players who enter the League straight out of high school.

As with any rule change, there could be negative side effects.  If experienced college players were eligible for larger contracts, it could result in some teams lowering their draft value.  The Salary Cap might also need to be adjusted so that teams packed with one & done'ers wouldn't get an unfair advantage.

Whatever happens with the Bucks Forest draft eligibility solution, it was refreshing to this blog's ears to hear Commissioner Silver identify a real problem.  Now, if he would only do something about the officiating.

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