A day after the NBA and its players reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, there are still apparently some minor issues to work out before a ratification of said CBA is official. Chief among those issues (drug-testing, Developmental League assignments) is the NBA draft rule, which was implemented in 2005 during the last labor negotiations, states that to be eligible for the draft, a player must be 19 years old and/or a year removed from his high school class’ graduation.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the NBA and Players Association are discussing formation of a committee to study the draft rule, with the assumption that any changes to the draft eligibility rules will not affect the 2012 Draft.
That means that star University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, expected to be the number one pick after this year, won’t have to wait an extra year to be paid for his considerable services.
The “one-and-done” rule, as its been described, has become an immensely divisive topic in basketball discussions over the past six years. The pro-college prognosticators believe the NBA’s rule has ruined the sanctity of college basketball, as a number of players step on campus with the sole purpose of being eligible for the draft, only stay academically-eligible for the one required semester, then bounce after the season is done without even thinking about finishing out the spring semester, leaving their respective athletic program with a diminished academic record. This group largely forgets that they had long complained about basketball stars skipping college altogether and going straight to the NBA, draining the college game of major star power.
It can be argued that the one-and-done rule has helped to improve college basketball at least somewhat over the past decade. There is a bit more parody across the nation, as highly ranked high school stars are more spread out over the country and the defections of underclassmen to the Association has given more mid-major programs the chance to compete.
Not to mention, certain schools have benefited heavily from the work of their star freshman. Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to a national title in 2003, Marvin Williams scored the game-winning basketball for North Carolina in 2005, Kevin Durant had one of the more legendary college seasons of all time as a freshman at Texas, and Derrick Rose was the driving force behind Memphis losing one game in route to the national championship game against Kansas in 2008.
All those players went on to be lottery picks in the NBA and become great (with the exception of Williams, who’s solid at this point), and provided the league with pre-packaged and pre-marketed stars who the country got a chance to get to know before being drafted. At this point, with the evidence provided the NBA and the Players Association regarding the success rate of one-and-done stars, there’s really no motivation (outside of keeping players out of team payrolls for one extra year) for changing the draft rule.