Last Friday, ESPN’s Pat Forde wrote a piece on the Josh Selby saga at Kansas, which gives us some more perspective on the NBA one-and-done rule and how it effects the college game. Given that we just profiled Selby on Pro-or-No, I thought this would be good timing. It was a good read, and I’d suggest it for anyone unfamiliar with the Selby situation.
I think the story brings us back to the fundamental question with all of this, which is: what is the NBA trying to achieve with this age requirement? I think if we, as fans, could get some insight on that question, all parties would be better off. Is it that the league wants a more mature player entering the draft? Because if so, adding one year to the requirement–going from age 18 to age 19–seems like putting a band aid on a gunshot wound. It might make the situation look a little bit better from the outside, but it doesn’t really fix anything.
The idea of mirroring baseball on this issue is not a new one, but it also comes up in Forde’s article. In this scenario, the NBA, like the MLB, would pass a rule saying that a player can either declare for the draft out of high school at age 18 or go to college, but if he chooses college he must stay for at least three years. The problem with this scenario is that it would likely require the league to vastly increase the legitimacy of their developmental league as a viable minor league system, like baseball has. Well, that’s all well and good, except for the fact that it would cost money, and if you’ve followed what would be classified as an almost-definite lockout coming up, you realize that the league doesn’t have much cash to spare right now.
So, for the time being, we are stuck with the current one-and-done rule, even though every party involved with the rule suffers rather than benefits from it. Maybe it will be one of the issues addressed in the next CBA talks, but maybe not. In the meantime, we’ll continue to see guys like Selby, who would have entered the draft out of high school, actually hurt their draft stock by going to college because their heart simply was not in it (and, sure, getting injured doesn’t help either).
As Forde mentions, the school is hurt because of all the resources–i.e. costs associated with recruiting, actual scholarship dollars, training staff time and cost, etc.–associated with bringing a guy in. Selby is hurt because he more-or-less wasted a year of his career playing somewhere where he had very little interest in being, as well as hurting his draft stock in the process. And, NBA franchises are hurt because they now have to figure out whether or not to make significant investments in the unproven Josh Selbys of the world.
Time to step up, David Stern…