Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Xavier Henry: Why Not Try D-League?

Great post by Dash at Deadspin about the Henry Brothers at Kansas. Xavier, the can't-miss star, seems uninterested in college for anything than the minimum before he can turn pro.

He doesn't want to go to Europe because he thinks its too far off the radar (yeah, because Jennings' Top 10 draft status and shoe deal really suffered) but he doesn't want to go to class.

Here is what his solution should be, and it's so simple: Go to the D-League.

(1) Be the trendsetter, the first top prep to go to the NBA's minor league. Being the prep to go to Europe is totally played out now that Jennings has done it after h.s. (and Jeremy Tyler did it before h.s. was even over). Chance to stake out new marketing ground.

(2) Sign the shoe endorsement deal today, along with any other marketing deals he can get. He doesn't even really need the money; the shoe deal would be about the marketing support.

(3) The D-League would be incented to put Henry in a position to succeed: Make him the team's star, develop his game for the NBA and help, not hurt, his draft stock.

(4) As for visibility, I could imagine that the novelty of Henry's year in the D-League would make it an appealing play for ESPN or TNT to produce a game or two.

The big thing is this: Why should he (or Bill Self or fans) "suffer" through his cynical single year at Kansas when he really just wants to be a pro? If he wants to be a pro, go pro: The D-League is right there, available to him.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

G. said...

This is a great point, and one of the few columns about the 1-and-done that make sense. There are many flawed assumptions and sanctimoneous, yet empty, cries about the topic.

Many act as if it is a high schooler's "right" to declare for the draft, and that the NBA is taking away a player's livelihood by forcing them to either play in college or wait a year. The NBA is a business, and needs to posture itself to put out the best product it can. If that is enacting an age limit, so be it. A player's earning power is not inhibited if he can't declare for the draft. As you illustrate, he can play in the NBDL for a year. By itself, it doesn't pay a lot, but still...it probably pays more than 75% of the jobs that a brand new HS graduate just can walk into. And as you stated, there are endorsement (in addition to agent advances) earning possibilities, too. I mean really...am I supposed to feel sorry that a kid who didn't take care of a minimal amount of high school academic responsibilities to take a minimal amount of college coursework isn't getting paid millions of dollars right out of the gate?
I think the NBA is scared some floodgates will be opened if they let too much high school talent into the NBDL...but, I think it is better than the alternative of kids cheating or going to Europe. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.