Friday, April 22, 2011

On One-and-Dones

I'm with Pat Forde that Josh Selby never should have been forced to play college basketball for a year before entering the draft.

I'm long on the record as being anti-age-limit. It makes no sense for anyone -- not the players, not the colleges, not "college basketball," not even the NBA.

I wish that all players who know before college that they will be one-and-done would make the economically and competitively rational decision to simply go straight to the D League.

In the D-League they will get coaching geared exclusively and specifically to maximizing their draft stock and their NBA potential, as opposed to college coaching geared specifically to NOT maximize their pro potential, but the coach's win-loss record.

In the D-League they will get paid -- not much (roughly $30,000), but better than nothing (cue jokes about being paid to go to college X). They are also eligible for two things that the college player is not: Endorsement dollars and cash advances from anyone.

But I mainly go back to the idea that you spend a year honing your game (and being honed) specifically to succeed in the NBA, which should -- in theory -- maximize not only your draft status but your long-term prospects, as you get drafted, be productive faster and start the clock to free agency.

The only folks who will claim to lose if top preps skip college hoops are the coaches and media who rely on the star power of the one-and-dones to justify their existence. If they cared about the kids -- or the game, at either the pro or college level -- they would support going pro.

Or they could simply get rid of the unnecessarily paternalistic age limit and let the free market decide if a player is draft-worthy. That worked out pretty well beforehand.

-- D.S.

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