As a whole, the NBA is growing both domestically and abroad.
But, that doesn’t mean that commissioner Adam Silver is going to sit back and relax. In fact, he’s made it very clear that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the Association.
Just a couple months into his tenure back in 2015, he issued a lifetime ban to then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught on tape uttering racist comments. That action was an attempt to restore the integrity of that particular club and also sent a clear message to every other team.
He also openly spoke out against North Carolina’s controversial transgender bathroom law and moved the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte in protest. The NBA has made it clear that social inclusion is a pillar of its future.
In an effort to prevent teams from tanking, he also introduced new lottery rules, which will take effect next summer. Teams will no longer be as incentivized to lose as they currently are. Tanking as a whole has been one of the league’s top issues, as has the inability for star high schoolers to declare for the draft without spending a year in college, abroad or at a post-graduate academy.
Hearing the concerns of the NBA community, it seems as though Silver and the league office is considering making a change.
Dating back to the 2018 All-Star Game, Silver made it clear that his mind wasn't made up on the subject.
“In terms of the NBA, we're conflicted to be honest,” he said at the time. “We're outside of our cycle of collective bargaining right now, which is when we generally address an issue like that. But Michelle Roberts and I also agree that there's no reason we shouldn't also be discussing it right now. So we've had some meetings with the player's association where we've shared data -- success rates of young players coming into the league. We've talked a lot about youth development, in terms of whether we should be getting involved with some of these young players even earlier than when they come into college.”
“And from a league standpoint, on one hand, we think we have a better draft when we've had an opportunity to see these young players play at an elite level before they come into the NBA,” he continued. “On the other hand, I think the question for the league is, in terms of their ultimate success, are we better off intersecting with them a little bit younger. Are we better off bringing them into the league when they're 18, using our G-League as it was designed to be as a development league, and getting them minutes on the court there. And there's also the recognition that for some of these elite players, there's no question that they could perform in the NBA at 18 years old.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA are currently discussing the possibility of allowing high school seniors to enter the league. But, there’s a catch: it couldn’t take place until 2020 at the earliest.
It appears as though ending the one-and-done system would be beneficial to both the NBA and college basketball. Standout players would be able to make a living for themselves and their families right out of high school and could avoid the necessity of spending a year in school, especially if they have no academic reason for being there. The NCAA has also been hurt by the current structure, as there has been a lot of turnover due to the sheer number of freshmen that declare for the NBA draft every year.
Although it’s not final, there’s no reason to assume that Silver and his team won’t make whatever decision is best for the league.
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