Over the past week, there have been several reports stating that NBA commissioner Adam Sliver is currently looking at ways to amend or remove the one and done rule. According to ESPN, ” NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several of his top advisers have been engaged in listening tours… re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA”. However, the NBA has an opportunity to abolish the one and done rule while in the process elevating the status of the G-League.
The NBA should use the G-League similarly to how major league baseball uses its farm system. Major league baseball allows youth players to become professionals after graduating high school, but the majority of them are sent to developmental leagues until they’re ready. For instance, the Los Angeles Angels selected Mike Trout out of Millville Senior High School with the 25th pick in the 2009 draft. Once he signed with the organization, he spent the next two years playing in four separate developmental leagues Trout would only get promoted to a different league after he excelled in the current league for a substantial amount of time. For example, Mike played 39 games in the Arizona rookie league until he was promoted to Single A. During his time in the Arizona rookie league, Mike Trout had a batting average of 360 with seven home runs and 25 RBI’s.
Therefore the NBA should allow organizations to draft high school graduates with the premise that these players must spend at least a portion of their rookie year in the G-League. The requirement allows the organization to see how the player is progressing and what skills the player needs to improve. Furthermore, it will reduce the concern from the players union that veterans will be forced out of the league in favor of rookies. This is because a significant amount of NBA head coaches use training camp and preseason to evaluate lineups and how to use a first-year player. As a result, if rookies are forced to be in the G-League, some coaches will be afraid to promote them during the season because they won’t know how the player fits in the system.
However, the only issue with the NBA following the MLB player development model would be the pay scale for developmental players. According to USA Today, most minor league players “earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season”. As a result, the NBA should tweak the pay scale and prorate the contract while in the G-League. According to Forbes, Markelle Fultz signed a contract for 33.7 million over the next four years which means he gets paid 8.4 million per year. If Markelle had to play in the G-League, his yearly salary would get slashed by 50 to 66 percent until he gets promoted. Once Markelle was promoted, the organization would pay him the rest of his annual salary as a bonus for signing the NBA contract or during the remainder of the season. Furthermore, a players salary during his tenure in the G-League should not count against the salary cap of the NBA team.