Commissioner Adam Silver says NBA is 'conflicted' on one-and-done rule
Silver noted that there are many factors at play with the issue affecting both the NBA and NCAA
All-Star Saturday night is all about showcasing the league's best talents in their various specialities, but it's also a chance for journalists to ask NBA commissioner Adam Silver questions about the state of the league.
One of the questions asked to Silver on this Saturday was about the one-and-done rule. As it stands, players are not allowed to enter the NBA Draft until they are 19 years old. In addition, they must also be one year removed from their high school graduating class. This requires most players to play one year somewhere else -- usually in the NCAA.
Since the rule was put in place, there have been people pushing for its removal. Recently, momentum has been gathering toward a change in the rule, and Silver indicated that it's something the league has been investigating with both the NCAA and the player's association.
Silver said that the league is conflicted about the rule, but as of right now, it doesn't seem any serious change is imminent.
Silver's full response:
In terms of one-and-done, I think there's a lot going on. There's a commission that Mark Emmert and the NCAA appointed, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and so that commission that includes college presidents, athletic directors, former NBA players is taking an overall look at the issue. We realize that the whole nature of the one-and-done is that we don't operate in isolation. Where we choose to set with our players association, a minimum age, has an impact on college basketball as well. We've been having discussions with Condoleezza Rice's commission. And so, as I understand it, they're looking to issue some recommendations in the spring, so we'll be interested to see where they come out on that.
In terms of the NBA, we're conflicted to be honest. 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. 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.
Just the last thing I'll throw in there just as another factor, and I hear this from players in our league all the time, it's 'don't forget the vets.' And it's not just the minutes on the floor, but they play an important role in mentoring young players as well, even for some of the veterans who may not have much playing time in terms of games. They're important in the locker room, they're important during practice time. So that's something we have to look at to, whether if we shifted our minimum age from 19 to 18, we'd be shifting the whole league younger. We're not by any means rushing through this. I think this is actually a case where outside the cycle of collective bargaining, we can spend more time on it with the player's association, talk to individual players, talk to their executive board and really try to understand the pros and cons of moving the age limit.
Silver's answer is in depth, detailed and also unsurprising.
This is a highly complicated issue, and as Silver noted, there's all sorts of organizations and factors to take into account. Whenever there's valid reasons on both sides of an issue, it's hard to make a big change because someone involved is likely going to be unhappy.
It does seem that eventually some sort of change will be made. One potential solution is to allow players to enter the NBA at age 18, but mandate that they stay at least two seasons if they go to college.
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