My idea isn’t groundbreaking as it has been proposed before; in fact it is implemented currently by the NCAA. In baseball, you have a choice of playing pro ball out of high school. You can opt to play professionally the day after you earn your diploma if you want. In fact, you don’t even have to make your decision until AFTER you’ve been drafted. If you analyze the situation and decide that you want to go to college, you are committed for a minimum of three years.
So the option is yours. You have all the facts. You know how much money you’re being offered based on the rookie salary scale. You know which team has your rights and you know that if you turn it all down, that your name won’t be called again until at least after your junior year. And then what? You again get to decide whether you want to return for your senior season or play professionally then.
I would propose a slightly modified version of the baseball rule.
- Use the same structure as baseball
- Allow players to declare after high school, and if drafted allow them to play
- If they aren’t drafted, or aren’t satisfied with their draft status, allow them to go to college, assuming they haven’t hired an agent.
- Provide supplemental draft picks the following year to NBA teams that don’t sign their first round picks.
- Non-playoff teams get their supplemental picks after the lottery (after "traditional" pick 14), while playoff teams get theirs after the first round (after "traditional" pick 30). This would allow bottom dwelling teams to improve almost immediately and improve parity.
- Your supplemental draft placement is based on where you should be drafting, regardless of trades. For example, if a playoff team trades up to draft second overall, their supplemental pick will still be at the end of the first round.
- Because they are a gift from the NBA, supplemental picks cannot be traded.
- If a team drafts a player with a supplemental pick who does not sign, they receive no additional supplemental picks the following year.
- Expand the NBA Draft to three rounds.
- I know, I know. Second round draft picks rarely make a team, so why expand? With players having the option to bulk at being drafted, teams still need to fill rosters, so expanding the draft to three rounds might enable a team who can’t sign their first round player to still bring at least two rookies to camp.
There are probably some holes in this idea, as there are in any others. But I think it allows players like Selby and Derrick Rose to leave when they feel the need. It also allows guys like Perry Jones III to go to school and develop not only as a player, but as a man. There won’t be pressure on them each offseason to make decisions, and all the while both the college and NBA games benefit from their presence on a campus.