OTT: Rethinking the NBA draft system

Recently I was listening to late night ESPN Radio on my drive home from a job site and a guest (I think it was Digger Phelps) was commenting on how much parity there is right now in NCAA Men's basketball and it's due to how the NBA drafts.

Currently the basic NBA rules for the draft are as follows:

- 19 yrs or older during the calendar year of the draft AND 1 year removed from High School

I think it's ludicrous that a major organization like the NBA is willfully allowing and advocating the youth in America to skip a college education.  I understand a lot of kids can't afford to go to college, but if you're able to be drafted in the NBA, I'd be willing to bet that you're scholarship material for 99.999999% of the colleges in the US.

So here's what I propose:

1.  Graduated HS seniors are eligible for their RIGHTS to be drafted.  As an NBA team, you retain the rights of a drafted player, can negotiate with the player's representative a contract, but the contract may not be signed and the player may not be played until either the player is 21 or completes 2 years of college.  If the player completes more than 3 years of college, they may submit to be redrafted or may sign with the original team that drafted them.  (The team gets a compensation pick)

2.  Non drafted HS seniors that go directly to college must complete 3 years of college or turn 21 to be eligible to be drafted.

3.  Junior or Community College players may have their rights drafted at anytime while they are in school, but must complete a 3rd year of college or turn 21 in order to sign a contract.

4.  International players are eligible for rights to be drafted if they are in the final year of their contracts with their international team.  NBA teams can hold they're rights indefinitely.


The NCAA is a watered down product right now.  Imagine if Lebron, DWade, Dwight Howard, Loul Deng, Andre Igoudala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, etc had all stayed or at least gone to college.  That would not only make them more complete players coming into the NBA, but made the NCAA viable and interesting.  The NBA has a duty to society to support the education of our young people.  They need to prove that they believe an education is a valuable thing.  Giving money to schools is all fine and dandy, but if you're taking athletes out of the classrooms, you're taking them off of the schools campuses as well, which keeps donor money away from schools that need successful athletics programs to maintain other programs like the arts and humanities.

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