With commissioner Adam Silver exploring ways to adjust the one-and-done rules that prevent high-schoolers from making the leap directly to the NBA, Australia’s professional basketball league appears ready to capitalize on an opening.
According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the Australian National Basketball League has formalized a rule that will give teams an extra roster spot next season for NBA-draft-eligible players. A player signed using that roster slot will be guaranteed approximately $78K USD, funded directly by the NBL, sources tell Givony.
Previously, Australian clubs were limited to three import players, and many teams were reluctant to dedicate one of those spots to an unproven 18-year-old. However, this fourth import slot, funded by the league, should give the NBL a better chance to attract players who want to forgo the NCAA before entering the draft, as Terrance Ferguson did a year ago.
“The NBL is considered one of the best leagues in the world and this initiative will give these up and coming stars an opportunity to create a name for themselves on the way to being drafted into the NBA,” NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger told Givony. “As Terrance Ferguson demonstrated, there are a number of players who for whatever reason won’t be part of the U.S. college system but have NBA aspirations and are good enough to be drafted. This will give them the chance to develop in a world class league in the NBL and push their claims for the NBA.”
Here are a few more draft-related notes:
- Warriors head coach Steve Kerr weighed in on the one-and-done debate, arguing that the NCAA should allow early entrants who go undrafted to return to their respective schools. “Why not? What’s the harm?” Kerr said, per ESPN. “We talk about amateurism and all this stuff, but if you’re truly trying to do what’s right for the kid, and the kid declares for the draft and doesn’t get drafted, you know what? Welcome him back. Do something good for the kids.”
- In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Givony and Mike Schmitz single out some prospects that have the most at stake during the NCAA’s conference tournament season. While the Givony and Schmitz name several players ranked further down on ESPN’s big board, big-name prospects like Mohamed Bamba, Trae Young, and Michael Porter Jr. headline the list of youngsters worth watching.
- Sean Deveney of The Sporting News spoke to one league scout to get his take on 10 college prospects who have big months of March ahead of them. The scout made some interesting comments on Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Moritz Wagner (Michigan), and several other prospects, noting that he believes Arizona’s Deandre Ayton is the favorite to be picked first overall in June. “He just dominates the middle so completely,” the scout said of Ayton. “I don’t think there is much that can happen that will knock him out of the top spot. He is not a sure thing in that spot, but he is ahead of everyone else.”