Draft Notes: NBL, One-And-Dones, Top Prospects

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.”
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10 thoughts on “Draft Notes: NBL, One-And-Dones, Top Prospects

  1. Thomas Swanson

    The problem with letting players return to college is the draft is in July. Most colleges have already replaced their scholarship and don’t have any left.
    The NBL is an option.

    • Michael Chaney

      It’s at the end of June and not July, but your point still stands.

      I agree with Kerr in that it’s not far to players, but you’re also right that logistically that isn’t necessarily easy to do.

    • Z-A

      They get 13 scholarships a season. There’s only 13 to 15 guys on a team anyway. Not all of them are scholarship athletes, some of them are walk-ons and teams save some available to commit to recruits. I don’t see that as a huge hurdle.

      They should let every single player enter the draft every single year and be welcomed back to school. Baseball does a version of this.

      • Thomas Swanson

        It won’t happen. You are just being Dionnis. There’s a huge amount of politics involved. It’s more than just adding a scholarship.

        • Z-A

          No Dionis would have said something like College sports are overrated, just get rid of them. You don’t even need to add draft picks to set it up like College baseball and MLB draft style. All that needs to change in my scenario, is the nonsense of amateur status. Olympics don’t care anymore and they are of the same level of corruptness as the NCAA.

  2. Thomas Swanson

    Getting the NCAA to let players come back after not being drafted will take years to be approved, just like Silver taking years to figure out what to do. It comes down to bridging the gap between the Australian $78,000 and letting them play in the G League for $26,000 (they may prefer college).

      • Thomas Swanson

        In college basketball, you have to have a scholarship opening before you can use it. Players now have to let schools know after the combine if they are coming back. The end of the recruiting season correlates to the end of the combine and letting schools know if they are returning. There aren’t openings after that.
        It looks like the Australian league is the best bet for guys like LiAngelo. They say he wouldn’t have made it in the G League.

  3. Thomas Swanson

    People forget others trying to get the NCAA to pay athletes and taking them to court has been going on for many years. Making NCAA rule changes takes years. It’s the college coaches and alumni violating the process, not those voting on it.
    The Andrew Luck’s dad, Condoleeza Rice’s, and college presidents voting on changes are some pretty smart people. It’s not like Steve Kerr and LeBron walking into an office and telling them they want the NCAA to approve letting undrafted players return to their schools and the NCAA saying we’ll do it. The NCAA just approved changing the dates players could sign up for the draft (letting them go to the NBA combine) and having to pull their names out.
    The NBA would have to move up the draft before the NCAA would allow schools to add scholarships to let players return. The coaches would love it. Those paying for the scholarships wouldn’t.

  4. x%sure

    Tha Australian offer can relieve a lot of pressure for change. Good news bad news IDK… better than some options, lesser than others… the kids would be better off with a year in college, but it’s better for society than 18yos in the NBA.

    Canadian pro football has always been able to make the same offer for young US football players but they have not wanted that role.

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