NBA: Draft Eligibility Rules Could Change By 2021

The NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams on Friday telling them that draft eligibility rules could change by 2021, but no earlier, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The memo indicates that the league is reviewing issues “related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball.”

According to Lowe, the memo doesn’t mention the one-and-done rule specifically, but reports have suggested that the NBA is considering making changes to that rule, which requires prospects to be 19 years old or at least one year removed from high school in order to become eligible to enter the draft.

The league presumably wants to give teams plenty of warning if such a change is coming, since allowing prospects to enter the draft directly out of high school could create one year when the draft class is especially loaded. For instance, if the NBA eliminates the one-and-done rule for the 2021 draft, the final group of one-and-done players and the first group of high school prospects could both be draft-eligible that year. The NBA’s memo says that the eligibility rules aren’t expected to undergo any changes for the 2019 or 2020 drafts.

While teams still have plenty of time to prepare for potential changes to draft eligibility rules, the timing of the memo is worth noting. As Lowe observes, we’ll likely see some clubs trade future picks as part of draft-night deals next week, so the league wants those teams to have as much information as possible about the potential makeup of future draft classes.

The Heat, in particular, could be impacted by this news, since they’ve already sent their unprotected 2021 first-round pick to the Suns. The Grizzlies and Bucks could also end up surrendering unprotected first-rounders in ’21 to the Celtics and Suns, respectively, but those traded picks – which are protected in 2019 and 2020 – will likely change hands before then.

According to Lowe, the memo indicates that the NBA will discuss draft eligibility issues further at the league’s annual meetings at the Las Vegas Summer League next month.

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6 thoughts on “NBA: Draft Eligibility Rules Could Change By 2021

  1. hiflew

    I would think that teams should worry less about losing a first round pick. With essentially the best players from two classes eligible in the same year, the second round will have far more talent than usual.

  2. Kenleyfornia74

    Terrible idea. If the players want to risk going pro thats on them. This would be holding back players that are skilled enough to be in the NBA. An 18 year old is an adult, they can go

    • hiflew

      So do you think an 18 year old math whiz should automatically be hired by a top engineering firm right out of high school? Or do you think that math whiz should go to college and learn more about the career before jumping in without knowing what he is doing.? He might succeed, he might even thrive, but don’t you believe his chances would be better with more schooling?

      And what of the engineering firm? Don’t they have the right to expect their employees to be fully trained? Of course. That is why you can’t go in with your A in geometry and say I expect you to give me millions to build a bridge, I have the potential to be a great engineer.

  3. jorge78

    They should attend college 3 years like in NFL. Rare is the teen that is truly ready.
    College is the NBA’s minor leagues. They should develop there.

  4. About time, is a free country if they think they ready, but most importantly teams think they are ready I am all for it.

  5. Jeff Radzun

    The overwhelming majority of players need at least 2 years of college ball to be NBA ready.
    If you draft guys straight out of HS most will need 3-4 years to develop so you’ll be wasting those 4 years until they’re eligible for FA and demand a huge contract while all you’re doing is grooming player x for his new team. Splendid.

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