Earlier this week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he believes elite prospects would be better off playing in the NBA D-League straight out of high school instead of spending one season in college. It seems like everyone has had something to say about one-and-dones and “the Calipari way” following the Cats’ recent struggles, and Mark Cuban chimed in with these little nuggets in an ESPN.com story:
“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”
While I’m sure most would agree that the NCAA is hypocritical, it’s not their rule that elite prospects can’t play in the NBA if they’re ready before they turn 19. It’s not Calipari’s rule either. It’s your rule, Mark Cuban–or at least the NBA’s rule. Cuban’s idea though is not too far fetched. The D-League has a minimum age of 18 and if someone wanted to start earning a paycheck right out of high school instead of going to college for a year, they could choose to go that route. If Brandon Jennings can play in Italy for a season before moving on to NBA success, I’m sure there are a few other top prospects who could take a similar path into the D-League and transition successfully into the NBA. To me, I think it would be easier for a teenager to stay in the U.S. as opposed to spending a year overseas. Cuban offered a number of ideas that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could consider to make this option more attractive for star prospects, which you can read by clicking the link below:
I do think the D-League could be an option for some players who financially need a paycheck, even if it’s not NBA lottery-pick money until they turn 19 (or 20…fingers crossed). But is Cuban right, from purely a developmental standpoint, that players would be better off going straight to the D-League instead of playing college hoops? Larry Brown says no way.
“…play for Rick Pitino for a year or two or Tom Izzo or John Calipari or Bill Self, I think Cuban would be happy with what they’re getting.”
Perhaps, Cuban doesn’t consider how bad AAU basketball really is. Calipari still hasn’t fixed many of the bad habits he inherited with his current superstar class, but history shows that he does a pretty good job of preparing stars for the NBA. Could the D-League do any better? Is this idea any threat to college basketball? Larry Brown and his 1,198 NBA coaching wins do not think so. What do you think?