NBA Draft Needs to Fix Its Rules and Learn from the MLB

Craig ForrestalContributor IIIFebruary 1, 2012

Derek Rose (Bulls #1) and LeBron James (Miami #6)
Derek Rose (Bulls #1) and LeBron James (Miami #6)Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA Draft has been criticized for not allowing high school entrants to make a jump to the NBA anymore, skipping college altogether.

Derrick Rose played college ball for a year and took Memphis to the Final Four in his only year. Rose is only one of the many players that are "one-and-done," and one of several types of those players in a lineage under his college coach, John Calipari.

Calipari has long been associated with running a program that may not play by the rules all the time. Calipari has been able to elude sanctions by the NCAA, but has had his Final Four appearances vanish.

Calipari comes under fire because of the types of student-athlete he recruits. There have long been rumors that Rose didn't even take his own college entrance exam.

Robert Dozier had his SAT score called into question after an anonymous letter suggested it be looked into.

Like Rose, these are other "one-and-done" players Calipari has used in order to rent a Final Four appearance: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Tyreke Evans.

University of Florida coach Billy Donovan believes that the rule makes high school players feel like they are being punished. Donovan is right. Look at how many players leave college early and never earn a degree.

A lot of these players don't want to be in class at all. Brandon Jennings will serve as case and point for this example. Jennings opted to play pro ball in Europe instead of heading to the University of Arizona.

Some have questioned whether this was a move made due to academic issues; Jennings says it was the best route for him to the NBA and it enabled him to make money, something he couldn't do playing in college.

This shows that players are more concerned about making money and only consider college ball as a bridge to the league. It takes away from the purity of the game for the student-athletes that want to be around the college basketball.

Unlike Jennings, Jeremy Tyler decided to skip his senior year of high school and play overseas for two years.

Kids are leaving high school to pursue a dream of getting paid to play. This is why the NBA needs to allow graduated high school seniors that will be 18 years old by the first day of training camp to submit an entry in the NBA Draft.

Yes, I am aware of the cautionary tales of Korleone Young, Leon Smith and Lenny Cooke. However, people need to look at Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. These three are legends, and have thrived without going to college.

There are players like Al Harrington, Josh Smith, Kendrick Perkins, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler that have also found success in the league.

Heck, if Eddy Curry, DeSagana Diop, Shaun Livingston and Sebastian Telfair still have jobs, then all high school entrants have a chance to hang around in the league.

I understand the fears that people have with allowing high school eligible players back in the draft, but there are a few solutions to this.

First, there is the option to be selected in the draft but then there is a thirty day grace period. Second, create and develop a more structured minor league system. Along with this, create more picks to the draft.

If a high school player is selected in the draft, they then have thirty days to decide if they will go the NBA or play in college. If they elect to play in college, an athlete must go to college for three years before they can become draft eligible again, similar in baseball.

Once those three years are up, the team that originally drafted the player has the ability to retain his rights or relinquish his rights. If his rights are relinquished, he then is open to be picked by any team.

I feel that the NBA needs to add two more rounds to the draft and create a European league to serve as another league to supplement the NBA D-League.

The NBA could align themselves with a league and assign players to the European League, or the E-League. The NBA could the have the E- League be like AA baseball and the D- League be like AAA baseball.

The two additional rounds would give the pro teams the ability to select a player and option them to either D- or E-League as a selection.

This would help in further developing the game's global appeal and it gives players the opportunity to develop their game in a league they are better suited to play in at that time. These are the two ways I think the NBA could fix the NCAA's "one-and-done" crisis.

Using the MLB Draft rule as a guide and allowing high school players to declare for the NBA draft is the best route for them. A more developed minor league system would help players develop for the NBA game in case they aren't ready right when they enter the league.