Dienhart: Should NBA have MLB style draft?

Michigan’s John Beilein recently broached a good idea: Make the NBA draft like the MLB draft.

“(My preference would) probably be very much like baseball,” Beilein said. “I think that would be a great thing. If there’s a Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James) out of high school, he can get that big contract and go.

“If not, go (to college) for three years and make an educated decision. Then guys can redshirt and do all these things. That’s ideal in my mind.”

Really, it’s a brilliant idea that I would love to see adopted. We know the colleges would like it. I have to think the NBA wouldn’t mind; let players develop in college. Only the truly great prep players would be picked, right? And how many high school players are NBA-ready each year? A handful—at the most.

As it stands now, the NBA does not allow teams to draft players who are under the age of 19 during the calendar year of the draft. That essentially means most high school kids have to wait at least one year before entering the draft. So, you have some super stud players using college as a weigh station of sorts for a season, not really having any interest in staying more than a season or getting a degree.

Trey BurkeMajor League Baseball differs thusly: Players can be selected and sign a pro deal right out of high school. But if they decide to sign with a college, they are obliged to stay for three seasons—or until after their 21st birthday. Then, they re-enter the draft.

If such a rule was in place, Michigan would be ensured to have junior-to-be Trey Burke for one more season, and sophomores-to-be Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary for the next two seasons. How sweet would that be in Ann Arbor?

Also, sophomore-to-be Gary Harris would be obliged to return to Michigan State, too. Ditto Indiana’s Cody Zeller, a junior-to-be who already has said he’s gone.

Michigan already has seen Burke declare for the draft. And the world waits to see what McGary and Robinson III will decide after their strong freshman seasons. Senior-to-be Tim Hardaway, Jr., has a press conference called for later today to announce his intentions.

Senior-to-be Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State has declared for the draft. Fellow senior-to-be Adreian Payne of Michigan State is still weighing his options.

The deadline to declare for the draft is April 28.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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6 Comments

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Delmar Jones on 4/17/2013 @ 6:28pm EDT Said:

Coach Beileins has a great idea and the NCAA should take good look at this. It would benefit these young men that are making what I consider a mistake. The fact that these young men would have go to school for three years would probably help their game as well as get a good start on earning their degree. This is really a good idea and the powers that be should really look in to this and bring some sanity back to college basketball.

Doug on 4/17/2013 @ 9:34pm EDT Said:

I’m not so sure about this. Some kids might want to leave after 1 or 2 years and they’re forced to stay 3? May or may not work. It’s already a sham that the NCAA makes kids go to college 1 year, when they don’t want too.

    Delmar Jones on 4/18/2013 @ 10:32am EDT Said:

    Doug the NCAA does not make the kids go to school for a year, that’s NBA who requires these young men to go to school or else where but are not allow to play in the NBA. That’s where the one and done came from. Also Scott read what was said and that is if a kid is draft right out of high school and wanted to sign he can if not and chooses college he’s obligated to attend that college for three years. I really don’t see anything wrong with it.

scott on 4/18/2013 @ 8:04am EDT Said:

Dumb idea, and here’s why. Kid gets drafted number 1 by the Bobcats. Says, forget that, goes back to college. Cats lose their pick. This gives high schoolers negotiating leverage over teams. Unless I’m missing the rules. A player drafted, the team holds his rights, until his afyer his JR year, in which he is now a Bobcat. Then it makes sense.

    Delmar Jones on 4/18/2013 @ 6:14pm EDT Said:

    First of all there’s not going to be that many kids who are ready for the NBA right out of high school and the one that think that they are,are going to be in for a rude awaking. It’s more than idea to me it’s would be better off for all concerned. Their not talking about kids in college already their talking about high school-er who would be draft and it doesn’t matter who drafted them the educated decision would be to go to college. As they said only the Kobe and the LeBron types would be draft anyway and as we’ve seem there hasn’t been many of thoughs lately. Three years of college would season these kids and would make the college game better. It’s a great idea and should be looked into with earnest, what ever happen to the student athlete.

Doug on 4/18/2013 @ 11:58am EDT Said:

Thanks for the clarification Delmar ! Scott does have a point though, what if the Bobcats pick, the kid doesn’t want to play for the Bobcats, goes to college 3 years, then re-enters the draft, the Bobcats lose that kid. I don’t like it.