The NBA just implemented a plan that will send shockwaves through all of professional basketball as we know it. Starting next year, elite prospects who are at least 18 years old will be allowed to enter the NBA G-League (NBA's development league) through a "professional path" program making a salary of $125,000 for a season prior to entering the NBA draft.
So far, the NBA has advertised this change as somewhat of a compromise to actually lowering the NBA's age limit by allowing former high school stars to get a taste of what it's like to be a professional ball player. There are still discussions surrounding whether or not the NBA will officially lower the age limit to 18, but it is predicted that it could happen by the 2022 season.
As someone who has supported the G-League since it's inception, I have always thought that they needed to either improve their facilities or improve to the pay scale if they wanted to provide a viable option to elite players. As of right now, the G-League is filled with NBA hopefuls who are in their mid to late 20s trying to fight for even a chance at a roster spot. On top of that, most players only get paid $35,000 a year. Now, they will be introducing teenage phenoms who make six figures into the league, who are eligible for endorsements that could pay them more than their salaries. Could that cause tension between veteran players and new players?
Aside from that, college basketball still has it's jewels. If you're great enough to play for a top tier program, you'll have chartered flights, nationally televised games, excellent training facilities, TONS of exposure and some education. Only thing is that you don't get "paid".
So, this coming year's high school prospects now have some major decisions to make that can impact the future of both amateur and professional ball. Will they be driven by the money or the glitz and glamour of a Blue Blood university?
By Joshua Hamer