Not busts in my book. Just got injured and never had a fair chance to improve and max out their talent. Same as Oden, really.
I really wish the NBA would spruce up the NBDL. They should recruit the young Euro kids over to play and make it an option for anyone who does not want to spend two years in college. Pay the kids $50k or so to make it tempting for those who really could not manage college, but not so tempting that many see it as more enticing than college.
That, or draft them before they go to college, like in baseball. The system is so busted it's laughable.
Two and done is the way to go in my opinion... This might result in some of the top flight talent opting for the NBADL or Europe right out of high school but I don't think it will become a heavy trend.
before you just pooh-pooh it cause last years lottery class would be in the d-league, just imgaine what the dleague would be with all those rookies in it.....
"Either we're going down, or they are....... Kirk out!"
Also, don't forget that this really has nothing to do with the NCAA. It's an NBA rule, and it works great for them - mostly from a marketing standpoint. Do you realize how much Austin Rivers improved his branding at Duke? Do you think the fans of whatever franchise aren't going to be that much more interested in him because of his year with our team?
The only way the rule will change is if it makes more sense for the NBA. This means either more money or better talent evaluation so there are fewer "flops."
Keep this in mind when building scenarios. Otherwise, it's just chatter.
I think the NCAA could bring about change, though. My idea is that the NCAA should set up a system of three year contract scholarships with an option for a fourth year, and a fair stipend. That would force the hand of the pro leagues calling for draft rules that would, in effect, cause all pro leagues to go the way of baseball, and establish real minor leagues.
I'd also push the leagues toward changing the draft rules so that the leagues determine the draft eligibility list each year from high school, college, the AAU, and so on. The rules should be along the lines of baseball, but the NCAA would have to set its own rules to accommodate those of the pro leagues.
Was in Boston one winter, maybe 2000, 2001, walked into a NiKe store and see two long, skinny giants looking at sneakers. I didn't recognize them, until I saw Derrick McKey babysitting. Yeap, you heard me, sneakers.
I think that there is another reason Stern won't change the rule. Save money on baby sitters and have a more mature individual, hopefully one who is more likely to give the NBA a better image and who is also less likely to blow up, lose all the dough thrown at them, and make even someone like Mikie look like a fool.
Unlike in baseball, where college games are sparsely attended, generate little or no revenue, and where the college game has never really featured top talent, basketball was born as a scholastic enterprise (invented by a gym teacher!), and the whole history of the sport runs through the college game. There are entranched interests from the schools themselves, to the huge alumni fanbases, to the televsion interests that broadcast and promote the games to keep college basketball as the primary "minor league." And as Duke fans, I think that's probably what we all want (or at least that's what I want)-- i.e., to keep talent in the college game.
Understanding that there are always guys for whom college is not particularly attractive, the NBA has to have some kind of minor league to take advantage of players who leave college too soon or who can't or don't wish to play in an academic environment. But I think we'll continue to see some form of the college-Europe-D-league "minor league" system for the NBA for the primary reason that people love NCAA basketball and want to maintain the conditions where it is the major repository for maturing elite basketball talent.
The thing I have never understood about the NBAPA is why they feel so strongly about keeping the age limit so low, when the rule is so fundamentaly opposed to the players' own financial interests. Every new lottery pick is a veteran without a job. Seems like they would want to move the age up to 20 (or 2 years post-high school) which would be enough of a win-win to finally resolve this issue. But I always hear that NBA guys (or the ones with clout in the players' association) feel this issue viscerally as one of freedom to work. I guess I get that, but I would think lots of veterans would have equally visceral feelings about not ceding their hard-earned dream jobs to 19 year-olds with "upside."
Stipulating that the 19-year-old age limit is the rule (as it is), I would rather muddle through with the current amalgam of "minor league" options, which range from college, to playing abroad (see Jennings, Brandon), to heading straight to the present-day D-League (not common) than try to set the conditions for a baseball-type minor league that might siphon off more than just future hall-of-famers like KG, LeBron, and Kobe, but could instead (as in baseball) professionalize most of the top talent at age 18.
In other words I don't want to see a system that operates to really cut the top talent layer out of the college game and turn the whole NCAA into the Missouri Valley Conference.
But my larger point was that it is not likely to happen because of the love for NCAA basketball and the history and place of the college game in the sport.
I do think, however, that we ought to lift some of the pretenses we have about "student athletes," even at a place like Duke. I knew engineering students on campus that weren't great writers, and prioritized their majors, but benefited from required courses in the humanities. Not sure why basketball players cannot benefit from (even if they don't excel at) the liberal arts education that sits in the background of their -- let's be honest -- primary pursuit. Why is a Duke basketball player different from a film student at Southern Cal who wants to make it in Hollywood? Or the software engineering student at Stanford who wants to create something and leave school as soon as possible to join a Silicon Valley start-up?