Avery Johnson played in the NBA for 24 years, and coached in the league for 7 years after that. He is now the coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, and he is using his wealth of experience to add to the ongoing conversation about the one-and-done rule.
On ESPNU radio on Thursday, Johnson was asked about his opinion on the NBA’s rule that prevents players from joining the NBA directly out of high school. As a result of this rule, many NCAA players only spend one year playing collegiate basketball. Johnson believes there is a better way to do things.
“If you’re good enough to go out of high school, which is a couple of guys at the top of the triangle, who are good enough to go from high school to the NBA, we don’t want to hold those kids back,” Johnson said.
Those players certainly exist, but the numbers would be much lower than you might think. If the NBA finds itself choosing from a pool of veteran, proven college players, you could assume that there would be less demand for 18-year-olds.
It would take a truly special player to skip college completely, similar to the days when Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant joined the NBA directly out of high school. This would especially be true if the so-called “baseball rule” went into effect, which is a change Johnson would get behind.
“There’s no perfect way to do it. I think we probably should have a system similar to what baseball does,” Johnson continued. “Whether that’s two years or three years, that’s gotta be better for college basketball and for all of the coaches to help train and develop those kids. And if you do go to college, the NBA will get a little bit more of a mature kid rather than a kid’s that’s one and done.”
It is a bit rich for Johnson to openly discuss this topic leading up to the Crimson Tide’s game against the freshman-laden Kentucky Wildcats, especially with Bama’s Collin Sexton being the standout frosh of the SEC.
Kentucky desperately needs a win on Saturday, and they will need a “one-and-done”-like effort from a few of their freshmen to dig themselves out of this hole they have created. Avery Johnson brings his team into town for a 2 p.m. tip on Saturday, and you can catch the action on CBS.