The NBA’s minor league’s plan to offer players $125,000 salaries straight out of high school sparked two major questions:
- Who will receive that offer?
- Who will take it?
Former NBA player Rod Strickland and former WNBA player Allison Feaster will run the program, and they’re answering the first question.
The NBA is limiting eligibility for the professional path program to prep players who would be considered consensus candidates for the draft if there were no early entry rule to prohibit them. Feaster will work with a group that includes Strickland and the NBA’s basketball operations and player development staffs to evaluate the potential players.
“It will be elite prospects with a readiness for a professional league,” Feaster told ESPN. “We want to target players who would not be going to a university if it weren’t for the NBA eligibility rule. That’s more or less what’s going to dictate this.”
Feaster expects a “handful” of players to be part of the initial group in the professional path. Feaster and Strickland emphasized that the program will be judicious in choosing those eligible for the pro path opportunity.
For reference, 17 high schoolers were picked in the final two drafts (2004 and 2005) before the NBA implemented its one-and-done rule. So, that suggests about 8-9 players annually will get offered the $125,000 deal.
That still leaves the other question: Who will take it?
But every prospect’s situation is unique. With Strickland and Feaster in place, we’ll soon see how players receive this new path.