We’ve made it to another Monday without NBA basketball.
This marked the 40th day since the NBA regular season was suspended March 11. But hey, it’s all about us remaining healthy during this coronavirus pandemic. So please remain safe, keep washing your hands, and practice social distancing. Leave it up to Inquirer.com to keep you updated on the 76ers.
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— Keith Pompey (email@example.com)
No college incentive for can’t-miss prospects
This is the beginning of the end of NCAA basketball as we know it.
On Thursday, Jalen Green, ESPN’s top-ranked prospect in the Class of 2020, announced that he was bypassing college and signing with the NBA G League. The next day, Isaiah Todd, ranked 13th in the class, did the same. Todd de-committed from Michigan to make the move.
The duo will join the NBA’s new professional pathway program, which offers financial and mentoring benefits that a year in college cannot.
Players in the development program will receive a salary up to $500,000. However, Green’s earning package could lead to his making more than $1 million.
While the two will be in the G League, they will not play a full league schedule. Instead, they’ll be on a development team based in Los Angeles that could play around 10 or 12 games against G League squads, games that wouldn’t count in the standings. The squad will face foreign teams and NBA academies. The program will also provide oversight from professional coaches and veteran players.
The NBA became more devoted to starting this program once efforts to end the one-and-done rule hit a snag. NBA prospects must be a year removed from high school to enter the NBA draft under the one-and-done scenario.
A few prospects have gotten creative in following that rule recently. RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball, two top prospects in this summer’s draft, opted to play this season in the National Basketball League, based in Australia and New Zealand.
But the G League experiment has the full backing of the NBA.
“There will be a strong educational component with these programs, as well, life skills component," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “This is about preparing these players for the NBA.
"I will say if you look back on the data over the last several years, there’s a very close correlation between where these players are ranked as seniors in high school, and to the extent they then go on to play one year in college, where they then appear in the NBA draft.”
Silver acknowledged that there’s invariably some movement, just not as much as some people expect.
"If you’re a top-ranked high school player, a McDonald’s All-American, it’s highly likely you’re going to be a top draft pick in the NBA a year later,” he said. “I think this is an important step for the G League and an important step for the NBA.”
As a result, there’s no incentive for can’t-miss prospects to go to college.
When’s the right time to resume playing NBA basketball? On one hand, you want the NBA season to resume. You miss basketball. An NBA game would be a great two-hour diversion from our coronavirus-pandemic reality. But on the other hand, you can argue that sports are irrelevant at this moment.
Silver says there’s no timetable for an NBA return. "We are not in a position to make any decisions, and it’s unclear when we will be.”
NBA, NBPA agree to reduce players’ salaries beginning May 15 in the event of permanent season cancellation. With the season still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA have agreed to withhold 25% of the players’ paychecks.
Sixers mailbag: Trading Joel Embiid would be a mistake. The three-time All-Star center gives the Sixers their best chance to reach the NBA Finals. They would be better off fitting pieces around Embiid than getting rid of him.
Vote now: Philly’s best pro athletes of all-time. Weigh in on the best pro athletes from the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers in our March Madness-style bracket. Who is your Philly champion?
‘The Last Dance’ is a major hit
I don’t know about y’all, but ‘The Last Dance’ was a refreshing break from my social-distancing reality.
ESPN on Sunday night aired the first two episodes of its 10-episode documentary focusing on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. It brought back a lot of memories from my childhood and confirmed my belief that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player.
Sorry, Mr. Hill, but Jordan’s drive, passion, focus and ability to go 6-for-6 in NBA Finals make him the GOAT over Wilt Chamberlain.
“The Last Dance” should a must-watch series for all young basketball players. They will have more appreciation for not only Jordan, but also the underpaid Scottie Pippen.
Passing the rock
Question: When do they give up on [Joel] Embiid?— @snydawg44 on Twitter
Answer: What’s up, John? Thanks for asking this question. Like I said during Friday’s mailbag, you should never give up on Embiid. He is the franchise player. Trading him would be a major mistake.
I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I know he has had his injury history, shoots a lot of threes, and hasn’t always been in optimum conditioning, but the three-time All-Star center gives the Sixers their best chance to reach the NBA Finals. They would be better off fitting pieces around Embiid than getting rid of him.