The experiment is about ready to start.
The National Basketball Association is returning to the COVID-19 bubble in Central Florida only this time it is the league’s developmental affiliate that will be playing bubble ball. The NBA’s G-League will be extremely limited with maybe more than a dozen games followed by a playoff run. Not every NBA franchise owner will be sending a team to take part in bubble ball but there is one team that deserves some scrutiny, the G League Ignite. That is the team made up of players who decided to bypass college and show their abilities to NBA personnel directly. The G League Ignite is not making big time NCAA coaches very happy because the coaches feel that they are losing top flight talent even though those players would only spend one year in college ball. According to people in the know, the Ignite will have at least two players who are projected to be NBA Draft Lottery picks, along with High School All-Americans and highly touted foreign players. All of the American players would have been at some school.
Penny Hardaway, who is the coach of the NCAA’s University of Memphis basketball team, is upset with his former employers, the National Basketball Association. He cannot compete in recruiting with the NBA for players. The NBA’s G League has picked off some blue-chip graduating high school players by offering big contracts in competition for those athletes with college programs. The NCAA’s problem is this. Don’t pay players. Instead give the players a scholarship with the hope that the players go to classes and get a degree. The NCAA is under pressure to start paying athletes. The G League signed players who will get paid and play for a year in the league instead of college before they head off to the NBA. Money talks.