Here's a common-sense alternative to NBA's draft-entry rule

Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round, and first overall, draft pick with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, during the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 23, 2016, from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/TNS)

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Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round, and first overall, draft pick with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, during the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 23, 2016, from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/TNS)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said a lot last week about rules under the collective bargaining agreement that determine when players can enter the league's draft.

The last thing Silver said on that subject, during his annual news conference at the NBA Finals, might be the most telling:

"My sense is it's not working for anyone," Silver observed.

True that. The NBA would like American players to wait two years after their high school class graduates before entering the draft (versus the current one year). The players association would prefer returning to a time when players were free to enter the draft straight out of high school.

And stakeholders in the college game tend to think the current rule _ nicknamed "one-and-done" — creates a system where top players spend no more than nine months passing through campuses before bolting for the pros.

Silver noted in his comments that about 20 so-called "one-and-done" players are likely to be chosen among the 60 picks in the June 22 draft. That's not what the league wanted, or anticipated, when it convinced the union roughly a decade ago to go along with a rule by which players are either one year removed from high school or at least 19 years old to enter the draft.

Silver said he expects something to change in the foreseeable future.

"I think we all agree that we need to make a change," Silver said.

Sure, but what might that be? The current rule is a compromise, and by definition a compromise means no stakeholder gets everything it wants. The league wanted to encourage draft prospects to play at least one college season, on the logic they'd be better ready for the NBA and better scouted by the 30 franchises.

The union sees this as a philosophical issue: That anyone believing he's ready at 18 to turn pro should have the right to enter the draft and market his skills.

Keepers of the college game, though they aren't stakeholders in negotiations between the NBA and the union, see all these "one-and-dones" as diminishing their product. They are right in that observation: the days when a Michael Jordan or Patrick Ewing played multiple college seasons seem long over.

I think there's a better alternative if basketball could adapt something similar to baseball, where players either sign with a Major League team out of high school or commit to multiple seasons of the college game.

Why not go back to allowing kids to enter the draft straight out of high school, but mandate that once a player accepts a scholarship, he must commit to playing at least two college basketball seasons?

Again, this would be a compromise, but I think a fairer one all around. It would allow that prodigy who believes himself to be the next LeBron James to market his skills. And it would require others to not just dabble in the college game, but commit to development and academics.

That would give NBA scouts a larger body of work to evaluate, and create a more orderly basketball progression from high school to college to the NBA.

It would give prospects more latitude to determine their destiny, and could only improve the college and NBA games. Why not give such a system a shot?