The memo also included a revised agreement to the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association regarding the draft eligibility of players similar to Maker.
Moving forward, U.S.-based players such as Maker — who have not yet graduated high school but otherwise meet the standard criteria of being 19 years old in the calendar year of the draft and one NBA season removed from the originally scheduled graduation date of their initial high school class — will not be eligible for that year’s draft.
The intent of this clarification is to narrow the scope of players who can become draft-eligible and prevent situations in which it is advantageous to drop out of high school before getting a diploma, something that technically would make Maker eligible for the 2020 draft under the previous version of the rule. Because Maker was two credits short of receiving a high school diploma from Orange (California) Lutheran High School, where he was enrolled during the 2018-19 season, he needed to petition the NBA for inclusion by submitting high school transcripts to the league office.
According to the new CBA language, the draft eligibility of players who have not graduated high school will be determined by the later of: the class which the player would have graduated based on the high school class he was in when he (i) first enrolled in high school, or (ii) was last enrolled in high school.
Maker will be considered 2020 draft-eligible since he petitioned under the previous version of the rule, but similar prospects would only be eligible for the 2021 draft if they are currently enrolled in high school. NBA teams would not be allowed to attend high school games of “draft-ineligible” players of this nature due to the “no-contact” rules, the memo clarified.
The previous lack of clarity here had caused considerable confusion among NBA teams about which high school players were draft-eligible and allowed to be scouted, but this rule clarification is not expected to have a major impact on the 2020 draft.
Since petitioning the NBA for draft eligibility in October, Maker proceeded to have several poor showings in front of executives at events such as the Tarkanian Classic and Hoophall Classic in December and January, which diminished his draft stock to the point that he is now considered a late second-round pick at best.
Maker, who was once ranked in the 30s of the ESPN 100, now finds himself at No. 77, making him increasingly likely to attend college next year, according to his guardian Ed Smith, who told ESPN that Maker will only keep his name in the draft if he is projected as a lottery pick.
Maker will have opportunities to improve his standing in front of NBA teams in April at the Iverson Classic and Nike Hoop Summit in April, at certified scouting events where a large contingent of executives will be in attendance.