First-year NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to push the league’s age limit from 19 to 20. I do not agreed with him, because I think the NBA should do what the NFL does and make athletes wait to be three years out of high school and be 21 years old before entering the league, adding two years to the age limit.
Before the 1990’s, basketball players used all four years of eligibility because it was the thing to do. But in the middle of that decade, young stars like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant thought it would be a good idea to join the NBA straight from high school. They were so successful, that players like Tracy McGrady, LeBron James and Dwight Howard decided to follow suit.
The problem was every stud in high school thought they were the next Kobe or LeBron, but ended up being another Kwame Brown. For those who don’t know, Brown came out of high school and was selected number one overall in the 2001, and is arguably the biggest draft bust of all time.
The reason why he was selected so high was because he was dominant in high school. But it’s not that impressive for a moderately athletic 7-footer to excel in prep basketball.
In 2005, which was the final time 18 year olds could enter the NBA draft, eight high school athletes were selected. Only two of them, Andrew Bynum and Monte Ellis, have had successful careers.
Now players have to wait until they are 19 before entering the NBA, but this is still a huge problem with scouting.
Tyrus Thomas was drafted fourth overall in 2006, but is now out of the league. Greg Oden went first overall in 2007, but has knees made of peanut brittle, and has done nothing with his career. In that same draft, Yi Jianlian went sixth overall, but is now out of the league. The following year in 2008, Michael Beasley went second overall, but can’t find a starting role in the NBA today. All these players were 19 years old when drafted.
Another huge disadvantage of drafting young players is a team won’t know if his production pans out three or four years into his career, thus having to stick with player that hasn’t completely developed. Which means the terrible teams that received a high draft pick has to remain terrible as it waits for its young star to mature, this has basically kept the same teams in the lottery of the draft every season.
Back in the 1980’s, when players entered the NBA at 21 and 22 years old, they had an immediate impact and helped the awful team that drafted them soar into the playoff within a season or two.
Another benefit to keeping younger players out of the league, is players will stay in college longer, which will motivate more athletes to complete their education and also improve the competition level and exciment of collegiate ball.
Right now less than 50 percent of Division 1 college basketball players earn degrees. It must suck for Beasley to be without a job, and have only one year of a college edcation.
If players stay in college they not only get an education, but it also allows them to physically grow as an athlete.
Players staying in school also helps the college program develop rather than having to recruit new players to star for the team each year.
A lot of these teenagers that enter the draft start out playing a couple years in the NBA’s Development League or better know as the D-League. The positive side of that is they will no longer be playing basketball for free, but will be playing in front of crowds that are dwarfed compared to high school audiences.
The main reason why athletes want to enter the NBA as soon as they can is so they can receive a pro-athlete salary as soon as possible. They don’t want to remain poor college players anymore. But it is kind of hard feeling sorry for them, considering they are a couple years away from becoming millionaires. They don’t realize that the are better off waiting in college for a few years to enhance their fundamentals, and in the big picture, make more money down the road.