With the NBA playoffs starting April 19, those teams that didn’t make post-season can only look forward to the NBA Draft Thursday, June 26. With the draft comes the always changing matter of when should athletes be able to enter it.
Ever since Adam Silver became NBA commissioner in February, he has been avid about pushing back the age to two years removed from high school instead of the rule now that permits athletes to declare for the draft after just one year in college. I understand where Silver is coming from when it comes to his new proposal.
He claims this move will improve the play of the NBA and the NCAA. The truth is, he doesn’t care about the NCAA. Silver’s only concern is the level of play at the NBA level, and I don’t blame him for that.
For years now the NBA has lacked a level of physicality it had with players like Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Dikembe Mutombo. The commissioner understands it is a new era of basketball, but he has to be thinking this move will help with the lack of physical play we see today.
I’m here to tell him it will not. Take a second to think about the three best players the league has seen in recent years. That is a whole other argument in itself, but you’re probably thinking of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James. Since the 1991-1992 season, these three have combined to win 13 NBA Finals.
Jordan is the only one who went to college of the three, playing ball for the University of North Carolina a total of three years before declaring for the 1984 NBA Draft. At the time, it was the popular thing to do, and Jordan needed those years to fill out his lanky six foot six inch stature.
Jordan is living proof not everyone is cut out to go straight from high school to the NBA, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
Take James for example. This guy was approximately six feet seven inches tall and 240 pounds when he declared for the NBA draft, a man-child. It was the same thing for Bryant, his talent was extremely high, and his potential dwarfed his talent.
Do you really think anyone was telling these guys what to do when it came to their life decision of either declaring for the NBA draft or going to college?
As far as I’m concerned, if they are over 18, it should be their own decision whether or not they want to go to college. And if they graduated high school at the age of 17, then it should be up to them and their parents what to do.
If these guys want to risk becoming a total bust and a joke of the league, then that should be their choice. The NBA doesn’t need Adam Silver to be a father who makes the decisions for his boy who he thinks could be a star.
The reality is, if these guys are indeed everything they are talked up to be, they will be just fine in the league. If you’re Silver, why do you even care about some guy being a potential bust if he declares for the association a year too early?
Whether you like it or not, young stars and total busts can sometimes fuel sports. Besides Chargers fans, I’m sure everyone got a good kick out of the complete disaster that was quarterback Ryan Leaf, the second overall draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Just the opposite of Leaf was quarterback Tom Brady, who was selected 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. It just goes to show it doesn’t matter when these guys get drafted. The good ones will make it, the reaches will become busts, and I don’t think that’s bad for sports let alone the NBA.
Silver should be more concerned with the weak Eastern Conference that just got torn apart this year by the two juggernauts, the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. After all, it is a disgrace to see the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs with a mediocre 38-44 record.