There’s been a lot of talk about what Adam Silver’s first move as NBA commissioner will be. Well, it looks like we may have an answer.
Increasing the age limit to 20 is a priority for Adam Silver. It will be a topic of discussion once the union hires an executive director.
— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) February 6, 2014
This is an unresolved issue from the 2011 NBA lockout and was an idea that David Stern was strongly considering during the end of tenure as commissioner. It looks like Adam Silver will present this issue to the players’ union once they’re executive team is in place. Remember, the players’ union was decimated after the 2011 lockout when the players fired Billy Hunter, the former executive director of the NBAPA, and he subsequently sued the ex-president of the players’ union Derek Fisher.
Once the union hires an executive director it looks like Silver will approach them with the idea of extending the NBA Draft age limit to 20 years old or two years out of high school. It’s inevitable that the age limit is going to be raised. While it may not make sense to the casual fan or fair to the superstar athlete, it makes sense for the owners and the NBA.
If Silver raises the NBA Draft age limit to 20 it will guarantee that scouts and management will get two full years to evaluate players before they enter the draft. This will, allegedly, prevent more busts in the draft and save teams millions of dollars over time. Also, if the age limit is 20 it takes another year away from athlete’s potential earnings and delays their second and third contracts. The NBA and owners want players to enter the league close to their peak value, while they are paying them the least amount of money. It’s what’s best for business, for better or worse.
Personally, I hate this idea. I think we, as fans, want to see the best of the best on the biggest stage for the longest period of time as possible. Here is my proposal: Adopt the Major League Baseball drafting system.
In the MLB, players are eligible to be drafted after their senior year in high school and after their junior and senior years of college. I believe the NBA should institute this rule with one small tweak. The NBA should allow players to be drafted out of high school and then after their sophomore year of college and so on. What you are doing is preventing the one-and-done type players, while also allowing teams to draft the best of the best high school prospects. High School players need not apply for the draft, just like high school baseball players, and also would not need an agent. The high school athletes would have the right to accept an NBA offer, at which point they would need an agent, or could decline and progress on to college where they would be eligible for the draft after their sophomore year.
This proposal is the best of both worlds. Players would not become ineligible for college just because they were drafted by the NBA, players would have the right to choose what situation is right for them, and NBA teams would only draft the best of the best prospects directly from high school. Those superstar prospects tend to work out well in the NBA. You’ve probably heard their names before: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Moses Malone, Jermaine O’Neal, Al Harrington, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Andrew Bynum and Monte Ellis.
Yes, there have been some busts, most notably Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry, Darius Miles, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green Korleone Young and Leon Smith. However, the productive NBA players that came from high school double the amount of busts that came directly from high school.
It is time for the NBA to adopt this progressive system. Not only is it the most fair model for the athletes, it will also ensure that the maximum amount of productive players enters the league when they are ready to enter it. Adam Silver should reconsider his stance on the NBA draft age limit and opt for a bolder decision.