Sunday Topic: NBA Age Debate
Every Sunday, HOOPSWORLD’s analysts weigh in on an NBA-related topic. Get in on the debate by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below. Here is this week’s Sunday Topic:
Should the NBA allow players to enter the league straight out of high school?
“I’ve always felt like the topic of whether or not players should be allowed to enter the NBA Draft out of high school should come down to one simple question: Are they one of the best 450 players in the world? If the answer is yes, then the NBA is where they belong.
College basketball is great and there’s nothing like the college experience. Once you become a pro, the door to be a student-athlete closes and it will never open back up. However, it’s undeniable that there are amateur athletes out there who are capable of playing in the NBA out of high school and to take away that option from them is flat out unnecessary in my opinion.
There seems to be this misplaced fear over their futures, like they’re going to be ruined or something if they’re not forced to go to college for a year. In reality, one year’s salary in the NBA, even if it’s the minimum, far exceeds what the vast majority of college graduates make and is more than enough to pay for multiple degrees, let alone one.
The ability to earn a college education isn’t going anywhere. The window to play professional basketball does not stay open long, though, and to keep elite players – the only players who would consider making the jump – from being able to play at the game’s highest level isn’t benefitting anyone other than the NCAA, as if they need or deserve any help. With the way they exploit amateur athletes and profit millions from their talents, the NBA should be encouraging the top-tier athletes to skip right past them.
Go back and look at even the most unsuccessful cases of players going from high school to the pros. They walked away with more money than most college graduates make in a life time.
College basketball is necessary for some, not all. Kids like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor belong in the league and will enter it at the first chance they get. So why delay that if it’s not in their best interest and there are teams willing to invest?” – Yannis Koutroupis
“NBA Commissioner David Stern did the world of professional basketball a huge favor when he implemented the rule that NBA players must have at least one year of experience beyond high school to qualify for the big league. For those of us who suffered through years of wasted draft picks and unrealized potential, it was a godsend that basketball players would have to prove themselves for at least one year before taking the court in the NBA.
The bottom line on this issue is that the vast majority of players are simply not ready for the NBA experience, and they are too young for scouts and GMs to realistically ascertain who they might become years down the line, and watching players fall short of expectations is a painful process.
Yes, we have the occasional Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard, but they are by far the exception to the rule. Kids fresh out of high school simply have no place in the NBA. They aren’t ready physically and they aren’t mature enough to handle the pressure of a very adult world.” – Bill Ingram
“Nothing gets the traditionalists more passionate than the debate on whether high school athletes should be allowed to make the jump straight into the professional ranks by foregoing a collegiate stop. The traditionalists have a view from yesteryear and always speak of the golden era. They don’t want to see change. I understand it. I can see their point. But my position will always remain entrenched in the belief that if you have the skills to pay the bills then you should be allowed the opportunity to get a check. Period.
The vast majority of teenagers attend college, partying aside, with the ultimate goal of improving their future earnings potential. Studies show those with college degrees routinely out earn their peers whose education stopped at the high school level. This is fact. Society places more importance on a college degree and the competition in corporate America basically requires one these days.
But this theory is null and void when it comes to college basketball players where guys who stay in school for four years have proven to have much less career earnings potential than guys who ride their hot streak to riches early on. For instance, remember former University of Maryland standout Terence Morris? Probably not. Morris would have been a lottery pick if he had left school after his sophomore year. However, Morris decided to stay in school and ultimately left millions on the table after becoming a second-round pick. Critics became more and more skeptical of his game and his stock plummeted. After three seasons, he was out of the league with little fanfare.
Now, I know the subject is high school to pros but I wanted to give you the Morris example. I can also reference the stories of Kyrie Irving and Nerlens Noel as warnings of the fragile nature of an elite sports career. Both guys suffered serious injuries as collegiate freshman when both guys were arguably NBA ready. In Irving’s case he was able to bounce back, but the jury is still out on Noel’s future.
Lastly, look around at who are the top guys in the league today or who were in recent years. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, Amar’e Stoudemire, Josh Smith, Shawn Kemp, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis, Lou Williams and Tyson Chandler successfully made the jump. Guys such as J.R. Smith and Al Harrington have also carved out solid careers. Other guys like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant played in college for one season but there was no doubt they were NBA ready from day one.
Let’s call the age-limit rule exactly what it is without sugarcoating things. It is a system designed to aid the owners in order to avoid potential risks. Good for them and for the “business” but hurts the prospect.” – Lang Greene
“The argument to permit players to declare for the draft out of high school is very straightforward. Some young adults have neither the interest nor the aptitude for post secondary education and want to work and as a society, we also want teenagers that have left school to go to work. Unfortunately, the NBA is a unionized workplace that is not set up for the typical 18-year-old and has rules in place to specifically exclude them.
The closest example of a comparable workplace that permits young teenagers to be drafted straight out of high school is the NHL. It is uncommon for an NHL player drafted at 18 years old to be ready to play for their team. However, the NHL permits these 18-year-old players to be returned to the junior team they played for before they were drafted and permits drafted players to be signed to two-way contracts so young players can be assigned to a minor professional league team for development. In both cases the salary paid to the player while playing for another club does not count against the salary cap and the NHL team maintains their original rights over their player until they are called up.
There is no option available for NBA teams to return drafted players to their “junior” team and US colleges specially exclude players who declared for the NBA draft. Also, as currently constructed, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with their players does not permit two-way contracts and an NBA team must pay the full salary of a player sent down to a minor league team for development. Plus, the time spent on the minor league team counts against the period the team controls the player. With so few 18-year-olds actually ready to contribute to an NBA team, it should not come as any surprise that the league has negotiated a minimum age of 19 and has interest in pushing that age to 20.
Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the age restriction is an appropriate compromise for the inability to send drafted players to minor league teams under reasonable terms.” – Stephen Brotherston
“The simple answer is ‘yes.’ Players ‘should’ be allowed to enter the NBA straight out of high school. When talking about the freedom to earn a living as an adult in America, there shouldn’t be any legal grounds to prevent that.
The reality is quite different. The NBA and NBA Players Union have a collective bargaining agreement, which has both parties willingly limiting eligibility. From the NBA’s perspective, they’d rather have more-developed players coming into the league.
Additionally, delaying entries until a year of college helps keep NBA scouts out of high school gyms. It’s difficult enough covering the NCAA and the international scene, high school scouting can be cost-prohibitive.
The players’ union doesn’t represent high school kids. By limiting their entry, they secure additional roster spots for veterans.
There are reasons why younger players shouldn’t be in the league – valid reasons – but ultimately a player should have the freedom to lock in financial security, especially given their NCAA year (or years) bring in huge cash revenues – none of which goes to the players.” – Eric Pincus
What do you think? Should the NBA eliminate the one-and-done rule? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.Cast Your Vote: Click here and Tweet #players name and the hash tag #dunkuary