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Age Limit: A-List Item For Future Pros
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On November 27, 2011 @ 12:30 pm In All,Main Page,NBA Draft | No Comments
For nearly six months basketball fans around the world have been waiting for the news that finally broke this weekend: an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place between the NBA owners and players that will save the 2011-2012 season.
The lockout is not over yet, though. The players still need to reform the union and negotiate issues referred to as “b-list items” before the deal can be ratified by both parties. Amongst those items is the age limit on entering the draft.
While this may be a secondary issue in the sense that it will not make or break the agreement on the new CBA, it’s extremely important to the current crop of college basketball players and every future pro for at least the next six – potentially ten – years.
There are three different possible outcomes for the age limit, each with a different level of likelihood.
The most unlikely option appears to be the demolishing of the age limit completely. It’s something that the players would like, but probably won’t be able to get. Prior to 2006 the league didn’t have an age limit and some of their biggest starts today, like Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, never played a day of college basketball.
If high school seniors were once again eligible to skip college completely and go straight to the NBA we would undoubtedly see this route immediately taken. The financial benefits are too great and we all know how NBA teams fall in love with the younger players and their perceived greater upside.
Four players in particular would interest big enough from the league that would warrant bypassing college completely if possible. Those four are Shabazz Mohammed (Undecided), Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Mitch McGary (Michigan) and Steven Adams (Pittsburgh). Mohammed, a dynamic wing who already possesses all of the physical attributes required to play in the NBA, is almost unanimously regarded as the top player in the country. Anderson is oozing in versatility and extremely tough to defend. McGary and Adams are extremely skilled big men who would take some time adjusting to playing against grown men inside the paint, but should be more than worth the wait.
Odds are that we won’t be seeing them in the league come 2012-2013. In fact, we may not see them and the other stars of the 2012 recruiting class until the 2014-2015 season if the owners get their way. According to multiple reports, they would like to see a 20-year-old age limit put in place that would require players to be at least two years removed from high school.
That would really be damaging to the 2012 NBA Draft, which already has people predicting that it will go down as one of the best along with the 1996 and 2003 drafts based on the assumption that freshmen will be eligible. If not, the absence of potential first round picks Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Andre Drummond (UConn), Quincy Miller (Baylor), Michael Kidd-Gilchrest (Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke), LeBryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Marquis Teague (Kentucky), Myck Kabongo (Texas) and James McAdoo (North Carolina) would really just make this an average draft class. However, sophomores Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Terrence Jones (Kentucky) and Perry Jones III (Baylor) ensure that it won’t be regarded as one of the worst like the 2011 and 2006 draft classes.
If you’re a gambler, the safe money is on things staying the same that they’ve been for the last five years. YahooSports! Adrian Wojnarowski recently revealed that the league is hiring a committee to research this rule and keep it for at least another year.
The whole reason why we’re going to have a 66-game regular season that will likely start on Christmas Day is because of both sides’ willingness to compromise. They each went into negotiations wanting things that neither side was willing to give up and at times it seemed there wouldn’t be a 2011-2012 season at all. At one point the 2012 draft and the 2012-2013 season started to look endangered. In the end, though, they found common ground and worked things out.
That’s why keeping the 19-year-old age limit in place makes the most sense. The owners want a 20-year-old age limit while the players want high school seniors to be eligible once again. Letting players be one-and-done is something that has worked well enough over the last five years to adopt it for another six-to-ten.
As with everything, there will be those who support and oppose the NBA’s choice, whatever it ends up being. Luckily, we’re not far away from finding out what route they will take officially. The current group of college basketball players and high school seniors have been hanging in limbo for long enough. The sooner they know what kind of restrictions their futures contain the sooner they will be able to devote their complete focus on the presence and not be bothered by any uncertainty.
Five Games To Watch This Week: 11/28: Xavier vs. Vanderbilt (7 PM EST). 11/29: Duke vs. Ohio State (9:30 PM EST). 11/30: Wisconsin vs. North Carolina (9:30 PM EST), Creighton vs. San Diego State (10:30 PM EST). 12/2: Florida vs. Syracuse (7 PM EST).
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