NBA: Age minimum

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#1
Can anyone make a morally and legally defensible coherent argument for the NBA rule prohibiting the signing of players until one year has passed after their high school class graduation? All the chatter I hear seems to be about how the age limit should be RAISED, but the only justification seems to be that the quality of college basketball would improve. That is probably true, but why is that more important that an individual being free to seek out employment in their chosen field? The vast majority of eventual professionals are probably not ready for the NBA when they are 18. OK. Don't sign them. But those who ARE ready are not permitted to play (and be paid for playing) at the highest level, which I find mind-boggling.
 
#2
The one year after high school rule doesn't make sense to me either. If anything I would not want a player to sign until he has at least gotten his associates degree. My rationale for saying that is because at least if he is injured or something else prohibits him from playing he is not stuck in a mediocre job. The education angle to me is the only justifiable reason for not signing a player right out of high school. As for maturity obviously age doesn't bring that for some of these players as they are constantly getting into trouble and blowing their money.
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#3
I absolutely understand the logic of wanting a player to stay in college in order to take advantage of the educational opportunity. If I had a son who was a college athlete I would definitely stress the benefits of the education being offered to them and ask that they think long and hard about that before they decide to leave school to play professionally. But mandating that 18-year-olds not be permitted to earn a living playing in the NBA even if they are clearly qualified to do so is bizarre. The window of opportunity for athletes is already limited at the back end by the aging process, so it seems unfair to me for the league to limit the front end as well.
 
#4
Well, I think until the main problem the NBA has is that the D-League is not mature enough to support all of the future NBA players who are not instant "LeBrons" out of High School. I think the owners do want to see a better ROI when they draft these kids (hence their motivation for a 3 year rule, etc)...if you listen to "Sir Charles" the "Kobe" and "LeBron's" that hit it big at 18/19 are few and far between...
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#5
It's probably true that, except for a few phenoms, players benefit from additional years playing college basketball or would benefit from a solid professional minor league system. They would be more mature mentally and physically and have greater playing experience if they entered the NBA at 21 or 22 as opposed to 18 or 19. I just think it should be up to the individual teams do decide for themselves whether they value youthful raw talent over more seasoned players. If you run a team and are of the opinion that 18- and 19-years-olds are not ready for the NBA, then don't draft them. Build your team around older players. Or draft them but have a development strategy in place. Some GMs/owners will make bad choices, some will make good choices. Someone might draft another Kwame Brown #1 for no apparent reason, but I don't think that justifies having a rule in place prohibiting the employment of all 18-year-olds.
 

SamuelB

DTVUSA Member
#6
I don't get it. In some soccer leagues, for example, minimum age is 16, but a player can get a permit and play younger... 15-year-olds got gold medals in Sochi, too! Why wouldn't people be allowed to play in NBA? It's not like it'd suddenly get full of kids, probably it'd be a lot if they signed a few, there's not that many teenage NBA quality players. But the really talented ones could pursue their careers and do what they're good at.
 

Cadus

DTVUSA Member
#7
I think the rule to wait a year is also in place for the reason that it makes the NBA look better as a company if it encourages further education, which is the inevitable result of making high-school graduates wait for a portion of time. Does anyone know how the rule applies to students who drop out of high school?
 
#8
One way around the rule is ala Brandon Jennings...instead of going to college for a year, he went to Europe and got paid...not sure what was better for him development-wise though. It must have been hard or we would see more kids go that route is my first thought.
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#9
Does anyone know how the rule applies to students who drop out of high school?
The way the rule is worded, a player has to be "at least 19 years of age during the calendar year in which the Draft is held," AND "at least one (1) NBA Season has elapsed since the player’s graduation from high school (or, if the player did not graduate from high school, since the graduation of the class with which the player would have graduated had he graduated from high school)."

The full text of the rule (including stuff about "international players") is here: NBA Player's Association
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#10
One way around the rule is ala Brandon Jennings...instead of going to college for a year, he went to Europe and got paid...not sure what was better for him development-wise though. It must have been hard or we would see more kids go that route is my first thought.
A player from Baltimore named Aquille Carr is currently in the midst of trying something like that, but it hasn't gone well at all. He originally committed to Seton Hall, then bailed on that commitment and said he was going to play overseas for a year, then went on a tour of China with Tracy McGrady, passed on a contract with a team in China to enter the D-League draft, played for a couple of months with Delaware in the D-League and was released after he missed some practices. He says he's still working towards the NBA draft in June, but it's hard to imagine teams thinking he can handle the responsibility when he went to three high schools, bailed on his college commitment and got bounced out of the D-League. Very exciting player, though, you should seek out his highlight videos on YouTube.
 
#11
Yeah, I think at some level there are literally hundreds of these guys who are good enough to get to the NBA level...that given time to mature could make it. It seems like the propensity to play "dad" for these guys is low. For example, a guy like DeMarcus Cousins has had a ton of immaturity issues in the NBA...if he didn't have the one year under Calipari to temper things a bit, would he have lasted so far??? Remains to be seen, but definitely something I think the GM's keep in mind.
 

Lily13

DTVUSA Member
#12
Maybe it's good. Professional sport takes a lot out of a person, a young one may play good but not be physically and mentally ready to compete at a high level. And imagine them getting a serious injury that eliminated them from sport, it would leave them with no education, nothing to do and no money saved... It depends on the person though.
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#13
... And imagine them getting a serious injury that eliminated them from sport, it would leave them with no education, nothing to do and no money saved...
That same injury suffered while playing college basketball could be a lot more troubling. No money made, scholarship dropped, and the school only taking partial responsibility for medical treatment. This is one of the main things the athletes at Northwestern are trying to address by unionizing.
All that aside, I agree with just about everything you said. Some would definitely benefit from a year or four playing college basketball, while others would gain greater benefit being able to play professionally out of high school. It definitely does depend on the person, as you said.
 
#14
Yeah, I think the problem the NBA has to face is how best to make a consistent policy which doesn't result in so many kids thinking they'll be the next Kobe or LeBron and end up throwing away their opportunity for an education.
On the college side, I think they should come up with some type of revenue share for the players to help pay for the "full cost" of college vice what the scholarship model actually delivers. It will be interesting to see how the Northwestern decision plays out on appeal and such though.
 
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