On Tuesday, Michael Straw of FanSided.com reported that new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to eliminate teenagers from the NBA. Silver wants to set the minimum age at 20 years old.
Former Commissioner David Stern broached this subject with the Players’ Union in the past but made no head way. Adam Silver will try again when the union names a new executive director.
Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, also reported on this story, and alluded that this may affect the Kansas Jayhawks’ freshman Andrew Wiggins, but Straw was probably more on point when he noted any change probably wouldn’t go into affect immediately.
The NBA would really cause (even more) havoc if they could get the union to agree, which is not a given by any means, and if they put the rule into play immediately. Some programs, like Kansas, have already recruited for next season with the assumption their young stars would not be around for the 2014-2015 school year.
Bill Self has already signed two high schoolers, Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, even though Tarik Black is the only senior on the roster playing under a scholarship. Self has already replaced Wiggins for next year. Putting this rule into play for next season, could really mess up some of the plans of college coaches.
Not that Adam Silver is wanting to change this rule for the collegiate game. He is worrying about his own product. General managers have been drafting for years on potential rather than talent, and players are entering the league lacking physical maturity and the basic fundamentals of the game. The end product suffers.
For every LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, and Amar’e Stoudemire that has come in and made an impact right away, there are dozens of kids that are now long forgotten. Kids that were not prepared, and should have stayed in school.
Some of these youngsters are surrounded by people who do not have their best interests at heart, and most of the kids do not become stars.
A pleasant by-product of this rule would be that players like Wiggins, who is far from a polished player at this point in his career, would get at least two years of college coaching. Wiggins could use another season under the tutelage of a coach like Bill Self, improving his shooting, ball handling, and overall defense.
The college game would almost certainly improve as better players stay longer, and come closer to reaching their potential. In the end, the players themselves should benefit.
Players would have more time to self evaluate, and improve their weaknesses. Kids who leap too early now, will stay in school longer, gaining more of an education both on and off the court.
It is doubtful the NBA will work this out quickly. Wiggins will not be a Jayhawk next year. Interestingly enough, the new rule probably wouldn’t come into play for Wiggins’ teammate and fellow freshman, Joel Embiid, even if it was worked out for next season.
The rangy kid from Cameroon turns 20 in March. Depending on what the cut off date for the players’ birthday is, players in Embiid situation might still be eligible for the NBA, even if they do play just one season in college.
Embiid has not decided if he is staying yet or bolting to the NBA. He may be selected as high as number one overall if he leaves Kansas, but rumors persist that he may decide to stay for a second year to improve his overall game.
As a fan of college basketball, I would enjoy seeing most players at least two seasons. A better college game would benefit players, coaches, and fans. I
It will be interesting to see if Adam Silver and the new union director can come to an accord on this issue, and how it will play out in the long run.