Blogtable Archive

Blogtable: Thoughts on lowering the minimum age for NBA Draft?

Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

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The NBA and its players reportedly are moving forward with plans to eliminate the “one-and-done” rule, thus lowering the minimum age for entering the NBA Draft from 19 to 18. Good decision?

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Steve Aschburner: Many professions, especially those that collectively bargain with labor, set thresholds and qualifications for entry, so let’s dispense with any right-to-work histrionics, OK? For the NBA’s sake, I’d prefer to see the age go up rather than down, so that the players we see are more developed and ready to help their teams. But the league owes nothing to the NCAA, and if the G League can function as a proper affiliate system across all 30 NBA franchises – and only the rare precocious stars leapfrog legit farm-system seasoning – then there’s no reason players can’t learn in Erie, Pa., and Schaumburg, Ill., rather than Durham, N.C., and Lexington, Ky.

Shaun Powell: I think lowering the age limit only helps maybe two or three players. That’s it. Yes, a Zion Williamson can go straight to the pros because obviously he has an NBA body already and a decent game. But this will also encourage scores of wanna-be’s to toss their name into the ring and … not get drafted at all. If that’s what the rule is intended to do, then fine. But it also puts a strain on NBA GMs and scouting. Coming to a high school gym near you: Dozens of NBA scouts!

John Schuhmann: Yes. It’s silly to have an 18-year-old go to college just to play basketball for one season and (in some cases) leave to prepare for the Draft before the spring semester is even over. Some players will make mistakes by skipping school and it will be tougher for both players and teams to evaluate how they measure up within the potential Draft class (a mix of high school and college players). But the improved and expanded G League offers a safer landing spot than what was in place prior to 2006.

Sekou Smith: No-brainer decision. And certainly from where I’m sitting, it’s a good decision. Folks will debate the merits for and against 18 or 19 for years to come. But it won’t change the fact that there are outliers involved. I’m just a believer that anything past a player’s 18th birthday is a rule that goes against everything this country is about (yes, I’m taking it there.). The same choice kids make to attend college should include the option of bypassing the college game altogether for the professional option, be it in the NBA or anywhere else. The players deserve the freedom of choice. The teams drafting them also deserve the opportunity to evaluate these potential prospects in a much more detailed way, so if there is going to be a rule change there needs to be some comprehensive change to the entire ecosystem for all involved.