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NBA Draft: One Round?

Fri, 10/01/2004 - 12:27pm

The latest rumor from league offices is that the NBA draft may be cut from two rounds to one in an attempt to persuade high schoolers and younger college players from jumping to the NBA early.

The problem has hit epidemic proportions as far as David Stern and the NBA are concerned after 8 high schoolers were taken in the first round of the 2004 draft.

There has long been talk of an age limit change for players entering the league from 18 to 20. However this would be met with strong opposition from the players union and possibly the US government. As Reggie Miller put it, "If you're old enough to die for your country, you should have the right to earn a living playing basketball."

There would be positives and negatives to cutting the draft to one round. First, it would likely alleviate the need to create a 20 year old age limit.

Additionally, the would-be-late-second-rounders would be able to enter into the situation they felt most comfortable with and initially sign with the team they felt gave them the best opportunity to make.

The downside to a one round draft would be that teams would have no sense of loyalty to the would-be-second-rounders in terms of bringing them in and assisting them in their development. Plus there would be the issue of future second round picks owed and compensation to teams from prior trades.

Stern sees the quality of the league's play suffering, as well as a steadily deteriorating maturity level from the league's most high profile players. There has long been the notion that a mandatory 2 years of college (or minor league ball) would help solve many of these problems.

With the extreme amounts of revenue that businesses (colleges) make off television and ticket sales from young players, it would be hypocritical to force these players to play for free.

Young professional tennis stars, both male and female, begin to make a living well before 18. So how can the NBA justify making young athletes wait until they're 20? The NBA is a private corporation as David Stern has pointed out, meaning the rules that govern most businesses in the US would not apply to the NBA.

The Supreme court ruling on the (Ohio State running back) Maurice Clarett case (disallowing him from entering the NFL draft at 19) was music to the NBA's ears. It could possibly give the Stern and the NBA the push they need to attempt an NBA age rule change.

The NFL is able to enforce a 20 year age limit. However the brutality of the NFL makes being physically mature essential for one not to suffer a potentially career ending injury. The NBA is a different beast.

Michael McCann's law review article "Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft" displayed that there is no evidence that players that leave early have trouble adapting to the NBA or becoming successful players. His study showed that in fact the players that have left early have had disproportionate success over the average prospect (similarly drafted) that stays in college.

Obviously only the brightest of stars are attempting the jump for the most part, and assessing exactly how much better these player's abilities would have developed after a few years in college is impossible.

If an age limit cannot be enforced, cutting the draft down to one round could be Plan B.

The move could actually work to help dissuade high schoolers and younger collegians from jumping early as they would no longer shoot for the first round and "settle" for a non-guarunteed $362,000 second round contract.

With no second round to fall back on, the thought of going undrafted and left blowing in the wind would probably loom much more heavily on their minds.

Tukish bigman creating huge battle over his services

[img_assist|nid=4844|title=Fatih Solak|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=154|height=216]Fatih Solak, a 24 year old 7-1 bigman from Turkey has been quietly and steadily improving in Turkey over the past several seasons. You'll remember he was passed over in the 2002 NBA draft after picking up basketball late.

He was found as a waiter in Turkey by a basketball coach, who gave him a tryout and was impressed to see such athleticism from a big man.

Solak went undrafted, but has steadily improved each year, and has become a force inside the paint defensively for the Turkish National Team. Playing at the Euro Qualifying tournament in September against Holland, he had 7 blocks in 19 minutes of a game.

With the NBA's shortage of big men, and Solak's impressive stature and strength, the two would appear to be a nice fit.

Solak's improvement has led to a battle over his services. Solak's current team Ulkerspor recently announced that they will not loan him to Galatasaray despite an agreement having been previously made.

Considered a great kid by Turkish and even NBA sources, Solak could be just what a team short on size is looking for as a tree coming off the bench. Solak had a workout with the Charlotte Bobcats this summer, but was not signed.

Solak still lacks great skills with the ball in his hands. But his game has improved to the point where he would not be a liability for an NBA team. With the ability to impact the defensive end, it's a wonder no team has decided to give Solak a shot.

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