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An NBA Ready Mind

Fri, 04/24/2009 - 12:49am
A silent revolution occurred two weeks after my eighth grade graduation: four high school seniors--Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, and DeSagana Diop--were picked in the first eight slots of the 2001 NBA Draft. Darius Miles had been the third pick the year before, but an exodus like this had never been seen. At the time, I had vague notions of liberty, opportunity, and free-will, and this development fed these puerile emotions. Throughout my first year of high school, I closely monitored the progress of these four trailblazers. Suffice it to say, their rookie seasons were a tremendous disappointment.

The highest scorer was Curry, at 6.7, and the highest rebounder was Chandler at 4.8. Their unproductive rookie seasons, especially the disaster of Kwame Brown, led to a preps-to-pros backlash in 2002. That year Amare Stoudemire was selected ninth overall and surprised everyone with his NBA-ready physique. He went on to receive the Rookie-of-the-Year, and has since become one of the premier posts. The following year, LeBron James made the leap and has since become the best player in the game.

The real turning point, however, was 2004 and 2005. The 2004 class was one of the strongest of all-time, featuring Dwight Howard, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Shaun Livingston, Sebastian Telfair, Al Horford, Al Jefferson, ect. An amazing eight of those players wound up being first round selections straight from high school. Whispers began circulating that David Stern desired that a waiting period be set to curb the influx of players. These whispers became a thunderous avalanche after the 2005 Draft, when one of the weakest high school classes ever produced three first and three second round picks. Shortly thereafter, David Stern implemented a mandatory one year waiting period on entering the draft.

At the time I had turned away from my immature eighth grade ideals and supported this legislation. I did not agree with the rule for the sake of the athletes' education, since most of them would take at best ten total classes. Furthermore, many of these credits would be considered, in college jargon, "blow-off classes." Two that come to mind are Carmelo Anthony's favorite during his single season at Syracuse, human sexuality, and the class on "Walking" that saved Tee Martin's eligibility and Tennessee's football season (http://vanderbilt.scout.com/2/48241.html). Ideally, these star athletes would get their feet wet in finance, economics, and business in their one season on campus. However, this is a utopian concept, since it would necessitate knowing who would become a one-and-done before their season started.

Moreover, the many tutoring scandals that seem to sporadically erupt, such as the one at Florida State, and the scandals at other institutions that ferment slowly below the surface, chip away at the credentials of class-work for these athletes. With all this in mind, I decided that the rule should be done to aid NCAA basketball. I thought that the college game which, with the notable exceptions of Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, had lacked star power in recent years, would greatly benifit from an influx of talented freshmen, and, after a full year of college basketball, these players would be better prepared to face NBA competition from a tactical standpoint. Thus the NBA would become a benefactor, as the rookies would be more NBA-ready.

This prediction turned out to be true. Ohio State was the first major beneficiary of Stern's brainchild, as Greg Oden, Mike Conley, and Daquan Cook led the Buckeyes to the national championship game. That year, the most impressive freshman was Kevin Durant, who, like the OSU trio, bolted for NBA riches after his freshman season. The following year proved to be the NCAA's bonanza, as Mike Beasley scorched the Big Twelve en route to being the second overall pick, Derrick Rose led a talented Memphis team to the title game, while OJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, JJ Hickson, and Donte Greene were all first rounders. The benefits to the NBA game became clear after just a short while.

Durant, who was a terrifically skilled wing in high school, added about twenty pounds of muscle that kept him from becoming an NBA pinball. Oden was forced to learn how to use his left hand, Rose ran a high-caliber unit, Love played with an outstanding team under a demanding coach, Eric Gordon faced the mental hardships of a prolonged shooting slump, and OJ Mayo learnt how to rely on his craftiness, not just on the size and athleticism that made him stand out in high school. For several years, up until very recently, this had been, in my logic, the predominant reason for which Stern's rule had become a resounding success.

I believed that the mandatory one year of college basketball is the ultimate stepping stone for these athletes. Players clearly improved under the tutelage of their college coaches and entered the NBA with a diversified set of skill, more muscle, less fat, and had learned what it took to have success against higher competition and more travel. I still am for the age limit for every single reason that I just listed. However, with age and maturity that hopefully accompanies the irresistible flow of time, my opinion has evolved and become more nuanced. I have seen myself and others evolve from children to adolescents to men. This maturation process has been a gradual upwards curve, one that starts at the zeroes of the X and Y axes and slowly rises up and away.

Maturity is not begotten out of thin air, it can't be conjured in a flash, it doesn't come when summoned. One does not become mature when put into mature situations if, prior to that, he were a mere child. I have always considered myself mature for my age, including my time in high school. I've made decisions, both in the long and short run, that have proven to be judicious, and I have met people with greater maturity. Despite this, I can't fathom me, or anyone else, being ready to jump at the tender age of 18 into the pros.

I am not talking about basketball acumen, even though the track-record for preps-to-pros success as rookies remains remarkably thin. A typical high school senior, even a blue-chipper, lives with his parents, has his laundry done for him, travels out of state just a few times a year, goofs off with people his age, plays sports with his friends, and is troubled by such existential questions as "what do I wear to prom?" or "this girl is sending me mixed messages, should I ask her out?"

The extreme rigor of NBA life forces teenagers to psychologically perform at levels that they are not biologically and socially ready for. Thus, the primary reason for which I am staunchly in favor of being one year removed from high school is not for the benefit of the NCAA or the NBA, but because an 18 year old, no matter how talented on the basketball court, no matter how many times he can throw 185 pounds high above his head, no matter how limitless his vertical may be, no matter how fast he can dribble through traffic, is not ready to be thrusted into a man's world.

Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard were extraordinary in that they had tremendous success as rookies. These three players, in the history of the recent preps-to-pros phenomenon, are the only three quality first-year starters. To clarify, I am not making the asinine statement that these are the only three that have found success after having made the jump, rather, they are the only three to have been good to very good instantly.

I am also not claiming that their statistical achievement justifies their jump, since they clearly had NBA-ready games, but fresh out of high school, they did not have NBA-ready minds. The vast majority of elite high schoolers, however, rode the bench as teenagers; some have become stars, some have stayed bench-ridden as they have become veterans, while others have fallen off the face of the earth.

The athletes that have disappeared, such as DeAngelo Collins, Lenny Cooke, and Ousmane Cisse, could have realized in that year in between high school and the draft that they needed to further work on their game, whether in a four-year institute, a junior college, overseas, or in a sophisticated training complex.

I am not naive enough to think that a mere year will bring forth the necessary metamorphoses in the athletes which would thus make them mentally NBA-ready. A nineteen-year-old, compared to an actual adult, remains very immature and inexperienced.

Despite this admission, that star freshman, when traveling regularly across the country, like they do at a major college, when practicing and playing against athletes that are closer to your equal--if not better--under strict coaches, when playing thirty to forty taxing games a season, when put into an actual weight-training program, when away from home for the first time, when exposed to a hitherto unknown social structures known as campus life, would get habituated to a world that he never knew existed.

The one-year limit thus functions as more than just a transitional phase in the level of competition between high school and the pros, it serves as a transitional phase between a relaxed high school daily regiment and the rigors of professional basketball. Even a single season can ease this transition.

International basketball, while operating in a very different manner, would provide teenagers with a similar umbrella. Depending upon the league and team in that league, most international players start contributing to their teams no earlier than the age of eighteen, Ricky Rubio being a notable and rare exception. Under the one-year rule, the foreign athlete would grow more accustomed to travel, would be exposed to more teammates, adversaries, and coaches, would better understand how to shoulder the scoring or defensive load, and would face the intense mental and physical pressure of being either relegated or promoted, either up or down a domestic league, or in a pan-European competition such as the Euroleague.

These experiences aid in the maturation of an international athlete, making him more ready to handle, among other difficult aspects of NBA life, the brutal eighty-two games and the cross-country travel. A notable beneficiary of the extra year in international ball has been Portland's Nicolas Batum, who learnt how to deal with the pressure of being the star of his team in his final season with Le Mans.

Despite the improvement of college basketball, the quality of the NBA rookie, and, most importantly, the personal development of the athlete, there are several people that eschew the age limit. A common counter-argument, and one that even I consider theoretically valid, is that legal adulthood is reached at the age of eighteen. If an eighteen-year-old can fight in a war--goes the argument--he should be able to play pro basketball.

That reasoning, however, fails to consider the practical side of adulthood. Should an eighteen-year-old be allowed to fight in a war? Is there a difference between someone that's seventeen and three hundred and sixty-four days, and someone that turned eighteen yesterday? In the eyes of the law, yes. In the eyes of man, no. In more blunt terms, if someone has the ability to go to war under the law, does that mean that he can psychologically endure the horrors of battle? I am not directly comparing the NBA to D-Day: I do affirm, however, that legal adulthood does not coincide with actually being adult.

The other common argument--that the NBA age-limit is racist--is self-defeating since that statement is in of itself racist. It implies that only blacks be effected, and that only blacks be worthy preps-to-pros athletes, while recent history has proven this to be untrue, as the age limit has forced Kosta Koufos, BJ Mullens, and Ricky Rubio to delay their NBA debuts.

The age limit also would have altered the draft-plans of several notorious NBA busts, like Darko Milicic, Yaroslav Korolev, Ersan Ilyasova, and Robert Swift. Yes, it's true that a disproportionate amount of blacks are effected by Stern's legislation, but that in of itself does not constitute a racist law. For instance, if a US state's government increased the taxes in a demographic disproportionately composed of white Americans, no one would cry foul.

The age-limit's design has never been to prevent anyone, regardless of race, from making it into the NBA. It is a fatherly law that seeks to protect the interests of the athlete, the NCAA, and the NBA. While it must be perfected--such as increased dialog between the amateur and professional levels, especially when the athlete comes from poverty--it remains the best option we have to give future millionaires the proper emotional, physical, and mental stepping stone to start their professional careers.
Recalcitrant041
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Check your facts

I stopped reading this article after the third paragraph. Dude, do your research before writing and submitting anything. Rudy Gay, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford all went to college. Rudy Gay was from the 2006 class, Marvin Williams the 2005 class, and Al Horford the 2007 class.

You blew all your credibility right at the beginning. I've come to think of NBADraft.net having better writing than this.

dch1314
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well what I will say is they

well what I will say is they have some 4 year college players who don't come into the NBA putting up fantastic years. We have put so much pressure on rookie to carry teams now it's not funny. We have Tyler Hansbrough who outstayed his welcome and now he will be a 2nd rounder (I wouldn't draft him) and he won't go to a NBA team and average the 6.7 curry average nor the 4.7 chandler averaged on the boards. However, it's a job and if a team decides to put the money into you why not let the players make that money because an Injury, Coach (feud-Edgar Sosa), speculations or just about anything can ruin those Great athletes out of a life. Some athletes are just not made for college and LeBron I don't think should have never sit a day in college if he didn't want to. However, I do believe making them wait helps some kids who will make a terrible decision and enter and don't get drafted or go 2nd round but look how Monta Ellis came back after being snubbed! NBA shouldn't put a restrictions they should just give guidance to early entry candidates prior to letting them actually enter.

Gabereal33
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@ Recalcitrant041 Alex

@ Recalcitrant041

Alex Kaftan was referring to the high school class of 2004. But I guess you are unable to use deductive logic. Maybe you weren't really reading the article. It seemed obvious to me considering the essay is about HIGH SCHOOL ballers success in the draft.

Rudy Gay, Marvin Williams, Al Horford, Sebastian Telfair, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Shaun Livingston were all in the class of 2004.

illinimanmark
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Dude he didn't say that all

Dude he didn't say that all of those guys in the 2004 class went straight to the pros. Reading comprehension much?

akaftan
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class of 2004

I was referring to the high school class of 2004. Sorry for the confusion.

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I will say this I do

I will say this I do understand why this rule is helpful to some degree and it is has nothing to do with the players. GMs are the ones that make these picks. How can you fault and 18 year old for say no to a million dollar contract. Also the race thing has to do with the fact that this is not happening in other sport that are mostly white. That is where the race issues comes into play. Please do your research. I do believe that saying flat it is racist may be a little to harsh but there is a stigma or young black and you add money and fame and that is not something a lot of Americans are fond of. Trust me there is a double standard.

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durant

"Durant, who was a terrifically skilled wing in high school, added about twenty pounds of muscle." I don't know if this is true or not, I'm assuming it's not seeing how the kid couldn't bench 185 at the combine. If he did put on 20 pounds of muscle, and was still unable to bench 185, that may be one of the more pathetic things of all time.

akaftan
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Durant's weight

http://scouthoops.scout.com/a.z?s=75&p=9&c=4&cfg=bb&pid=88&yr=2006

Here the jump would've been 25 pounds, rivals.com had him at 204 http://rivalshoops.rivals.com/viewrank.asp, which would've been an eleven pound increase. I remember when Durant was a junior and played a nationally televised game against, I believe, St. Patrick's (Derrick Caracter's high school at the time). I was shocked that a player so highly ranked could be that skinny and have shoulders that narrow; narrow shoulders are a sign of low strength potential. While his lack of natural strength will always hinder him some, Durant's NBA success and eventual superstardom is a testament to his absolutely freakish height, length, drive, and especially, skill.

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Stupid Rule

Honestly, saying that people who are 18 are not ready for war or professional life is moronic. I'm 20 years old, and took a semester off from college, I am going back to college in the fall, and am working full time currently. I am working for a mortgage broker and am closing just as many loans monthly as men in their 30's and 40's are during this tough economy. Every single Israeli friend of mine is currently in the Army, and are more mentally tough than most people you have every met. The problem is not with people around the age of 18. The problem is that most PEOPLE are immature, something that does not go away with age. Many NBA players come when they are 23 and are not capable of handling the rigors of living on their own, not blowing away their salary helping their friends with poor business ventures while maintaining the focus to be successful in the NBA. I think there shouldn't be ANY age limit for any profession. If someone has the necessary skills that a company would want their services, they should be allowed to be paid to use their skill just like everyone else. Is there anyone out there who doesn't think Lebron would have started in the NBA as a H.S. senior?

NBAdraftRoom.com
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I think more and more top

I think more and more top flight players will make the jump to Europe, weakening the college game and raising lots of questions about the NBA's waiting period. Eventually the shoe companies will entice lots of young players to go pro (maybe before they're ready but still ready to get paid).

http://www.nbadraftroom.com

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Good Article....

But I have to disagree on some things you said. The rule NOT being a racist rule? Is a little BS. And your reasoning is "if a US state's government increased the taxes in a demographic disproportionately composed of white Americans, no one would cry foul." But if you are trying to use this to negate racism in the rule, how can you possibly say that the "OLD ENOUGH TO GO TO WAR" is invalid? Because BASKETBALL is totally different and you basically said that, so that taxes crap shouldn't been said. And honestly its a cop out and a little racist in itself... You sound like yu voted for John McCain..LOL...

Why is the rule racist? Because the age rule is 19. But American players not only have to wait till they are nineteen, they also have to wait till they are one year removed from high school. European players (who are lighter) are just subject to the 19 age rule. The Kufos and BJ Mullens of your argument is non-valid too... Of all of the players who entered the draft out of high school, only one has been WHITE... Robert Swift!!! So, this means that the RULE is hendering young black men from being successful... Economic wise...

Now, lets talk about how it is ruining College Programs... You have more risks for shady business with these high profile players getting illegal contributions from people... Recruiting is more harmful now than ever... Look at all the comments Gary Anderson said about Mike Beasley.

Or go look at your HOME page in the NEWS column. "NBA draft entrants to get shorter decision time", now if you decide to test the draft process, you have a month to work out with teams... Teams don't even know where they are picking, and can't get every player in for a work out (if 1)... You better be 100% sure you are in the lottery... This is non-sense because you are setting these players up for failure if they don't get picked or fall into the second round. NCAA is just trying to keep players and build the college game... WHICH IS BS!!! Has nothing to do with the kid not being ready for school... I don't get into the groove of school until a week into school... Why in the hell does ANYONE (forget players) need to have a month and a half to get ready for class?

This rule has so many any issues and problems the next CBA needs to handle this ASAP...

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Age etc vs. money

It all comes down to money, not a fatherly interest. The NBA wants the best, most polished product on the floor that it can, not a collection of potential or project players. The NCAA has billions at stake and wants these young men to be forced to make money for them and no one else. At the moment, being at a high profile college program is still the best way for young players to get national exposure and create value for themselves as opposed to 'growing up' in the NBA.

So what we have is this goofy one and done system where players thank the university after one year in some BS press conference and they move on their way toward a hopefully big payday. They use the system, the system uses them and everyone talks about it like it is the way it should be and there is no coercion or there was a great amount of choice involved by a 18 year old who has known since he was 12 that ideally this was how it would unfold.

On PTI yesterday Michael Wilbon, when asked what he thought of a high school Jr going to Europe to play until NBA eligible, said (and I paraphrase) that he thought that while it may be technically ok to do this, the fact that no one challenges these kids intellectually and that they never challenge themselves outside athletics, always taking the path of least resistance, and that is a sad way to begin your adult life. When players are allowed to have a blueprint that requires essentially one year of volunteer(NCAA at a marque program) work before they can go pro then call it that, not a college education or a maturity process or looking out for some kids best interest.

Save the scholarships for someone that wants to be in college and let anyone else go pro after high school, college isn't a professional sports incubator.

akaftan
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"I'm 20 years old, and took

"I'm 20 years old, and took a semester off from college, I am going back to college in the fall, and am working full time currently. I am working for a mortgage broker and am closing just as many loans monthly as men in their 30's and 40's are during this tough economy."

This is an interesting argument. Let's say you'll have worked at this mortgage firm for a total of six months. Let's break down these six months in four segments; A, B, C, D. A is when you started. B is after two months. C is two months after B, and four months into your job. D is after the six months have been completed. Did you know as much about the business at point A as you did at point B? I assume you learnt more; as you gained experience, you became more efficient, savvier, and thus a better salesman. I image you knew/will know far more about your field at point D than you did at point A. The age rule is similar. Of course, many people remain immature, but they do mature. An eighteen and nineteen-year-old that goes to college or oversees will experience those "maturative stops" without getting thrown to the lions.

Your Israeli friends are admirable. And their mental toughness may very well come from the endemic violence that plagues Israel. High school athletes that usually live at home, do not experience such volatility and would respond worse in such a situation.

"I think there shouldn't be ANY age limit for any profession. If someone has the necessary skills that a company would want their services, they should be allowed to be paid to use their skill just like everyone else."

The article focuses on the rookie season of preps-to-pros athletes. There have only been three in the "modern draft era"--LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard--that have had statistically successful rookie seasons. Furthermore, the main point of the article was to highlight the non-athletic benefits of the limit. Would James have been mentally ready to start as a high school senior?

'But I have to disagree on some things you said. The rule NOT being a racist rule? Is a little BS. And your reasoning is "if a US state's government increased the taxes in a demographic disproportionately composed of white Americans, no one would cry foul." But if you are trying to use this to negate racism in the rule, how can you possibly say that the "OLD ENOUGH TO GO TO WAR" is invalid? Because BASKETBALL is totally different and you basically said that, so that taxes crap shouldn't been said. And honestly its a cop out and a little racist in itself... You sound like yu voted for John McCain..LOL..."

Could you please clarify this point a bit? From what I understood, you incorporate the analogies I used into one. The "tax" analogy was referred to the rule being racist. The "war" analogy countered the argument that the rule does not allow legal adults to freely choose. Koufos, Mullens, Rubio, Motiejunas, and Vesely are/were all affected by the rule; they probably would've entered the draft a year before they did.

I stand by my taxes comparison. People claim that the age-limit rule be racist, but if a tax increases for a demographic that's mostly white, no one complains. This, to me, is a double standard. I believe that neither are inherently racist.

The shorter time is indeed a foolish rule. That, however, was implemented by the NCAA, not the NBA.

"Now, lets talk about how it is ruining College Programs... You have more risks for shady business with these high profile players getting illegal contributions from people... Recruiting is more harmful now than ever... Look at all the comments Gary Anderson said about Mike Beasley."

I partially agree here. The problem is, those agents still would be there, whispering in the ears of elite prep athletes. Instead of telling them where to go to college, they would coerce them into entering the NBA Draft, oftentimes prematurely. Ousmane Cisse is a particularly sad case of agent exploitation at such a young age. Overall, most people would say it has enhanced the quality of college basketball.

"Save the scholarships for someone that wants to be in college and let anyone else go pro after high school, college isn't a professional sports incubator."

Excellent post. I completely agree (with the second part), college is not a pro sports incubator (very eloquently written as well, kudos!. . .no I'm not being sarcastic). It is a young adult incubator, one that allows kids to mature. You're right, it is oftentimes about the money; the hypocrisy of the NCAA is one of the biggest travesties of sports, although that should not blind us to the benefits of the age rule.

Responding and hearing new ideas is a tremendous amount of fun. Unfortunately, the dreaded finals crunch is rapidly approaching. . . dare I say it has already befallen me. I will try to respond to your posts, but the thoroughness or promptness won't be the greatest. I apologize in advance, and would like to thank everyone for such a good debate!

Pax Christi,
Alex

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I think it helps alot

I think it helps alot because many guys who might have gone straight to the pro's but are considered one and done guys end up staying. A great example is Thabeet who found out how much he liked college and how much he could learn, guys like him get to develop for a bit longer and the chance of busting is much less. For all the one and done guys, there will always be guys who end up staying who weren't planning on it. Plus it makes the Draft much less of a crapshoot.

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I think the rule is

I think the rule is beneficial and players such as durant are proof that its a good Idea.

tuck243
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The "war" analogy countered

The "war" analogy countered the argument that the rule does not allow legal adults to freely choose.

No, I believe that's not what you said, "If an eighteen-year-old can fight in a war--goes the argument--he should be able to play pro basketball.

That reasoning, however, fails to consider the practical side of adulthood. Should an eighteen-year-old be allowed to fight in a war? Is there a difference between someone that's seventeen and three hundred and sixty-four days, and someone that turned eighteen yesterday? In the eyes of the law, yes. In the eyes of man, no. In more blunt terms, if someone has the ability to go to war under the law, does that mean that he can psychologically endure the horrors of battle? I am not directly comparing the NBA to D-Day: I do affirm, however, that legal adulthood does not coincide with actually being adult."

You were basically saying that the mindset of a 18 year-old is not psychologically ready to be a man... What does this have to do with adults being able to choose?

And that taxes comparison, I still feel it wasn't needed... But I will break it down for you... Basic economics... Those "people" who are only 10% of the population as far as class, and is responsible of having 60% of America's income, should have increased taxes. Why would you go to the poor? And on top of that WHITES are the majority... They could increase taxes almost anywhere and whites will still be leading in those demographic areas... I WORK AT THE CENSUS BUREAU!!! These situations are nothing like one another.

And this is what makes that comment racist and over the top... Lets say your demographic statement is indeed true. How do you counter someone saying a rule is racist with another rule (that has nothing to do with this situation) that is racist? You can't do that. Two wrongs don't make a right....

Ok lets get this right. The only player out of that list that would have went at the age of 18 is BJ. Donatas is 19 now and probably won't enter this years draft. Ricky has a buyout clause, if the rule wasn't in place wouldn't came out last year.

With that said, I was talking about American players. The Europeans players just have to be 19. So, the only white players that were FULLY affected by the rule is BJ and Kosta... They make up about 1% of the preps to pros... LOL...

tuck243
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D Fish2

I never said that David Stern was racist... I said the rule was. David Stern only function is to make money. Why not have players go to college and get pub? That benefits the league. That's David Stern's main purpose. The rule itself cause many problems... The writer of this article wrote back saying the NCAA rule change on the shorter time to make a decision has nothing to do with the NBA... Which in fact it does. With this 1 year rule, kids have to attend college and now is faced to make the decision faster than ever. Its so bad that Jeremy Tyler a junior in high school is going overseas till he's able to go to the draft...

Read my comments on how its a racist rule, don't call me stupid for stating my opinion....

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Under the watchful eyes of a patronizing parent?

Thanks for writing the article.

I'm of two minds with this rule; on the one hand, it allows men coming out of high school to get a much better sense of what their limits are as a result of better competition and a more (presumably) mature environment to develop in, away from home.

On the other hand, the rule is patronizing and assumes that people don't know their limits when they are when they are 18. This is probably true, more or less, for most everyone at the age of 18. And yes, the majority of high school entries in the draft in the recent past have busted rather hard.

The question, though, is, do Stern et al. have the right to presume that every athlete going into the draft does not have adequate knowledge of their potential? Their reasoning appears to be that they would rather inconvenience the (albeit few) NBA-ready highschoolers in favour of decreasing risk to the maximum number of athletes.

The other group who would be inconvenienced would be that composed of guys like Leon Smith who snuck into the first round, thus getting guaranteed money that most people accumulate only over their whole lifetimes (at best), and would be exposed with one year of tougher ball.

As people have said here and elsewhere, the age rule is a somewhat risky publicity venture, given that the NBA is in a liberal democratic market, all past and recent state interventions into the market aside.

What this rule reinforces more than anything is that the NBA, just like every other family business/cartel, cares a lot about itself, its product and its image and wants to protect people's trust in that image as much as possible.

On the whole, if it produces better players overall, I guess one can't complain too much (and I don't think many are, really). Again, the only ones inconvenienced are the super-good and the mediocre.

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Dude...you suck at

Dude...you suck at journalism!!!! This article was weak.

Shazam1982
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An Nba Ready Mind

I think this was a well written article and to attack the journalist means you are an idiot. This raises questions and the debate is one that should be had. While I realize that there are some people that are mature beyond their years I also know that there are people who are not. Those who are not and are able to enter the draft before they are ready end up being washed up before they even get started. Sure they make a bunch of money but not as much as they could have. The NBA is not a charity giving guaranteed money to bust. Sebastian Telfair is an example of a guy with a world of talent who wasn't ready for the rigors of life in the NBA. The kid is still in the league but can one say for sure that a year in a big college program wouldn't have benefited this kid. The memories and camaraderie that young men get in college is worth more than a quick jump into a league with many who are much older and experienced than they are.

The argument that this rule is racist is just pure ps and I voted for Obama. The reality is that this is a rule to help colleges and nothing more. The NFL has had an over 18 age limit for forever and I don't hear that as being racist. Oh, the poor black kid has to spend a year advancing his education and honing his basketball skills, boohoo!

Is there some corruption in NCAA sports? Hell yes. There is some but that is not a reason to allow kids to go pro strait out of High School. The NBA had a corrupt referee, so should that force referees to no longer be a part of the sport? If the NBA was to end the age limit than they should have team psychologist to evaluate a kids maturity and readiness to enter the league. Why should the NBA pay a bunch of potential bust to enter their league? The NBA is in and of itself not a charity. If these kids want to earn millions than they should be able to perform. If they are self absorbed and immature chances are they won't perform. A year of college doesn't hurt these kids in the least. They learn to play with talented players a level up and if they struggle their freshman year than they sure as hell aren't ready for the NBA. Also a year of college gives the NBA a chance to see if there are character issues that may arise. If I am a GM on an NBA team I want to evaluate talent on a higher level than High School and I also want to know the players maturity. Sure scouting college players is not an exact science but I would bet anything that it is more accurate than scouting a large influx of supposed NBA ready High School athletes. One year of college is a good thing in my opinion.

By the way if 18 is adult and they should be able to enter the NBA then shouldn't we &$#%#&@! that they can't legally drink alcohol and buy &$#%#&@!? NBA doesn't discriminate any more than those laws do. It's not the end of the country because of those laws and these young kids will be just fine taking on college for a year.

tuck243
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It basically boils down to choice!!! Shazam!!!

A 18 year old man should have a CHOICE to make his life better... Can we all agree that drinking alcohol isn't something that will improve your financial situation nor make you a better person? And why are you guys comparing the NBA to the government?

BUST? Can someone tell me what the hell a BUST is? This is real now... What is a BUST? Is it the player's fault that YOU and I call these men the next MJ, Kobe, or Magic? The player plays his game... Even if a player come in and averages 3 points a game, it doesn't matter because thats what his game is... I dont want to hear about that maturity crap either.... The best players in the NBA didn't go to college (KOBE and LEBRON)... For every high school player that haven't lived up to their so called "potential", I can name a College player that have completely flopped... Since you are putting the NFL into it, are there any players in the NFL that haven't played up to their potential? How long were they in College? A draft is a risky business regardless, if a GM don't believe in drafting high school players, then don't DRAFT them... SIMPLE...

Its a one in a million chance that anyone will make it to the NBA. Can you imagine a SUPERSTAR? LOL... Just like College isn't meant for everyone... Everyone is not made to be the next GREAT thing, regardless of where you went after high school...

There is no reason for this rule because the league has benefited from Preps to Pros... This year's all-star game had 3 starters on both teams that didn't attend college... If this rule was in place in 1995, KG might not be in the NBA right now (let yall tell it)... Because he couldn't go to college...

How dare anyone of you tell a MAN that's PHYSICALLY ready for the league, that he isn't MENTALLY ready for it? I've watched friends die, my mother is working 3 jobs, no father, and I have siblings that look up to me... How dare you tell a man like that he can't go thru the rigors of the NBA? Or he doesn't deserve to be a millionaire at the age of 18?... Especially since people before him has shown it can be done...

This rule is faulty... Its not to protect the Player and its not to Protect the league... Its to get the league free publicity for future stars... And by doing that "The rule" is hendering players (majority are young black men) an oppurtunity to make a great living... Are you really backing NBA Ref's? Or it's rules... Hand-checking? 8 second back-court volation? All these things are helping to make the league money... Refs rarely call travelling and the hand-checking is ridiculous... The 8 second rule was put in place to speed the game up and score more points... The league couldn't stand seeing the Pistons and Spurs play each other in the finals... Why? Because that was the least watched Finals ever!!! Revenue!!!

I was joking on the McCain thing so calm down... You see the LOL next to it? But the NBA and its rules, shouldn't have anything to politics... But for Sh... and giggles... You can drink when you are 18 at WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lanceuppercut
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Racism

The rule was designed because of racism, though it is not inherently racist. David Stern and the rest of the NBA owners are not racists who desire to keep black players out of the league, but they do have to market the league to a society that is still plagued by racism. Casual sports fans, mostly white, were turning off the NBA because many have a problem supporting young black players with tattoos and the like. These fans believed and perpetuated all the stereotypes about the NBA being full of thugs and gangbangers who played low quality basketball. This was otherwise known as the NBA's image problem. To alleviate these stereotypes and try to bring white fans back to the game, the NBA implemented the age rule. The notion that the players are now all going to college helps draw white fans back to the NBA, as these fans were always put off by the idea of rooting for well-paid young black men with no college education.

eprizzle14
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If a team wants to take a

If a team wants to take a high schooler whos to say he cant go. They shoulld have to be 18 on draft day or have completed high school. How can you deny them I feel it's unconstitutional and so does Skip Bayless ;)

heinrich1871
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Racism

The only way in which this rule can in fact be racist is if the rule actively targets individuals of a specific ethnic/racial background. Simply because African-Americans are currently the dominant players in basketball, does not mean that the rule solely applies to them. Only in a world where there cannot be any White/Asian/Hispanic/Native American high school players who want to go to the pros, can this rule actually target African-Americans. Moreover, the individuals who claim that the rule is racist, are themselves presenting a racist argument in which only African-Americans can have the ability and desire to go pro straight out of high school. This assumption is false, insofar as there is no biological factor limiting basketball playing ability to a single race, but rather many of the most gifted players of the past few decades happen to have been African-American. In addition, the arguments regarding socio-economic background fail, in that they again are racist caricatures of African-Americans, which argue that they are inherently less well off than those of other racial backgrounds. There can be both African-American players from well to do households who decide to go pro, and there can be white players from poor backgrounds who decide to go pro. As such, while the rule may currently impact a disproportionate number of African-Americans, there is no reason to believe that it will do so into the future, in that the racial composition of the league has changed in the past, and can change in the future.

thparadox
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"Racism" garbage

Please! spare me the B.S. The reason the league did this was really to protect NBA franchises from making horribly moronic picks like Kwame Brown. It's like a leash for stupid GMs.

canan
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Depending

Depending upon the league and team in that league, travesti most international players start contributing to their teams no earlier than the age of eighteen, Ricky Rubio being a notable and rare exception.

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