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Report: NBA owners want to make it two-and-done in college

Apr 12, 2011, 12:35 PM EDT

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn Getty Images


While the age limit should be a side issue to the upcoming NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement — percentage of basketball related income is the real number to watch — it looks like it could be another little battleground.

Billy Hunter from the players union said that he didn’t think it was appropriate to keep an 18-year-old from being able to seek gainful employment. He wants one-and-done to be done.

Some owners want to make it two years, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo.

Several high-ranking NBA team executives told Yahoo! Sports they wouldn’t be surprised if the age limit in the new CBA is pushed to two years in college and 20 years old by the end of that calendar year. One NBA general manager says about two-thirds of teams are in favor of that change. The current CBA states that an American must be out of high school for at least one year and be 19 years old by the end of that calendar year before entering the draft.

The owners will sell this about how it is good for the college game, good for the NBA to have more established names and stars in the draft, how one-and-done didn’t work as they hoped. College basketball people will understandably think this is a good idea for their sport.

But it’s not about the sport — it’s about money. And the owners saving themselves from themselves.

The last NBA draft where high schoolers were allowed in, the Trail Blazers used the No. 6 pick on Martell Webster. Then they had to spend a couple years really developing him and it was his third season before he was really contributing as a starter and putting in 10 points a game. The Lakers took Andrew Bynum No. 10 and it was sort of the same thing. The Celtics took Gerald Green No. 18 in that draft and he is out of the league.

Drafting high school players is hard and expensive. First you have to pay scouts to get film and fly wherever to get a look at this kid. You’ve got to work them out. Then you’ve got to try and project how the kid is going to be in a couple years. It’s a more expensive effort than drafting college kids, and there is more risk on how they will pan out. If you think the risk is worth it and you draft a high schooler you’ve got to pay him millions while you develop his skills.

What the owners want is somebody else to develop this talent for them for free. And after a couple years of college you have an older-mature player and you have a better idea of how good, or not good, they are going to be. You make fewer mistakes.

So the owners win, college basketball wins — and the elite players get screwed.

No doubt, there is a real value in a college education and the college experience. But there is no reason to hold the Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Amar’e Stoudemire type players out of the league. If you’re good enough to go, you should be eligible for the draft. You should get paid. Some are mature enough to handle it. If Doc Rivers’ son Austin is good enough to go pro, he should have that option.

If you want to set up a baseball like system, where kids can go pro or they can go to college — but if you go to college you are there three years. That’s fine. But the age limit is arbitrary and about protecting owners and GMs at the expense of the young players. Players don’t really like it. The players union is giving that good lip service right now, but will they really fight for it or when push comes to shove would they be willing to trade the rights of future but not current union member get the current union members something they want?

Either you can play in the NBA or you can’t, but if you’re good enough you should be allowed on the court regardless of age. However, like the rest of this CBA, it is really about the owners setting up rules to protect themselves from themselves. And to make sure they save a few bucks in the process.

  1. purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t agree with the tone of this blog at all. Doesn’t the NCAA do a pretty good job of developing talent for the NFL and MLB? In MLB if a guy is drafted his freshman year of college eligibility and doesn’t sign, he can’t come back into the draft until his junior year of eligibility and I don’t hear anyone complaining about that.

    And it’s not all about the money; it would be had the last CBA not implemented a hard rookie salary cap, but it did. The real issue is player development. The author correctly points out that it’s hard to develop 19 year old kids who haven’t yet had enough coaching and have to mostly ride the pine for a year or two. Aside from the kids getting their up front million or two to sign, it’s not good for the kids and it’s not good for the teams who draft them either.

    The “restraint of trade” (by setting an age minimum to be eligible for the draft), doesn’t hold water either, because: 1) The union is the sole bargaining agent and has the legal right to set up agreed to union rules for eligibility to join; and 2) The players, regardless of age, have the right to still sign a professional contract to play in China, Korea, Europe, etc., until they become eligible for the NBA draft.

    I like this proposal a lot, but I’d like it a lot more if the NCAA immediately cut one full scholarship off from all NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, so as to damper the current trend of having only a small handful of teams be able to hog all the top talent.

    • LPad - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      one difference between the NBA and MLB that you left out is that at 18 players are eligible for the draft, get drafted, and the very talented ones have played in the majors at the age of 18. The only age restriction in MLB is that you have to be 16 or older to be signed or drafted by an MLB team if you’re a foreigner. And that if you are under 18 you must have graduated high school (for example, what Harper did to get drafted this year by the Nats).

      Quite frankly, the NBA and the NFL uses the NCAA as a free minor league system. If the NBA had a legit minor league then no one would complain about the Celtics having to spend money to scout teenagers (like MLB teams do) and having to wait for the teenagers to develop. In my opinion, the NBA is actually hurting their product by not developing a legitmate minor league system similar to MLB’s because of the NCAA’s rules restricting practice time. The fact that college players only get about 20 hours of organized practice time with a coach per week, limits skill development because most of those hours during the season is spent preparing for the next game not making the players better.

      • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        LPad… good post! At one time the old Continental Basketball Association (CBA), was intended to be exactly that, i.e., a minor league for the development of NBA players. Guess who killed that league off though? Yup, none other that Zeke (Isaih Thomas). Everything the guy touches turns to crap.

        Stern though doesn’t want anything more than the current format of the D-League because his dream is to continue to push the NBA more and more internationally and with strong professional feeder leagues now not only in Europe, but springing up in China and Korea as well he has the avenue that he needs.

        When a Euro is drafted by an NBA team but not immediately signed, the team doing the drafting retains the players rights, but doesn’t take a cap hit by doing so. The easy answer therefore is to up the age to gain entry into the NBA to 20, but allow players to be drafted once they turn 18 and have attained their GED. Then if they want to go pro? Send them overseasons for a year or two of seasoning.

  2. bobulated - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I think it should be the same as MLB draft rules:
    High school players can be drafted but are eligible only after graduation, and if they have not attended college. Also let HS players who go undrafted or drafted lower than expected to go on to college.
    Players at four-year colleges are eligible after completing their junior years, or after their 21st birthdays.
    Junior and community college players are eligible to be drafted at any time.
    This would help the colleges have more continuity in their programs but would not restrict player movement based on only on age.

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM

      bob… great post!

      The one thing though that I really like about the potential of the NBA raising the entry age to 20 is that it would eliminate the academic sham that the “one and done-ers” currently can skate by on.

      Under the current NCAA rules, all a kid needs to do to remain eligible for their entire freshman year is to pull just a “C” average for 12 units in their first semester. After that they can simply drop out of school once the NCAA tourney concludes.

      Too many schools provide cupcake curriculum (complete with tutors), in order for these “one and done-ers” to remain eligible too. Hey, nothing like pulling an A in “Bowling 101”, or “The History of Prostitution” to get the old GPA up, is there?

  3. savocabol1 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    I’d be fine if it was three years and done.

  4. bigphilippe - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Age limits are absurd. It’s a system to keep down labor costs and prevent skilled and talented people from earning money on their skills. Teenagers as young as 14 can turn pro and earn money in golf, tennis, and even figure skating. Why should the 4 major sports be any different? Other than, “That’s how it’s always been done”?

    • sham13ert - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      Football –> The difference between a 14 yo and 23 yo is light years. Being hit by a 200 lb linebacker in HS, and getting hit by a 275 lb linebacker who works out for a living is absurd.

      Basketball –> Also a contact sport, the sheer speed, style, and understanding of the game at 18 is so far off of the HS level. You’re going from playing teams with 5’6″ pg’s to playing teams with SG’s and SF’s as tall your HS center, sometimes taller.

      Just look at John Wall, his aggressive style of play and size have caused him to ride the pine for most of the year.

      Hockey –> See message about football

      Baseball –> Most of those kids get drafted and end up in a farm league for the next 5 years, about the same as playing college ball…

      It’s not just that it’s how it’s always been done, it’s the fact that you have kids playing against grown men. These men workout for a living, have nutritionist, and centralize their lives around sport.

      These kids, although dedicated, go to class, joke around with friends, and do stuff that normal kids do. College gives them the opportunity to mature mentally and physically.

      And the writer wants to point to Lebron James and Kobe Bryant as prime examples, wellllll… what about The Decision? Was that a mature move made by a grounded individual? And what about Kobe’s trial in Colorado? Was that a mature move made by somebody who understood that their are consequences for those on top?

      Point is, they’re getting too much too soon, and it leads to poor judgment on the court and off of it.

  5. dysraw1 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    the ncaa should be by this day and age should be giving these entertaining young talents a bit more insentive, where in the hell does all those millions go.

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      dysraw…. I can answer your question…

      The reason that the NCAA can’t even consider providing much bigger stipends to either players in mens football or mens basketball is Prop 48. If the NCAA did that for the two biggest money maker mens sports, they’d have to do the same for ALL student athletes, even for the women on their lacrosse teams (if they have one).

      Prop 48 has basically put handcuffs on the NCAA because it mandates that the lucrative mens teams be put on par with the not so lucrative women teams equivalents.

      • LPad - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        purdueman – I’m not sure if that exactly true. Not everything is a one for one. For example, the soccer stadium isn’t the equivalent in value as the football stadium. Housing isn’t always equivalent between the football/basketball and the smaller sports. Road trips aren’t always same. At some schools the football/basketball team travel via plane while the smaller sports team travel by train or bus to the same destination and so on.

  6. indydolfan - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Why is the baseball rule not being considered. I LOVE the idea of allowing players to go right out of high school if they want. But if they decide to go to college and take a scholarship, they are committing to at least three years of college basketball. That’s a win-win-win (NBA-NCAABB-player).

    Get with it, NCAA and NBA. this should be the new rule in the new CBA!

  7. rajbais - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    First off, can we refer to it as “two and through” instead of “two and done”?
    It sounds a little more creative.

    Secondly, there’s no age issue when teams only like to draft the youngest players and have poorly performing scouts.

    These scouts overanalyze to the point where they pass off flaws as easily correctable when millions (even a couple million) are coming the players’ way.

    The problems with the draft are all the teams’ faults because they never followed the traditional way where the already developed (regardless of athletic ability and age) were the best and likely to get better.

    However, the 19 year-olds that can’t play according to their financial value are also justifying why the “one and done” should go and that them getting drafted (especially in the lottery) is no alternative to free agency. There are more that are not worth their draft slots and salaries than there are the immediate high school success stories like Lebron & Amare.

    Should players that are able to play be in the NBA? Yes.

    But I feel that 18 & 19 year olds should be allowed into the D-League. If there is a team that needs these types of players then a team can call them up or try to acquire the rights. The time frame should be after the first 30 days of the regular season.

    Plus, the D-League is somewhat better than the NCAA because it’s less communist and bogus courses and scholarships can be ignored.

    The “two-and-through” thing is also better for the NBA because a two-year college player is technically more educated and he can make the thug or immature kid reputations that NBA still sort of has go away.

  8. purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    LPad… you make some solid points and there are allowed disparities between NCAA sports. For example, most Universities grant only partial scholarships to minor sports like swimming and diving, but Prop 48 is still a huge obstacle when it comes to the NCAA ever seriously considering paying mens basketball and football players. Just not going to happen… at least not in our lifetimes.

    The bootprint on NCAA collegiate sports from dearly departed NCAA President Miles Brand (who thought of collegiate sports as being mostly evil), still is on the backs of member schools too, which is why the NCAA rule book governing student athletes has now grown to the size of a major cities yellow pages.

    • flapjack3285 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM

      Prop 48 is the requirements for eligibility. You’re thinking of Title IX. I’m not sure that would apply towards increasing player stipends, but the NCAA would never do that because the schools wouldn’t want to cut into their bottom line anyway.

      • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:44 PM

        flapjack… you are right; I stand corrected (I just tend to lump the vast myriad of NCAA rules and restrictions into the same bucket for sake of argument).

        I think that if colleges could find away to provide a greatly increased stipend though for their scholarship athletes, they would, but that just can’t happen because women’s groups and organizations would then all howl like a pack of scalded dogs claiming discrimination, despite not having a sound economically based argument to stand on. No university wants that kind of publicity or exposure.

        I’m a Big 10 alum and I can assure you though that no Big 10 university is living high off the hog on the monies being generated by the collectively shared Big 10 athletic programs; all of the monies are scrutinized and carefully channeled into university needs, not for raises to the deans, professors and worker bees that run them.

        Did you know that Indiana University, thanks to the crazy success the Big Ten (cable) Network has generated received more money from their football program than Notre Dame did this past season, despite the fact that Notre Dame has their big own personal sweetheart TV deal?

  9. rajbais - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Also, if 18 or 19 year olds play well enough in the D-League (if allowed) after 30 days they should get the yearly minimum of $785,000 for two years and then be restricted free agents and get whatever big cash cow they can get.

    $1,570,000 over two years is better than illicit financial benefits combined with a bogus degree or courses that you can get in the NCAA.

  10. akismet-2baa45aff8ef0a7c88c719776598ceb6 - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    The product is simply better by not allowing high schoolers into the league. Allowing 18 year old players into the league benefits neither the veteran players nor the owners.

    • sham13ert - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:09 PM

      Yeah, just look at the late 90’s through the early 00’s. During this time, the league drafted more HS players than any period before. As a result, you had lower shooting %’s, which led to lower scoring games, all while less defense was being played.

      Now, we’ve hit the nail on the head with the exodus of players and the alignment of good shooters. Look at Boston, Miami, Orlando, San Antonio, and LA. All good shooting teams, all veteran teams. Then look at the young teams, Minn, LAC, Sac, etc. poor shooting teams with a lot of one and dones.

      You get a better product with a veteran crew.

      • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM

        sham… A large part of the ineffectiveness of hi skooler’s coming out as well as many of the “one and done-ers” too is cultural. That is to say, many of them grow up in the inner city where THE thing that ESPN has fostered is to simply dunk and do trick shots. Consequently many of them can’t hit simple free throw or jump shots when they come out early, much less have any clue as to how to play team defense.

        The problem with not knowing how to play defense usually stems from them being elite players when compared to any one that they’ve played against in the past, so when they hit the NBA it’s a huge wakeup call when a veteran backup player off of an NBA bench can simply shut them down on defense or move the ball easily on offense against them.

        That’s why I think giving them a couple of years in a Euro League makes so much sense, where there’s virtually no focus on dunking and all the focus is on shooting and defense.

      • LPad - Apr 12, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        one of the reasons for the drop in play that doesn’t get discussed is the amount of injuries to the generation between Jordan and Kobe. During that time Grant Hill rarely stepped on the court, Penny kept getting hurt and so on. Also, that group as a whole simply wasn’t as good as the previous generation. Jordan, Malone, Hakeem, Ewing, Stockton, Sir Charles and so on versus Shaq, GHill, CWebb, Penny, and so on.

      • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:21 PM

        LPad… I totally concur; this is the best bunch of players to hit the NBA playoffs since the early ’90’s… no question about that. Despite the sudden new thing of the top talent all wanting to flock to only a small handful of large market teams now, there is an awful lot of parity this year as I can see about 8 teams having a legitimate shot if they get hot to win it all. That’s rarely been the case when it comes to playoff time in the NBA from recent past years.

  11. purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I just heard today that one of the “poor” NFL owners is shelling out something like $1.3 Billion for a Euro professional soccer team.

    If the NBA wants to increase the age barrier to enter the NBA to 20, why not just simply have the league buy a couple of Euro basketball league teams and then create a slush fund with a slotted pay scale (based on where a guy is drafted), so that if a kid of 18 or 19 wants to go pro, decent money will still be there, the team that drafts them prior to their turning 20 will still retain the players rights and the players then would have the choice of going pro to Europe or staying in school for another year?

  12. goforthanddie - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    What purpose does the D-League serve? Oh yeah, to “DEVELOP” players. If someone wants to go pro straight out of high school, send them to the D-League. No questions, no options. Same for 1-and-done. Nobody’s deprived of a money-making opportunity, and players get a slower breaking-in to the pro world.

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:48 PM

      That’s nice in theory, but it’s not how the D-League is currently set up or structured. If you look at the rosters of D-League teams, what you’ll mainly see are guys who will never quite be good enough to make it in the NBA, not up and coming younger kids.

      The only purpose that the D-League serves now (at least as far as I can tell), is to provide bodies if a 10 day contract fill in is needed to cover an injury and a place to send guys at the end of the bench down to either showcase them for a trade (as the Bulls did this year with James Johnson), or a place to get some garbage minutes in.

      I think a better solution would be to just allow players who have turned 18 and have their GED to be drafted and then given the option of either staying in school for a year or two or turning pro over in Europe, China or Korea to learn their trade.

      The benefit of my proposal is that these players “free agency clock” wouldn’t start ticking until they actually were signed to a NBA contract. Using prior examples here, that would have allowed the Lakers to “stash” Bynum for a couple of years while still retaining his rights for four years (3 guaranteed by the CBA for being a first round draft pick, plus one year of being a restricted free agent where his team could match any offers).

      That would be a win-win, as players who really don’t want to go to school can still be paid professionals, but the teams drafting them don’t have to wind up overpaying them down the road simply because they got their service time in while doing little more than riding the pine.

  13. lucky5927 - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I personally would like to see them gravitate towards the NFL’s “3 year’s removed from HS” rule. You guys keep mentioning MLB, but they have tons of minor league teams where these players can work on their skills. NBA doesn’t have a credible minor league system. And if a player is good enough to play and be a star in the NBA right out of high school (Which is rare) then he would get his chance to improve and prosper in college. The money will be there for them when they are able to be drafted. The NBA is full of players who made the jump before they were ready, thus the result is watered down basketball. Finally, I don’t feel comfortable with a kid being handed millions of dollars without the proof he can dedicate himself to academics and a team philosophy (and thus demonstrate maturity and responsibility on a collegiate level first.

    • jstrizzle - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      I can see it now, Jr SF Lebron James with true Freshman G Mike Conley and C Greg Oden of Ohio St. go undefeated as National Champs.

  14. jstrizzle - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    First let me say I think the main problem with the D-League is the name. In college, if I got a D that was garbage and that is what you think when you see D-League. I know it stands for development but still it is mostly garbage.

    I like some of the posts that tried to implement the way baseball handles it’s minor league systems to develop talent. It would take a large investment by the owners to get a proper minor league system going. Try to make that argument to the owner of the Hornets. Still, I think we can all agree that the current D-league is useless for the most part.

    The main problem is that the owners can’t go back in time and make smarter decisions because I can guarantee that most of the ideas we have mentioned, and that I like, would be laughed at by the players. Because as it stands, most of these ideas involve players having a longer wait until they make money. And the ones being bargained with are the people that have made it and made money off the current system and not the ones who got drafted out of high school and failed.

  15. gjrich - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    I don’t understand the thinking that just because someone is 18 they are entitled to play in the NBA based on showing some rudimentary potential. There is an age requirement to run for Congress. There is an age requirement to run for President. There is an age requirement to be a bartender.No matter how scientifically gifted a 12 year old may be, they don’t perform surgery unless they are Doogie Howser. And for every Kevin Garnett or Lebron James who contributed right away (Kobe is not in that group) you 12 Kwame Browns of Eddie Currys who were just a lot of wasted time and money. The preponderance of the evidence indicated that except for a couple of exceptions, 18 boys ( yes they are still boys ) are not mature enough to handle the responsibilites of NBA employment. It makes no sense to throw away $12 million on these children. They aren’t responsible enough to handle the money and more often that not throwing away on their homies of collecting more baby mamas.

  16. LPad - Apr 12, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    One thing I do question is the idea that a player would be better going to college for two years instead of sitting on a NBA bench for two years and practicing with pros. Because Bynum went pro he was tutored by Kareem, is a college coach really a better teacher of post play than Kareem?

    Another example is Kemba, he was a slightly above average college player until he played against the team that won gold in the World Champions last summer. It wasn’t Calhoun that got him to take the next step, but playing against the top players in the world.

    Sometimes, I think Webster and Green and the other busts would still be busts if they went to college. They just have less money.

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:17 PM

      LPad: The one fly in the ointment re: your above post is that these kids aren’t even old enough to legally drink for 1-3 more years and by putting them on the end of a pro bench you’re exposing them to the more mature guys party habits (not saying that all though have them, but enough certainly do).

      If I’m a GM, do I want my child protoge in big city strip clubs making it rain at 2 AM or getting busted for a DUI? Here in California for example, if you are under 21 even ONE lousy beer gets you a DUI (the legal DUI limit for under age drinking is .01, which is about a half of only one beer).

      Sure, the kids are going to likely drink and party on a college campus too, but at least they wouldn’t be in strip clubs at 2 AM surrounded by criminal elements, nor out driving around town.

    • lebronsinsecurity - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      I completely agree with you.. For all the names that get thrown around as example of why the HS to the NBA situation didn’t work, one could look at Bynum, Kobe, KG & LBJ and say that the time they spent competing on the highest level made them more complete than what any college coaching would have offered them.. Webster, Green, Miles, and the other HS to pro busts, are simply just that, busts. Yeah, if they went to college they probably wouldn’t have been drafted as high as they were, but that’s on the GM, not the system..

  17. jcrileyesq - Apr 12, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    someone please explain to me how an 18 yr can be drafted for the armed services but cant be drafted for the NBA or NFL? Off the top of my head I can’t think of any other profession that has such restriction

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:38 PM

      jcriley… it’s not the PROFESSION that has such an age restriction, it’s the UNION negotiated labor rules for individual leagues that place the restriction on.

      Underage college football players can still go pro in Canada. Underage baseball players can still go pro in Latin, Central, South America or Asia. Underage basketball players can still go pro in Europe and Asia. It’s not the professional, it’s the negotiated labor union rules that keep them out.

  18. rorjr99 - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I like to see quality athletes playing at the highest levels, as much as the next person. But, I don’t think the age limit should be allowed. If an 18 year old can sign up (or a 17 year old who has gotten their G.E.D.) for the military and put their life on the line for this country or can decide to forgo college and get a job, then they should be able to submit their name to the draft of a major sport and have the chance to get paid.

    Now, this doesn’t mean I think that most athletes should follow that path. I don’t think it benefits them, in the short or long run… and the same can be said for the franchises that pick them. There are exceptions to the rule, there will occasionally be a Kobe, Amar’e, LeBron, Moses, etc… but more than naught there will be more Greens, Stevensons, etc…

    The onus is on the owners to NOT draft these players, not because of a written rule, but because of an unwritten rule. If they made a point to not draft a kid who hasn’t developed in college for a few years, you would see less high school players jumping into the draft. Keep in mind that when Kemp and Bryant jumped into the draft, they KNEW they wouldn’t be high draft picks, but they could more than handle their own once they got it.

    Scouts nowadays draft on potential, not on merit or actual skills. They talk teams into drafting raw athletes in the hopes of molding them into complete players. What ends up happening is the team that drafted a draft pick with potential, waste countless hours and some bucks to groom them to take their developed skills to another team via free agency. Bryant is the exception, while LeBron and Amar’e are the norm (they both jumped at going elsewhere).

    The owners are crying over spilled milk. They made poor investments by drafting unproven commodities, instead of drafting players who played 3-4 years of high level and productive college ball. Shane Battier isn’t a super-star, but he is a quality player who hasn’t caused stir up, except for being a sound player. Dwayne Wade took his college game to the next level and showed that he could be counted on for taking his game to another level.

    But, at the end of the day the draft is a guessing game. Teams don’t draft on need or fit, they draft on hype. When the owners and front offices change their focus, then they will have better chances of finding quality players who become quality employees and the fans will be rewarded by quality competition.

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:33 PM

      ror… Sorry, but I don’t buy into the “old enough to join the military to fight, old enough to seek out whatever employment they may be able to land” argument when it comes to professional sports.

      In the first place, aside from Pat Tillman, name even just one more top hi skool prospect in any sport who joins the military and passes up a chance at professional sports (excluding of course players who are already committed to the military by accepting one of their scholarships to one of their academies and guys who have religious commitments as many do who attend BYU for example).

      As I’ve posted a couple of times already today, just because the NBA Union negotiated labor agreement rules state that they currently aren’t eligible to join the union until they are 19 years of age doesn’t mean that they can’t play professional basketball in Europe or Asia.

      • rorjr99 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        I mentioned the military because it is an option for young people out of high-school in this country if they are not interested/prepared for college or unable to find gainful employment. There is no “age-cap” for actors, musicians or entertainers… isn’t professional athletics an extension of entertainment?

        The Players Union was short sighted and caved into pressure to make it seem like they care about the plight of young black players and their development. A high-schooler used to file for the draft out of high-school if their family was a financial hardship case. Which, most black athletes fall under in this country (I am not turning this into a race thing, just pointing out historical facts).

        As for Pat Tillman, let’s put this in perspective… first, he went to college to play football before he ever thought about serving his country. He didn’t pass up the leisure of playing sports or potentially earning a living in the NFL to join the military. He did pass up the opportunity to cash in on a lucrative extension to fight for his country after the government started two wars abroad in response to 9/11. Secondly, Pat Tillman was not a financial hardship case, so the early draft prospect doesn’t really apply to him.

        Finally, when looking at alternatives for gainful employment in a given discipline/field to mention going overseas is not “an alternative”. And, I am really certain if enough young players filed a class action suit with good lawyers, the NBA would have to get rid of this rule.

        The MLB draft high-schoolers all the time, but there are loop holes to help players and teams alike – yes, I do acknowledge their minor league farm system is superior to anything the NBA has in place. Which is another failing of the NBA and it’s “product”. The NFL has an age restriction that is based on the protection of the athlete (though I am sure there will be and have been exceptions of young men who could hang with grown men on the gridiron).

      • purdueman - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        “Finally, when looking at alternatives for gainful employment in a given discipline/field to mention going overseas is not “an alternative”. And, I am really certain if enough young players filed a class action suit with good lawyers, the NBA would have to get rid of this rule.” – rorjr…
        Why isn’t going overseas an alternative to finding employment. Happens all the time in every field imaginable. The ONLY reason it wouldn’t be a viable alternative is if the player needs a work permit and/or visa to work in another country, and that’s something that professional teams deal with routinely all the time.

        As for your point about a class action suit being filed by good lawyers, ANY labor lawyer worth their shingle will tell you that the one virtually impossible to challenge thing in any labor dispute is a written signed contract.

        The NBAPA and the NBA franchises have such an agreement that requires that in order to be eligible for union membership in the NBAPA, you must be at least 19 years of age. That’s a union contracted and bargained for requirement. When was the last time you read anything about any law firm successfully suing a big labor union and winning? Just doesn’t happen.

        In fact, the NBA is such a big target with perceived deep pockets that if any labor lawyer even thought that they had a snowballs chance in hell to beat the NBA with a class action suit, these lawyers would be all lined up around the block right now to get the suit filed at their nearest courthouse.

  19. davidly - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Who the hell are all these “guys at the end of the bench” that I keep reading about in this thread? Am I missing something? Who was the last guy drafted out of high school who spent significant time on the bench?

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      Only part of the argument here is over the current 19 year old age restriction (which the NBA is proposing to now raise to 20). The more important part of the argument in support of the NBA’s negotiated age restriction is that too many guys come out too early who get paid too much to do too little when they should either stay in school another year or two or turn pro in Europe or Asia in order to better craft their trade.

      How does the name Hasheem Thabeet strike you? Ok, he was a two and through junior when he came out early from Connecticut, but he clearly wasn’t ready to come out early. Despite being the #2 OVERALL PICK in the 2009 draft, he’s currently laboring in obscurity in the D-League.

      I believe that the last year hi skoolers were eligible to be drafted was in 2005. That year budding NBA superstar Martell Webster was taken 6th overall by Portland. He played a whopping 1069 minutes for a crappy team that year, and last year he played just 1068 minutes.

      That certainly begs the question, could he have developed into a significantly better player had he spent three or four years at a good collegiate program? I say absolutely, because if he didn’t have the talent he still wouldn’t be in the league.

      • davidly - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:10 PM

        Three years? Four years? Good program? That all sounds great. But the same year that Webster was drafted, so was Monta Ellis.

        I’ll grant you that anything sounds better than the most absurd “one and done” but the NCAA has its own problems without professional unions and mulit-billionaires in collusion to make them responsible for “developing talent”.

      • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:17 PM

        davidly… do you see the NCAA complaining about not only being the only talent development pipeline to the NFL, but now also taking on a more and more prominent role in doing the same for MLB? No-oooo.

        I think that college presidents and the NCAA hate the “one and done” thing even more than many of us do, because in many cases it makes such a total sham out of the very little actual academics required for a mens basketball player to remain eligible through the end of the NCAA tourney (i.e., just a C average and 12 lousy units, half of which are joke classes like “Introduction to Bowling”, and then they can simply drop out, wait for the NBA draft and never attend another class again).

      • davidly - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:35 AM

        The sham didn’t start with one-and-done. It has looong been a sham and a scam – which is why you don’t “see the NCAA complaining” – because they’ve been trading the money from their free labor and passing the burden off to those who want a place to study. Do you really think that this c-average with a mickey mouse curriculum began with one-and-done?

        One-and-done is idiotic precisely because they shouldn’t have changed the professional rule in the first place. The four year rule wasn’t fair before and it wouldn’t be now.

        And anyway, you completely dodged the question as to why the hell should college presidents be part of the NBA’s cheap labor for billionaires.

      • rorjr99 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        Of the 9 high-schoolers who came out in the 2005 Draft… 6 of them have made impacts in the league (at least holding their own) even if it took time:

        Andray Blatche (Washington Wizards)
        Monta Ellis (Golden State)
        Andrew Bynum (Los Angeles Lakers)
        CJ Miles (Utah Jazz)
        Louis Williams (Philadelphia 76ers)
        Amir Johnson (Toronto Raptors)

        At the end of the day the draft is more of a guessing game that depends on a lot factors to pan out for both player and the team. Right system, right coaching/mentoring, right home life, etc… Even established players who come from the NCAA after a complete career find the transition difficult and need time to be a solid contributor. Everyone’s situation is different and lead to different outcomes.

        Oh, and the NCAA is complaining about the “one and dones”. They would rather be known as academic institutions than “basketball schools” or “football schools”. But, they would rather the kids who would ruin their academic prestige be weeded out quickly, than last four years that will prove that a lot of student athletes aren’t focusing equally on the academic part. But, it’s a double edge sword for the individual schools, because they get kickbacks from the ton of money from merchandising for and at the gates.

        Also, the “One and Done King” Calipari will be on the move again and do you want to know why? His program is going to receive a “F” because of UK’s crappy graduation rate under his watch. The UK fans and boosters have crappy long term memory… when a program’s graduation rate dips to a certain percentage… they lose scholarships… you lose scholarships… you lose games… you lose games, you get canned.

      • purdueman - Apr 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        rorjr…just because we all can see that you know how to google doesn’t make you any kind of an expert as to who’s on the back end of all NBA teams benches. Nice try though!

        I know all of the players on my teams bench and have followed them religiously throughout the entire NBA season thusfar.

        That doesn’t mean though that I give one happy damn about who’s sitting on the bench for the way too many teams that my team only plays twice or once in a blue moon three times a year though (I agree with Jerry West and would love to see the NBA contract 6 teams this contract go around, but I also realize that would be almost impossible to do because of existing long term arena use agreements, etc.). I don’t!

        If you truly care about the makeup and stats of all teams on the NBA’s benches, you probably have way too much time on your hands.

  20. rorjr99 - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    It’s not so much the “guys at the end of the bench” that is the problem…. it’s the hundreds of names you can’t even remember because they didn’t get drafted despite submitting their name into the draft. But, I don’t hold it against them to try to get drafted… their athleticism is a lottery ticket of a sort.

    It’s a shame that their parents, guardians, coaches or close associates see money bags (that is fleeting), as opposed to gaining quality educations, developing earnest work ethics, and building quality relationships/networks. The qualities I listed, lead to better and lasting opportunities for their family for generations to come – but this is a whole different subject.

    The “guys at the end of the bench” are drawing a serious paycheck. They are pulling annual salaries greater than most doctors, lawyers, engineers, and most definitely educators. The only problem with them is that a good majority of them lack sound basketball fundamentals and high basketball IQs, which gives ammunition to old school purist.

  21. rorjr99 - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    To be fair though… the guys who did make the jump from high school to the NBA (who were actually drafted)… the list looks like sound choices for the athletes and the league:

    • purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:17 PM

      ror… yes, that’s certainly a fair comment, but as the old adage goes, “you can’t teach being 7 feet, and many of the hi skoolers who made it and stuck did so just because there’s such a huge void of big men today to go around. Why do you think that useless John Konkak got that monster contract as a backup? Or Will Perdue (having two left feet), survived as long as he did in the league?

      Since so many like to focus on Bynum here (and no reason not to), what Lakers management clearly hated was the fact that they got so little production out of him the first two years in the league, then suddenly at the end of year three they had to give him a huge contract to either retain him as a restricted free agent and/or preventing him from playing his fourth year out and becoming an unrestricted free agent.

      Had Bynum been stashed for the first two years on a Euro team, the Lakers then would have been able to retain him for professional years 3-5 at the rookie salary scale (not just years 1-3). It’s a fair argument on the part of management if you ask me. Yes, Bynum is very important to the Lakers right now, but has he really earned the $10M or so he’s getting paid this year based on past performance?

  22. bigtrav425 - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    This is and would be GREAT for college and NBA.It would be great for both games and the players as well.Dont see how anyone can see differently.For every LBJ ,Garnett etc there are 8 other guys who havnt made it or has become maybe the 8th or 9th guy on the bench

    • rorjr99 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      You don’t even know who the players are on the bench (I am sure even for your favorite team), so your post makes little sense.

  23. purdueman - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    One thing that’s never discussed regarding the “one and done-ers” is their college affiliations. Is it really representative of the University or their alumni for example to refer to Derrick Rose as being “Derrick Rose of Memphis University”, if he only passed 4 lousy classes (only about 5% of the requirements to earn a degree). I certainly don’t think so.

    In fact, in Chicago Rose is introduced in pre-game introductions as “Derrick Rose from Chicago” (his home town, which obviously in his case works much better for him anyways).

    What I would like to see implemented is that if you haven’t successfully completed at least half or more of your collegiate graduation hours required, you get introduced as Rose is as being from your home town. After all, to simply spend only one and half semesters at any university shouldn’t mean that you get the recognition as being FROM that university.

    The NCAA is moving towards a much overdue penalty system that would hit collegiate programs where it hurts (i.e., number of allowed/granted scholarships), to start discouraging schools focusing their recruiting efforts primarily on “one and done-ers”, as Calipari currently shamelessly does. In essence, the NCAA wants to tie the number of full scholarships to graduation rates; about time!

    • rorjr99 - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Totally missed your point about teams who submit to the “One and Done” practice, like Calipari… I mentioned it above without noticing your post.

      My bad.

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