Time For The NBA To Do Away With Age Restrictions
Amir Johnson who found most of his success with the Toronto Raptors should be a name familiar to many NBA fans. Most may not know however he was the last player drafted to the NBA out of high school as the 56th overall pick in 2005.
It is seriously time for Adam silver to consider the age requirement to enter the NBA. The rule states you have to be 19 and one year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft.
There are two high level players who are being hurt by this rule. Memphis University talented freshman Emoni Bates and G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson, what do they have in common they are both only 17. You can more than likely count on both hands the number of players straight from high school to the NBA that became stars. The difference between then and now however is that this is not the same NBA since the age rule went into effect.
2005 was the last draft to include high school players and saw the most amount of high school players drafted in a single class (9). Players at one point were forced to go to college for one to two years when they would have opted for the NBA but now players are getting smarter and taking the money route. Players such as Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay started the wave of skipping college and going overseas to get paid plus some type of professional experience. Players such as RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball also decided to go this route skipping college and both playing in Australia.
You may look at Emoni Bates recent slump and assume it is a good thing that he had to go to college because it may have been worse in the NBA but because of his age, he is forced to play two years of college or go another route for a year before he is even eligible for the NBA thus him being 17. When you look at Scoot Henderson however, he is in the G League holding its own against grown men and even former NBA players. Even with him putting up decent stats in the G League he also suffers from his age being a disadvantage for him.
The reason some athletes leave school early is so that they may be able to financially support their families. If they do not meet the age requirements their families would have to wait to be helped by them. NIL deals, the G League, and Overseas would help with financial woes but they do not compare to an NBA contract.
One could argue that a 17 or 18 year old does not possess the maturity levels to play at a professional level. Age does not guarantee that you will be mature an 18-year-old can possess more maturity than a 22 year old and may also have more skill, so the teenager should not be punished simply for his age. You have the issue of prime years you never what a person’s prime may be, so you need to use as much of it as possible before the decline.
If you want players to stop looking at overseas leagues as alternates to the NBA it is time to do away with age restrictions. Players are also not as eager to go to college as players were in previous decades because of the corruptness it holds. The NCAA is a business where it has suspended players for money and then fined them for taking money. There are the NIL deals now, but it is not where it can be with paying players yet so younger players still would suffer from age restrictions. When you have a new generation of players with a skill set the older generations could only dream of it is a crime to hold those players back simply of their age.
The NCAA has fans who say that the one and done rule is hurting the sport but the one and done rule is a direct correlation to the NBA Age Restriction rule. Zion Williamson plays a unique style of bully ball that has not been seen in years and he did not learn that in college. Williamson however did get hurt in lone college season when he would have been in the NBA already. Kevin Garnett and LeBron James had immediate impact. I am not saying that we ever see another LeBron James or even Kevin Garnett, but the potential could be in a high school kid who is forced to waste one or two of their golden years.