February 12, 2014

I agree with a 20-year-old NBA age limit

And, I want it for both NCAA college players and Europeans.

New commish Adam Silver has already indicated he's down with the idea; the question is, what's the players' union's stance?

I agree that owners might like it for somewhat cynical reasons, namely there's likely to be a bit fewer "busts" in draft picks if players are a bit older. Plus, if they're a bit older, that's theoretically one less year of pro contract lifespan. That said, that, and other league reasons like the ones listed here, aren't necessarily cynical.

As for reasons it's bad? Yes, 19-year-olds won't get paid in cash in college. But, as one article notes, they can still go D-league or Europe if they're that desperate. Or they can spend another year learning better skills at D-I NCAA schools. And, is "good for college" bad for the NBA? Not at all. As for the reasons we don't see it in baseball is that a direct-from-high-school baseballer KNOWS he's going to the minors, for a number of reasons. As for hockey? There's developmental levels there, too. (And, I'm not linking to the slideshow linkbait article against which I'm arguing.)

Citing Ben McLemore as a financial reason might be OK. Citing Kobe Bryant as the exception who proves the rule is not. Even if he had some degree of game skills, he was not always emotionally mature, or close. And he was at the top of the level of high school players for that.

Steve Kerr, with multiple angles of wisdom as a player, a GM and a broadcaster, nails these issues. That includes Kobe's immaturity showing up in the 1997 playoffs.

From the NCAA side, there's no doubt it would make for a better game. Kentucky's John Calipari, who won a title with a bunch of one-and-done players, is in favor.

And, as a Kansas fan, I'm with him. I'd love to see Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid play another year in Lawrence. Wiggins just might have the maturity level for the NBA, but he could probably use another year of college toughening. Embiid, an African immigrant, could surely use another pre-pro year of life in America. Another college year of further refining his back-to-the-basket game couldn't hurt.

Plus, an extra year of pre-pro experience will trickle down. Not so many collegians will try to be Euro-step hot dogs right away. That, then, will translate down to high school level.

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