NBA Commissioner David Stern may be talking about retirement in a couple years, but that’s not keeping him from speaking his mind on the future of the league. During a press conference earlier this week, Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver fielded a number of questions. With the Final Four approaching, Stern and Silver were asked about the NBA’s age limit which states that a player must wait a year after their high school graduation year to enter the NBA Draft. The rule was designed to make players more NBA ready after a flood of high school seniors flamed out once they reached the league. However, there has been some backlash because of the effect it’s had on college recruiting and the overall quality of the game. As Jeff Zillgitt with the Tuscon Citizen writes, Stern and Silver both don’t see the age limit going anywhere.
“We don’t think it’s appropriate for us to lecture kids whether they should or shouldn’t go to school,” Stern told reporters. “For our business purposes, the longer we can get to look at young men playing against first-rate competition, that’s a good thing, because draft picks are a very valuable thing.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert said a few weeks ago he’d like to see the NBA’s rule become a two and done instead of a one and done. Stern responded by saying there’s nothing stopping the NCAA from coming up with it’s own rules for players leaving school early.
“A college could always have players who are not one and done, they could do that,” Stern said. “They could actually require the players go to classes. I’m really digging myself a hole. Or they could get the players to agree that they stay in school and ask for their scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promises. There all kinds of things that if a bunch of people got together and really wanted to do it rather than talk about it.”
Typical Stern. Fortunately, Silver quickly added that he felt Emmert was the guy who would address the issue of so many one and done athletes, though didn’t elaborate on any plans that the three had discussed. I like the one and done rule for the NBA. There are definitely guys who can step in straight out of high school (that LeBron guy comes to mind), but you could argue even a guy like Dwight Howard could’ve used a year of college. Maybe Howard’s offensive game would be better if he took a year in college to work on it.
For the NBA, it makes sense to want to avoid an NBA Draft like 2001, where Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler were three of the first four picks and only Chandler has lived up to his potential and even that took five seasons before Chandler finally seemed to get it. If we’re talking about the greater good, the age limit is the best because it prevents the Ousmanne Cisse’s and James Lang’s of the world from going from high school stud to NBA flame out.