Adam Silver discussed the current NBA age requirements at his annual NBA Finals press conference on Thursday. There has been a long debate centered around the current system and how it has impacted the NBA and NCAA Men’s Basketball. The system that is in place currently began in 2006 and has two main requirements.
- A player must be 19 years old before entering the NBA draft.
- A player must be one year removed from high school before entering the NBA draft.
Before 2006, players were allowed to enter the draft straight out of high school and the last two high profile players to do so were Lebron James and Dwight Howard.
During the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2011, the NBA and NBA Players Union held different opinions regarding what changes were needed to the age requirement rule. NBA.com covered the press conference yesterday and captured Adam Silver discussing those differing opinions.
“I think we all agree that we need to make a change,” Silver said. “As I’ve said before, our position, at least our formal position, going into bargaining was that we wanted to raise the minimum age from 19 to 20, and of course their formal position was they want to lower the age from 19 to 18.” Silver continued, “It’s one of those issues that we need to come together and study.”
While the NBA and the Players Union have been the main players at the table when this issue has been discussed, Silver, according to NBA.com, made it clear that several NCAA Coaches and Athletic Directors have expressed their concern about the current system as well.
“It’s not working for the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from. They’re not happy with the current system.”
While there is clearly a need for all sides to sit down and discuss a solution to the problem, it seems hard to envision a resolution where all parties walk away happy.
According to the Washington Post, one concern that NBA teams have is that their top draft picks are not performing at the level at which they would expect, in part due to their short stay in college. Silver discussed this issue as well during his press conference.
“And I know our teams aren’t happy, either, in part because they don’t necessarily think that the players are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see among the top draft picks in the league.”
For the players, money is the biggest motivation behind their desire for the age limit restriction to go away. According to SBNation, raising the age limit to 20 would take away money from the players. Players don’t want to spend an extra year in college not earning the millions that they feel they would be receiving if they were playing in the NBA instead; plain and simple.
The final piece to the puzzle that comprises this unsolvable problem is the impact that the age limit is having on college basketball programs. Foxsports discussed how the college game has been impacted by the one and done rule during this year’s NCAA Tournament. The biggest issue for college coaches and college basketball fans is that the product is directly impacted by this rule. Gone are the days where teams had between two to four years to develop a team full of players capable of winning a championship.
Under the current system, a college’s best players are always going leave after one year. It makes no sense not to. Because of this, the college game struggles to produce quality teams. Instead, there are a few marquee programs that will attract the best of the one and done boys and win big with them before doing the same thing the next year with a whole new crop of draft lottery talent.
Adam Silver is acutely aware that the current system cannot continue the way it is. What remains to be seen is what type of agreement, if any, can be developed that makes sense for all parties involved. This is the type of issue that typically leads to a lock-out, which will definitely be in play when the next CBA is negotiated.
[Featured Image by James Crisp/AP Images]