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Poll: Should NBA Raise Age Minimum?

Shortly after Adam Silver took over for David Stern as the NBA’s commissioner, it was reported that Silver would seek to bump the NBA’s minimum age from 19 to 20.  The league and the union discussed that idea back in 2011 during  the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations but the disorganization of the NBPA prevented that from going through.  Now that things appear to be settled for the union, the issue of raising the age minimum could go right back to the top of the pile.

There are multiple reasons behind the NBA’s push to raise the age minimum.  For starters, teams believe that they will reduce their odds of drafting a bust if the are choosing from a pool of older players who have more high-level basketball experience on their resume.  After all, while the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett were ready to go pro straight out of high school, players like Kwame Brown, Robert Swift, and Sebastian Telfair would have either benefitted from some seasoning in college (or, at the very least, they would have had their weaknesses exposed before turning pro).  Anecdotally, the idea makes sense, but whether a raised age minimum would actually makes GMs jobs easier is debatable.

Also, boosting the age minimum will keep costs down on stars as players would have to wait an extra year before shedding their rookie contract and the subsequent second contract.  Strangely enough, the history of sports labor unions would indicate that the union might actually be on the same page as the league when it comes to this issue.  While the union wants to see its stars paid well, there are more players in the lower tiers than at the very top, as Tom Ziller of SB Nation noted earlier this year.

Of course, an age 20 minimum for the NBA wouldn’t necessarily drive everyone to spend two years in college.  Players can pursue overseas opportunities as Brandon Jennings did before the 2009 draft and top 2015 prospect Emmanuel Mudiay will do this season.  Players might also opt to join the NBA’s ever-growing D-League.  While it doesn’t pay well, it’s still something in terms of compensation and would allow players who aren’t all that interested in education to focus solely on playing basketball.  The NBA would like to turn the D-League into a full-fledged farm system that can draw significant TV money and adding the nation’s top teenage talent would go a long way towards making it a reality.

The NBA and the NBPA will duke this out down the road, but we want to know what your thoughts on the issue are today.

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One thought on “Poll: Should NBA Raise Age Minimum?

  1. Randolph_Knackstedt

    I would not put an age restriction on young players as long as they’re 18 years of age. Once they become an adult, I feel they can make their own decision.

    What happens if an 18 year old was good enough to be selected by an NBA team, yet they’re not allowed to be in the NBA due to their age and they blow out their knee or some other horrific injury while playing in college or overseas? Maybe that injury never would have happened if they weren’t forced to stay out of the NBA until 20 years old.

    I understand playing in college can make a young player more NBA ready and they might potentially have a better career in the NBA by being able to contribute sooner than later. But If they’re an adult, I feel they should be allowed to make an adult decision for themselves.

    An 18 year old can be shipped overseas to fight and die for their country, but they’re not allowed to play in the NBA? Give me a break. If they have the chance to get to the NBA at 18 or 19, something could happen that could possibly prevent them from ever getting to the NBA if they’re forced to wait.

    Just let the players decide.

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