In the history of the NBA draft, there has been some great basketball players drafted. Some entered directly from high school, known as prep-to-pros and some entered with college experience. Starting in 2006, the NBA had an age minimum of 19 in place and a basketball player had to be one year out of high school to enter their draft.
During the 2005 NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement talks, then Commissioner, David Stern was pushing for the minimum age to be increased to 20, but the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) felt that 19 was more feasible.
There were many factors involved in this decision, but one major concern pertaining to prep-to-pro players was that they lacked the necessary emotional, psychological, and physical maturity for life in the NBA.
If you listened to NBA owners and executives, you would have thought that there was this huge influx of high school players entering their names into the NBA draft, but that certainly wasn’t the case at all!
After the 1971 U.S. Supreme court ruling that abolished the NBA’s "four-year rule," which stipulated that a player couldn't be drafted or signed to an NBA contract until his college class graduated, only 42 high school basketball players were drafted prior to the 2006 minimum age requirement!
In my opinion, the new NBA draft restrictions caused what is now classified as the one-and-done rule in college basketball. The higher quality basketball players such as: DRose, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker chose to go this route.
Many feel that this is destroying college basketball, but the NCAA and the majority of their member schools can share much of the blame for the destruction of college sports period!
There’s a lot of revenue generated by college football and basketball student-athletes in the Power 5 conferences and other than a paid education, they don’t get to see one dime of it! With billions being generated by student-athletes for the NCAA and member schools, there needs to be some major changes implemented!
I'm not saying that you start paying college student-athletes to play, but the NCAA should allow stipends for student-athletes participating in revenue making sports such as basketball and football.
Also the NCAA should allow college student-athletes the ability to cash in on the use of their own name, likeness and image like their organization and coaches are allowed to do.
Now all of a sudden, you have many college basketball coaches and NBA executives pushing for a 20 year age minimum for the draft.
If the minimum age is increased, the biggest winner would be the NBA, mainly because the further back they push the minimum age requirement to enter the draft, the more it financially favors them. Draftees would be in the midst of rookie pay scale contracts during their prime years in the league, which pays far less than future contract agreements.
On Thursday April 9, 2015 Duke University and the University of Kentucky standout freshmen: Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns declared for the 2015 NBA draft. Many believe they'll be the overall No.1 and No. 2 player's selected.
Although many may dislike the one-and-done rule in place, both of these young men would assume all the risk involved if they returned for their sophomore seasons. The later they make themselves available for the NBA draft, the older they would be entering a rookie pay scale contract, losing out on millions in basketball-related income! Also both would risk the possibility of suffering from career ending injuries while in college.
Entering the draft after this season will allow both to sign rookie pay scale contracts at the age of 19.. Both would in all probability sign for 4 years and make the maximum amount of money allowed which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $24 million plus. Although Okafor and Towns will not be the only freshmen declaring for the NBA draft, they will certainly be the first two selected!
If both Okafor and Towns live up to all the high expectations, They would be eligible to sign extensions with the teams contracted with or become free agents at around 22 years of age. Both would be in great positions to sign maximum 5 year deals somewhere in the neighborhood of $94 million plus! (estimate)
By the age of 26, both will have grossed well over $116 million dollars from basketball salaries alone. Please keep in mind, the first two years of NBA rookie contracts and future contract salaries are guaranteed!
Although I may not advise all freshmen or underclassmen to enter the NBA draft early, I commend both Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns for taking a chance by spinning the wheel of fortune! In my opinion it's certainly a gamble worth taking!