ARTICLE OF THE DAY
'em While You Can
by Josh Spence
Over the past several
years, the trend in the NBA, and more specifically the NBA draft, has
been towards players with no college experience. In fact, over the past
four years the first pick in the NBA draft has been used on such a
player. This, however, is a trend that may have seen its end. A new
collective bargaining agreement has been reached between the NBA and
players' union that will not only assure NBA basketball for the next
years, but will also assure no player under the age of 19 will be
allowed in the NBA.
With the new agreement, this year's NBA draft likely marks the final
time that a player under the age of 19 will be eligible for the NBA
draft. The new agreement makes it so that players in the U.S.
will have to wait one year after the date their high school class
graduates to be draft eligible. International players must turn 19 by
the end of the calendar year in which they become draft eligible.
Ironically, even without the new agreement, the streak of players taken
number one overall having no college experience likely would have come
to an end this year. The Milwaukee Bucks have the first pick, and
all signs point to them taking either North Carolina freshman Marvin
Williams or Utah Center Andrew Bogut with the first selection.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction for the NBA, a league
that has come under tremendous criticism in recent years.
Increasing the age minimum has an obvious positive effect: only older,
more experienced players will be allowed. Players will now have
more incentive to test the collegiate game and prove their skills at
the next level. This will not only enrich the NBA game, but
college as well. Not to mention the NBA-DL (developmental
league), which will decrease its minimum age from 20 to 18. The
NBA-DL should get a boost from players who want another option besides
The new age requirement is not the only change coming for the
NBA. The salary cap has gone up, and there is more flexibility
for teams when it comes to free agency. Also, the NBA reduced the
length required for long-term contracts from 7 years to 6, and reduced
the length of guaranteed contracts for rookie first round picks from 3
years to 2. This will go a long way in improving the overall
quality of the NBA. It will decrease a player's chance to sign
lengthy contracts only to sit back for a few years, give a halfway
effort and collect a guaranteed check. In essence, it will create
more "contract years", and enable teams to pay players based more on
their performance. In addition, the NBA has beefed up its
substance abuse policy, not only on performance enhancing drugs, but
recreational usage as well. Hopefully, this will "weed-out" some
of the thuggish image the NBA has taken on.