Early Entry Into the NBA
Ahhh good old March. Hands down the best time of the year for college hoops fans thanks to the wonderful NCAA tournament. It is, in my opinion, the most exciting playoff tournament of all sports. The idea of a sixteen seed mid-major beating the number one school in the country is just amazing! Not to mention all of the other bracket busting games that go on, it’s no wonder they call it “March Madness”.
But for others, March is exciting for a whole other reason. This is the time of year where NBA scouts are working overtime trying to find the next superstar like a LeBron James or the diamond in the rough that nobody sees like a Jeremy Lin. But, as a result of all this hype, are players getting too excited about the NBA and entering the draft too early?
Currently, players must complete one year of university in order to be eligible for the NBA draft. It used to be that you could be drafted directly out of high school, but few players have had great success taking that route. The reason being that, even though they may be talented basketball players, they haven’t had the chance to mature as young men. Even now with the new rules, having players enter the NBA after one year at the colligate level is a bit unsettling. A few players from the 2011 draft class come to mind. Brandon Knight for example, in my eyes didn’t seem ready for the NBA, and it showed at the beginning of the season as he struggled shooting and handling the ball. He, and many other players, would benefit greatly from staying an extra year or two in the NCAA. Two great examples of why it would be in a players best interest to stay, are point guards Isaiah Thomas, and Norris Cole. Both seniors who entered the NBA and have had great impacts on their respective teams. Isaiah Thomas, playing for the Sacramento Kings, was the LAST pick in the 2011 draft and is now the starting point guard. Norris Cole is giving the Miami Heat great minutes off of the bench and is a great back up to Mario Chalmers. Cole shows great promise and will no doubt be a starter and great player in a couple of years.
The President of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, even agrees that the rules for players entering the draft should be changed. He stated during a half time interview of Elite eight match up of Kentucky and Butler, that the rule should be changed to three years at the colligate level instead of the current, one year minimum program. However, this rule is out of his hands as it is up to the NBA players association to make the change.
Furthermore, players who played at the collage level tend to “last” longer in the NBA than those who come straight from high school. A prime example would be Kevin Garnett. At the age of 34, he is an aging veteran in the NBA. Garnett entered the draft straight from high school and as a result has had a lot of hard “NBA miles” on his body.
On the other hand, last years draft class was seen to be a “weaker” than normal class and as a result it may look as if players are suffering from a lack of experience.
No matter the case, there have been enough success stories to support an early ticket to the NBA.