Since Reggie Harding, the number of players drafted into the NBA straight from high school increased exponentially. But in 2005, the NBA enacted a rule to prevent scouts from visiting high schools. This meant players ages 19 and over were qualified for the NBA Draft. Now, they’re looking to ease up on that regulation in a big way.
Closing The Age Gap
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is looking to allow 18-year-olds to enroll in the NBA Draft. While this is major news, Silver is also looking to expand on the NBA’s relationship with athletes still in high school. Aside from opening up the NBA Draft, another option is to send potential players to the G League.
In 2001, the G League was formed as the NBA’s minor league offshoot. Many players in this league have less than two years of experience in the NBA or are free agents. G League athletes earn around $26,000 per season.
The Big Discussion
“This is a complex challenge, and there’s still a lot of discussion about how it’s going to happen, but we all see the need to step in,” one staff member told ESPN.
Silver’s is expected to deliver his new plan after the NBA season is officially over. There are also rumors that Silver will unveil a plan before the playoffs start.
A Cautionary Tale
Many have pointed to history as proof that allowing kids as young as 16 to play in the NBA was a major mistake. A handful of high school students who jumped to the big leagues simply weren’t ready. 1998 draft pick Korleone Young only played three games with the Pistons before being released. He never again set foot on the NBA court.
1999 pick Leon Smith was drafted by the Mavericks, but was released without playing a single game with them. Smith went on to play for the Hawks and SuperSonics, but he only lasted a short time with each team. Smith lasted 14 games with the Hawks and only one game with the SuperSonics.
With this move ahead, the playing field in the NBA will be a bit tougher in the next few years. Many hungry young players will indeed want to make a major impression on coaches. The real test will be to see which budding athletes forgo a college education for a shot at the big leagues.