One of the reported talking points of the upcoming CBA negotiations is to put in a 20-year-old age limit on players to be drafted or play in the NBA. Let me offer a quick opinion on this â€” not going to happen.
What is probably going to happen instead (and I have now read this rumor on Chad Fordâ€™s ESPN.com column and heard it from a front office person of the Long Beach Jam, both of whom called it â€œlikelyâ€) is that the NBA is going to start an official minor league. The NBDL would be the base, and it would likely grow some, with teams sending their players there for development and coaching they canâ€™t get in college â€” no restrictions on hours per week of practice and, in many cases, better coaching.
It would have advantages for NBA teams. Lets use the Lakers as an example. I have called for Sasha to get more playing time, taking some away from Tierre Brown. The reason is not Sasha is better than Tierre, heâ€™s not at this point. But he needs some court time â€” and some weight â€” to see what he really can be and heâ€™s not getting that at the end of the bench. Frank Hamblen, And Rudy T. before hhim, didn’t see it that way as they get paid to win (and right now, in a playoff chase, there is not time for players to find themselves). Send Sasha and players like Tony Bobbitt to a minor league team, where they can play and get better with the ability to call them up as needed, and the Lakers are making bigger steps toward the future.
The starting of this minor league would be a direct reaction to all the high school players entering the draft in recent years. If they are not going to college, and they are not Amare Stoudemire or Dwight Howard, they are going to get a couple years of seasoning somewhere.
But the move would be another big blow to the NCAA, where the kids used to go to get that seasoning. If a kid coming out of high school who is on the border of declaring for the draft now had a minor league to go to â€” no classes and a paycheck, albeit a smaller one â€” then why go to UCLA or Duke? Some will still go to college, but fewer and fewer of the best players will.
I love the energy of the college game, even if the play is lacking at times, and Iâ€™d encourage anyone to go to college for a few years just for the experience of being on a campus. This new minor league, if it comes to pass, will make days like today, and all of March, just a little less mad.
Regular readers will notice that a post I put up for 24 hours on Friday, about the Laker defense in wins versus losses, is now gone. The reason is I found the stat on which I based the post on ESPN while looking for something else and thought it worth of comment. Except that I misunderstood what ESPN was doing (it was not intuitive) and so my information was wrong. The post is now toast and I apologize for not double checking and posting something that wasnâ€™t true.
For the record, the Lakers give up 96 points in their wins and 104 points in their losses.