NBA Age Limit Revisited

Mike OwensCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2008

It was just a short while ago when David Stern first introduced an age limit to the NBA.

The rule states that no one under the age of 19 or hasn’t been out of high school for at least a year to declare eligibility for the NBA draft.  Both stipulations seemed fair at the time and still do.

If Stern has it his way, though, we might be seeing an increase in that.

In a recent report, Stern has said that he would like to raise that age limit to 20, basically killing any true freshman’s ability from entering the draft.

On the surface, this looks like it could be a good idea.  By making players stay another year, their games may become more polished and they might become even more NBA-ready than what they may already be.

There is one problem with this idea though: it is pointless.

It was understandable the first time through, and it did work. 

By putting it on there, it prevented us from having the super projects in the NBA.  No longer did players like Andrew Bynum or a young Jermaine O’Neal have to sit on the bench. 

Instead, they were getting the experience they needed by dominating college ball. 

This is exactly why Kevin Durant came to the league and was able to be a 20-point per game scorer.  Granted, he has been somewhat of a volume scorer, the thought of a rookie scoring at that rate still is incredible. 

Had he come straight from high school, he probably would not be doing this either.

To get to the point here, there is no point in putting a leash on players like Durant, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden.  All these players are or were more than ready for the NBA after one year. 

Durant won player of the year and dominated the Big 12 with ease, Oden dominated the rough Big 10 with one hand, and Beasley basically is doing everything Durant did last year and a little more. 

None of those players would benefit much more from an extra year of college.  They might polish their game a little bit, but their games are largely ready for the rigors of the long NBA season. 

The other issue that could stem from adding a year to this is the mass amount of “what-if?” situations that could arise.  What if that player gets injured?  What if they are less than spectacular as a sophomore?  What if, what if, what if? You get the point here.

So, while some may vouch for adding another year to the age limit, it just does not seem like a good idea over here.  Sure, players get that added year of experience, but, for some, it just is not necessary.

Why put a leash on a player who is already ready for the NBA?  Why put them in a situation where they can hurt their future with an injury or a bad sophomore season?  There is no point to it.

The NBA age limit is just fine where it is, and there is no point to changing it. It is that simple.