The Brandon Jennings-Josh Childress Syndrome

Curly MorrisAnalyst IJuly 28, 2008

You may not see it now—but the NBA is headed for obsolescence.

1. High school star decides to play basketball in Europe after he is unable to achieve satisfactory SAT test score for admittance to college, and the professional basketball league says that he can't be drafted until he turns 19 or he has been out of high school for at least one year.

1 (a). Is it just me, or do you all not see that it is ridiculous to care what a kid's SAT score is when everyone knows that he's going to be in school for one season and then leave?

If the rationale is that all students should have to meet a qualifying academic standard to be admitted to an institution, then like all other students shouldn't said athlete be allowed to work and make money like all the other students?

Oh, that's right he doesn't have time to work, because he's spending 14 hours a day with the basketball team—which is, by the way, selling a jersey with his name for it at $59.99 a pop in the student center and plastering the kid's face all over local television networks as they advertise their "season packages" for viewers.

My bad...he is getting a free education after all. Yeah, for one season.

And if his education is free then how does the balance sheet work out when you factor in television contracts, sneaker contracts and salaries for coaches—don't forget those American Express commercials, Coach K!—and season tickets going for several hundred dollars a pop?

I wonder—if you subtracted Michael Beasley's tuition from all of the revenue lowly Kansas State made off of him last year, how much money would the school owe Beasley?

                      Thanks David Stern!

1 (b).  Doesn't the NBA have a development league for this kind of athlete? What the hell is the use of the NBDL?

2. Key member of young up-and-coming NBA playoff team, unhappy with contract negotiations, decides to bolt for Europe. The player makes the decision to go overseas so abruptly one has to wonder if that was what he had desired to do all along, and spent the entire season hoping for bad contract negotiations.

2 (a). Houston? Atlanta? We have a problem.

What player doesn't want to play in the NBA? Well, obviously Josh Childress—but wait, there's more! Tiago Splitter, Boki Nachbar, Carlos Delfino, Primo Brezec have all left as well, among others.

Many foreign-born players are drafted by NBA teams, and either never come to the States to play—or, after receiving limited play for limited pay, decide to go back to Europe.

Two of the last three NBA MVPs have been foreign nationals. Two seasons ago, the Finals MVP was a Frenchman. Not only has the world caught up with the US in hoops, it's extremely possible they may have passed us.

2 (b).
While a high-school player bolting for Europe may seem like a novelty, an established player in the prime of his career leaving is something for the NBA to be concerned about. As we wait for the floodgates of high schoolers to open, the real concern may be the James Poseys, Eddie Houses, Nazir Mohammeds and Brent Barrys of the world.

These role players are as integral to the success of championship teams as are their superstar counterparts.  If they start heading overseas en masse...

3. Could the NBA lose it's standing as the best basketball league in the world? Of course. Not only is it not far-fetched, it would take only a minimal logistical effort to pull it off.

While watching Men's Basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics (not the terrorist part that is almost inevitable in China), try to imagine how each of the national teams would fare against NBA teams and imagine a World League where teams like Argentina, France, Greece, Russia, and China would suit up against the best US players on a regular basis. A league like that would make teams like the Clippers, Knicks, Bobcats, Bucks and many others completely irrelevant.

                                                       For's not about the money!

I have a cousin that is a huge college basketball fan. Not me.

Screw college basketball. Who needs it?. Personally, I'm only interested in college hoops when it's tourney time and then only because it means that the NBA playoffs are not far behind.

I like watching the best players in the world play basketball, period. To hell with all that rah rah, win one for the team (i.e. the multi-millionaire coach who makes more money that the school president) and the students (who complain about your free ride every day after they awaken from a drunken stupor when you upset the No. 1 team in the country).

Who needs this crap?

Guess what? Many of the world's best players are not from the United States, and if you gave me a network that allowed me to watch the aforementioned national teams line up against each other on a regular basis, why the hell would I watch the Charlotte Bobcats play the Milwaukee Bucks?

3 (b).  In a global market where communication and media that span across continents is as accessible as sliced bread, the glamor of the US version of hoops has lost some luster,—especially if we continue to get mauled in international competition.

In the last two major international basketball competitions, the U.S. has finished in third place, which suggests that foreign players feel that USA basketball is no longer all that it's cracked up to be. Obviously, US players are starting to feel that way as well.