Tyson Chandler jumped straight from high school to the NBA, the No. 2 overall pick in 2001. He and Eddy Curry were going to be the future of the Knicks. I don’t need to remind you how that went.
Chandler is why the owners like the age limit — he has developed into a very good NBA player, but it took time for him to get there. He had to mature, his game had to mature. NBA owners and management would love that development to happen on somebody else’s dime. Some guys never mature — see Curry — and the owners would love to have a better chance to figure that out.
Chandler, in a fascinating and wide-ranging interview at TrueHoop, says that the problem is teams see the talents but often struggle to see the person.
A lot of the young stars that have carried the torch for our league have come out of high school. Whether it’s Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, you can go on and on.
I definitely think that whole talk about high school players not being responsible is untrue. You can have guys play four years of college and not make it in this league. You can have guys go four years in college and do something crazy. We see that every day.
I think it’s more the person, the character of the person, than it is the age. It’s in human nature, to hopefully get older, and get wiser through experience. But not everybody does that. I think it’s up to the person that’s investing their time and their money in the product, and in this case the product is basketball players and young men. I think it’s up to them, the decision to decide if they want to invest their money and time in a particular young man with a particular character. You take millions of dollars to scout and make these decisions. Let them earn their check.
I agree — predicting how an 18-year-old will mature is risky, but you can get a sense of work ethic, passion, drive of the person. Kobe had it, KG had it, Kwame Brown didn’t. And you should be able to see that. Don’t tell the 18-year-old who is ready he has to do something else for a couple years because you don’t make good decisions.
That said, I think it’s more likely the age limit goes up, not down, with the new labor agreement.