If you wonder why there is an age limit on players entering the NBA, it’s because the veterans aren’t all that concerned about those young players coming to take their jobs.
It comes up again because 35-year-old Shawn Marion was asked if he had any advice for incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and he threw out this, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.
“I think the age requirement for coming into the league should be higher,” he said…
“It should be at least two years (out of high school),” Marion said. “Two to three years, minimum.”
NBA owners have wanted to up that number, too. If you think it’s about the quality of the game, you’re wrong. It’s about their impression of risk — they think if they and their scouts see a player three years or more in college it will limit some draft mistakes, they will have more time to evaluate players. Plus it would allow players more time to build up marketing star power before they get to the NBA (college coaches would love to have the best players longer, too).
Of course, the scouting mistakes part is not — draft busts are not some new phenomenon; NBA GMs were missing on picks back when they got to see players for years and years. Michael Olowokandi spent three years in college, how did that work out? The list goes on and on with misfires on guys they saw for four years.
Also, a player doesn’t develop faster in college — he is limited in his practice hours by the NCAA and plays against inferior competition, plus the coaching isn’t as consistent. You develop and mature in college (and it’s a great experience) but you don’t improve faster as a player than you would in the NBA, where hoops becomes your full time job. Basically the NBA owners just would like to have someone else develop their players and not on their dime. (Personally, I’ve always favored more of the baseball rule — you can get drafted straight out of high school but if you go to college you have to stay three years. The owners don’t want to scout and draft high schoolers, however, so it’s not likely.)
By the way, Marion also thinks there should be no salary cap.
“I could see no cap and everybody doing what you want to do,” he said. “Baseball does it. If you want to go out and spend $200 million on your team (payroll), go ahead and do it.
“It can’t guarantee that you’re going to win, but why not? If you’ve got the money to do it, why not?
“There shouldn’t be a cutoff on what people want to spend for their teams, but there should be a minimum that have to spend, so you definitely put a good product on the floor.”
Spoken like a guy who plays for Mark Cuban.
And I love he thinks the owners should have a floor but not a ceiling. I bet a lot of players would like that.