For years, NBA fans have clamored for the league to officially lower the draft age from 19 back to 18. It will allow prospects to jump to the pros straight out of High School, just like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett.
This summer, league commissioner Adam Silver has actually made real progress in moving back the draft age, and it has gained a lot of attention online.
"The league and NBPA are expected to agree on moving the age eligibility for the NBA Draft from 19 years old to 18, clearing the way for the return of high school players who want to make the leap to the NBA, per sources with knowledge of the discussions (via Shams Charania).
"The NBA set the draft age limit at 19 years old in 2005. Silver said in July that he was 'hopeful' for the rule changing in the next CBA cycle, and both sides appear motivated to reduce the age eligibility for the draft.
The rule change would allow many young players (like Bronny) to make the transition to the pros earlier, which obviously comes with a lot of perks.
Changing The Draft Age May Not Actually Do Much To Help The NBA
In a recent article, however, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie explained why lowering the draft age may not have that much of an impact at all. Here's why:
After canvassing various NBA, college and youth basketball stakeholders for opinions, I believe the answers to those last two questions is “No.” I don’t think allowing high schoolers back into the NBA will add to the overall health of the league, and I’m not necessarily convinced it’ll benefit the 18-year-olds who would become eligible to enter the NBA workforce. More importantly, if anything changes regarding the overall development of youth basketball players, it will be for the worse. There’s no current problem that lowering the age minimum will solve.
Many of the reasons often floated in favor of the league allowing high schoolers to enter the draft at 18 don’t stand up to scrutiny. The actual level of play within the league will be hindered, not improved, by this move, in part due to a league-wide shift in the way talent evaluators define player value.
But the biggest issue with Silver’s position is that despite its pro-labor roots, it is actually worse for prospective NBA players than the current alternative, not better. What works for a typical workforce will not work for this one.
Vecenie goes on to explain that since young players have so many different ways to make money nowadays, they no longer need NBA salaries to rake in the big bucks
All-in-all, the landscape has changed in the NBA, and things aren't what they used to be. While most fans are ready for the draft age to be lowered, it could have drastic and unforeseen implications on the state of the league.