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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

More On the NBA's Proposed Age Limit

Ian O'Connor of USA Today seems hopping mad about this. His basic premise: let the kids with the good hops play, regardless of their age. It's a good piece, and O'Connor points out how good this past year's HS crop has turned out to be. His ultimate point: let the kids play and let the teams determine on their own whether they want the kids in the first place.

I agree wholeheartedly, and I hit some of the same points in my previous post on the topic (which I wrote in response to some of the remarks Jermaine O'Neal made about Commissioner David Stern's intentions).

The NBA has benefitted significantly from its youthful image. Many of the young kids have serious games. The NBA has hurt itself in certain ways by not bowing to tradition, but letting kids into the league who under 20 doesn't for a moment mean that you're jettisoning tradition. The same way excluding those kids doesn't mean you're honoring tradition. More importantly, there is no correlation between the quality of the product and a policy that admits or excludes into the league kids who are 20 and under.

Absolutely none.

So what's the point?

My guess is that the policy is the NBA's attempt to put some more cosmetics on its mediocre product. By spinning this policy to their advantage, the NBA will try to send the message that they'll have a crisper, more fundamentally sound game by keeping out HS kids who aren't ready for the world or the NBA. Sadder than the policy itself is that some people will believe it.

The types who focus more on the sizzle than the steak.

Read O'Connor's article and read my prior post, and then tell me that the sole problem for the NBA in terms of the quality of its product rests at the doorsteps of HS kids who enter the NBA draft.

That's right, blame Dwight Howard for the plum awful shooting percentages. Blame Sebastian Telfair for the fact that there are too many teams in the league. Blame Josh Smith for the fact that too many teams make the playoffs. Blame all of the HS kids for the fact that the games aren't nearly as compelling as those in the NCAA tournament.

It's not right, it's not true, and it's misguided.

The NBA has many bigger problems than those created because kids under 20 can make an NBA roster.

It should start focusing on those problems immediately.

And leave the kids alone.


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