NBA Needs To Pursue Raising Age Limit For New Players

By Pat Ralph
Jabari Parker
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Since becoming the new boss of the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver has had one priority at the top of his to-do list: raise the age-limit for new players to 20 years old.

Despite his enthusiasm to reform this policy, Silver has publicly acknowledged that both the NCAA and NBA owners will need to play an integral role if the rule is to be changed. Hopefully, as the discussion over raising the age limit continues, both NBA owners and the NCAA will see that this is the best move for the futures of both the NBA and college basketball.

Raising the age limit improves both the college and pro game through a number of ways. First off, players will come into the NBA more prepared to perform at the highest level of basketball. In order to play in the NBA, players are expected to have already learned the necessary tools to succeed at the next level. It’s one thing to further develop these skills at the next level; it’s another thing to have not learned these skills until one gets to the NBA.

Ask coaches and executives from around the NBA about this, and there will be a very common answer among them all: the “one-and-done” college players often times come into the league not ready to play. Instead of immediately integrating these rookies into the system, coaches are often forced to teach skills that new players are expected to already know.

As a result, many fans find the NBA hard to watch because the quality of basketball has gone down significantly.

If college players come into the NBA with more experience and better prepared to perform at the highest level, the quality of basketball will improve. As a result, the NBA will hopefully be able to rebuild its fanbase into what it once was and it could ultimately generate more revenue for the league.

One-and-done college players tend to bolt early for three general reasons: they have the talent to play in the NBA, their role on the team could change due to the arrival of new players, or they have to leave due to financial constraints at home. Rather than leaving after one season, college players having to stay for another season would improve the game and the fanbase of college basketball.

The world of college basketball consists of boys and young men who are given the opportunity to learn. On the other hand, the NBA is where the grown men are separated from the boys. Unless they are a once-in-a-lifetime player who is ready after only one season of college ball (Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony for example), most college players are not ready for the NBA after one season.

Having to stay in school another season gives college players an opportunity to garner more experience and further polish the skills that are necessary at the next level.

Keeping potential one-and-done college players around for another season also helps strengthen the fanbase of college basketball. For the common fan, it is hard to follow teams closely when players are coming and going each year. Keeping these potential one-and-done players around for another season will only increase the following of fans during the regular season, along with the NCAA tournament.

I believe fans will be more engaged because they will be able to appreciate and get to know these tremendous collegiate players better.

Furthermore, as a current college student myself, I truly believe that college best prepares people for the real world. Unfortunately for many of these one-and-done players, their NBA dreams will not come to fruition. Even for the players who have tremendous careers, there is going to be a life after basketball.

While the NBA may improve a player on the court, college gives these players the opportunity to learn and expose themselves to different things off the court in order to succeed in life after basketball.

Both the NBA owners and the NCAA’s primary concerns on this topic have to do with money. While the owners are concerned with the impact it could have on revenue, the NCAA is intrigued by Silver’s proposal to possibly subsidize college players. Nevertheless, both sides will see that Silver’s plan to raise the age limit for new players is best for both the NBA and college basketball.

Patrick Ralph is a contributor for Follow him on Twitter @Pat_Ralph, like him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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