It should not be that shocking that Adam Silver wants to change the NBA Draft age restriction. By doing so, Silver presumes that it will result in a better on-the-court product for the NBA, less risk for teams with supposedly favorable draft picks, and more matured players off of the hardwood when they reach the NBA.
However, don’t mistake Silver’s motives as altruistic. He is not doing this because he wants the college game to be better. It is solely for the purposes of his product becoming more marketable, profitable, and essentially protecting owners and general managers from themselves. You know, by not “forcing” them to pick players based solely on potential.
Regardless the reason, though, this would obviously be a big deal for college basketball.
Silver’s preferred age-restriction would be to not allow a player in the NBA until they are 20-years-old. Which, more often than not, would mean at least two years of college for every top-prospect in the nation.
Taking the NBA angle out of this completely, for college basketball only, this would be great for the game.
Selfishly, I must admit that I am all for this to happen. Sure, we might have to put aside players’ rights, but that isn’t what we are looking at. We are looking at the indirect positives an NBA age-restriction would have on college basketball.
The biggest being, marketability. The same, more marketability that the NBA wants from college players when they enter the draft.
Say what you will about college hoops, but the diehards are going to be there regardless. However, casual fans usually don’t pay attention until March. Whether it is just for the NCAA Tournament, or to start getting familiar with future NBA Draft Lottery picks, it is just one month of consumption of a group of the nation’s best players — until those players, usually, declare early entry.
Now, imagine those players coming back for another year. Those casual fans, who are generally still knee-deep in the NFL or the early throws of NBA tomfoolery when college basketball season starts, might be more interested to come watch when the season tips-off.
Why? Because they will be invested in the players now. Instead of having to wait an entire year to be told who is good in college basketball, everyone already knows. They saw it themselves the previous Big Dance.
It is the same reason why network picture-box shows that put their characters in situations where they should die, but never do, would never actually kill-off a main character. You’re coming back because of them. Really, nothing says like an increase in viewership more than people being emotionally invested in players or teams. And nothing gets people more emotionally invested in players and teams than the NCAA Tournament.
The players here, being your favorite TV show’s characters. So, yeah,Marcus Smart is some Game of Thrones character and Oklahoma State the show itself or something — likely something, but screw semantics.
Then, because our attention spans are as short as Danny DeVito, the following March comes, new stars rise to play alongside or against the old, and we are in a wash, rinse, and repeat cycle.
As the previous year’s stars are being eliminated or the season is coming to a close, new stars are born via the Madness that is March. Meaning, again, people will be emotionally invested in some of the players or teams for the next season.
Forcing — and it would be forcing — players to come back for a second season would have other, simpler positive indications.
One being the play on the court.
While not every college program in the country could develop a big the way an NBA staff could, or help develop some certain stars to keep on a meteoric rise of progression, college programs, at the very least, could help with the fundamental aspect of their games.
That’s not even mentioning how intriguing match-ups would now be or the fact that a Jabari Parker would now be playing alongside even more Lottery picks.
I’m not saying any of this is right. At least as far as players’ rights are concerned. There are likely far better alternatives out there, than just forcing kids to go to college when/if they don’t want to. But this isn’t about that. This is about the college game being better because of a possible NBA enforced age-restriction.
Oddly enough, even though the NCAA has done everything it could possibly can to forever limit student-athletes and their power, it would be up to a bald guy with a new title in the NBA to make this happen. Not the inept governing body of college sports or the talking gag reel that is Mark Emmert.
Which, naturally, means all of this might actually happen.