Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Some kids' lives are about games

I give Dan Shanoff a lot of...'guff' for his 'Daily Quickie' column, but he stepped up to the plate earlier today regarding the new NBA age minimum:

Many readers emailed in response to yesterday's Quickie with a common rant: 18-year-olds are better off with a year of college P.T. than NBA pine time!

What bunk. Show me the college coach who puts an individual player's NBA career above the coach's own career, "system" or whole roster.

Remember: College basketball is NOT an NBA professional development league. Any development for the NBA is purely incidental.

That's why college players seem to get a lot better as soon as they stop bothering with school and get ready for the draft full-time.

At least riding the pine in the NBA, the 18-year-old can concentrate full-time on his skills, with the best coaches in the sport focused completely on him fulfilling his potential. His NBA potential.

Back in March of last year I was in full rant mode over that very point, and still feel that an age limit is fundamentally wrong.

But My Man Sam(tm) wrote in a column a few months ago something that lessened my furor. While an age limit takes away from a free market and fully competitive workplace, it is not unprecedented.  What about trades? and maximum salaries? and a host of other things that were collectively bargained by owners and players of the league. Hopefully the new CBA will allow those kids to freely join the NBDL, other pro leagues, prep schools, or European leagues.

To re-interate what my aforementioned rant was about, While this age limit is kindof a shame, it'd be a greater shame if a kid's hands was forced to go to the NCAA. While Coach K may want you to 'develop as a student, develop as a human being', some kids just want to play basketball for a living.