Five excerpts from the projected age of the NBA draft and how it will affect college basketball

Five excerpts from the projected age of the NBA draft and how it will affect college basketball


NBA and NBPA It is reported that they are in advanced negotiationsAnd the draft, which is expected to pass soon, drops the age of eligibility from 19 to 18 years old as of 2024. The move, which could be agreed to as part of this week’s collective bargaining agreement, effectively ends the one-and-done era of college basketball players jumping from high school to the NBA — which occurred after the NBA’s 2005 draft age change from 18 to 19. Downstream effect on the ball.

College basketball was a one-and-done when it wasn’t for the NBA’s age limit on teams and players who had never set foot on a college campus — Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, John Wall and many others had memorable moments and big seasons for the sport — so for the draft The imminent shift back to 18-year-old eligibility marks another sea change in basketball. The change affects not only the NBA and college hoops, but other avenues regionally and abroad.

Here are five thoughts on the implications of the age limit change’s expected approval.

1. The talent pool for college basketball

The one-and-done era produced stars and seasons that will go down as the best and brightest in sports history. Year of Zion Williamson. Anthony Davis’ NCAA Tournament Run. John Wall-DeMarcus Cousins’ Team Year in Kentucky. Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and even Evan Mobley are remembered as legends in their own right for blazing a trail in non-traditional college blues.

It’s not just the big names that college hoops misses out on. Over the past decade, there have been one-and-done All-Americans for three true freshmen, according to The Associated Press. There were big names and interesting attractions, but they were expensive and effective. Replacing them with other recruits will happen in the post-one-and-done era just as it did before the one-and-done era, but the hottest NBA prospects will be more likely to play in college. Still, one-and-dones like D’Angelo Russell or Karl-Anthony Towns will emerge, but more likely Ja Morants or Jaden Iveys or Corey Kisperts — guys who broke onto the NBA scene after at least one season. College. Meanwhile, the true freshman supernovas are more likely to take their talents after the transition and follow the NBA path than risk going to college — even if name, image and likeness rights mitigate that risk somewhat.

2. Non-college players pose a greater threat

For NBA teams, here’s the upside: When the eligibility age changes to 18, the risk profile changes for the better. If you’re the Mavericks and you’re picking, say, 22nd overall, you have a decision to make: take a safe second-year player from the 3-and-D market, or take a big swing at 18. A teenager with a five-star pedigree who describes himself as a three-star prodigy? Big swings like this are normally more available to teams in the draft.

For NBA teams, that volatility and changing risk profile can be bad. Relying solely on grades or high school grades can cost you a lot if you don’t do your due diligence. For example: Skal Labissiere, Cheick Diallo, Ivan Rabb and Le’Bryan Nash could have easily gone on to top-10 NBA draft picks. They confirmed that their sample sizes were not posted in college. NBA teams aren’t allowed that luxury of pushing forward.

3. The joy of the near double draft

My friend and colleague Sam Quinn has done a great job explaining what a “double draft” is – you can Read that and more here — but this quick highlight cuts to the heart of why the much-discussed double draft is perhaps one of the two or three more exciting entries in the age-eligibility change.

All the best freshmen from 2023-24 college will be available as usual … but so will the best high school seniors graduating in 2024. This has led many to call 2024 a “double” draft, albeit a slight overstatement. In 2025 we’ll see some high schoolers potentially going to college and going through a friendly draft process, and more likely upperclassmen throwing their names in the ring in 2023 to avoid the double draft. Still, the raw talent in the 2024 draft pool should be impressive.

If the change goes into effect in 2024, teams will inevitably stockpile or try to stockpile the best in 2024. It will be a class comprised of high schoolers and college players, so the crop will not only be stronger for first-time players, but could also invite strength in the middle and late drafts. Even mid-to-late first-round picks can carry the value of a mid-to-late lottery pick in a regular year.

As you might suspect, Sam Presti and the Thunder are the biggest beneficiaries of this potential change. They have an unprotected first-rounder in 2024 from another team besides themselves.

The Rockets and Pelicans also have unexpected first owners in 2024. This was always a possibility — the draft eligibility age could change in 2023 or 2024 — but the calculation in the 2024 class will change dramatically. Teams will bend over backwards to participate in double drafts, and picks in that cycle can be worth a premium — something to watch over the next few months as the trade market adjusts to the new reality.

4. College basketball teams were old.

With one-and-dones no longer playing (or at least very rarely, given) college basketball seasons, the average age of players in college hoops could once again be as old as it was in the early 2000s. In the one-and-done era, and especially over the past decade, the average NCAA championship team had the 94th best experience nationally according to metrics. (More on how to calculate it here.) from 2007-2010, the first years of one-and-dones and before teams built consecutive one-and-dones, each NCAA champion was in the top-20 in total experience.

Older teams meant better teams. That could be a result of age change. A lot of older players stay consistent, which means familiar faces show up more often and longer, which can mean big money for big names who stay on the college scene for more than a year in the NIL era. Instead of going high-dollar to a one-and-done big market, college players — Drew Timmes, Oscar Tshibwes, Hunter Dickinson — will shell out even bigger dollars on the Niall front, perhaps going unnoticed.

5. Non-NBA pro tracks won’t be as attractive to recruiters.

From my perspective, the College Hoops Niners will continue to be the college hoops naysayers. That means predictions about the end of the sport will be wildly overblown.

There are other professional paths that hurt beyond college hoops. G League Ignite was developed several years ago with the idea that top prospects could use it as an alternative path to college. Similar to the NBL for the Part-time Elite and Rising Stars program. Their borders were all the same: We can prepare you to become an adult until you are qualified.

Those leagues will continue to exist, but it is unlikely that they will be able to recruit in the same way as before. You don’t need to prepare to be an NBA player anymore. If you are 18 years old, simply . . . Being one.

Take the first G League Ignite class for example: Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green entered the draft largely because of their age under the new rules. Maybe Dyson Nix, too. Dyson Daniels could have done the same last year.

Some top recruits who saw alternative ways to make money before the NBA don’t have tough decisions to make. They can still earn money by going to college. By going the alternative pro paths, you can still make money. But he could jump to the front of the line as the No. 1 overall pick for the elite entering the NBA draft.



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