Commissioner Adam Silver is in Favor of Lowering NBA Age Limit to 18

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is in favor of lowering the NBA age limit to 18. When Silver was asked about his decision, he said, “It’s the right thing to do.” In 2005, then NBA commissioner David Stern agreed to raise the age limit from 18 to 19. Per multiple sources, Silver is hopeful that the age limit can drop by one year in the league’s next collective bargaining agreement.

Of course, the former commissioner wanted to raise the age to 20 back then, but the players were against the change. So, as a compromise, the age 19 was agreed upon. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were all drafted out of high school.

Garnett was selected fifth overall by the Timberwolves in the 1995 NBA Draft. Likewise, Bryant was selected 13th overall by the Hornets in the following year’s draft. Though, his draft rights were then traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. And James was taken at No. 1 by the Cavaliers in 2003.

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver is pushing for changes

In a conversation Adam Silver had with ESPN, he told the network when asked about the age limit: “I think there’s an opportunity to change it. It’s larger conversations than just whether we go from 19 to 18, but I’m on record. When I balance all of these various considerations, I think that would be the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that that’s a change we make in this next collective bargaining cycle, which will happen in the next couple years.”

Silver presented his argument. He thinks the younger the players are, the easier it is to develop them and help the individuals to mature. There is some truth to this. In Kobe’s rookie 1996-97 season, he averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Then, he was selected NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In the following season, Bryant averaged 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Experience is important.

Furthermore, Adam Silver went on to state, “It may be the case that it’s in all our interests that we start impacting with these young players, especially because in our sport they are identified at such a young age and begin working with them on their development then. It’s not just basketball skills, but increasingly there’s a focus on their mental health.”

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Young stars could get drafted before they’re ready | NBA Age Limit

Needless to say, Garnett and Bryant did not dominate the NBA when they first came into the league. Bryant went on to earn an NBA All-Rookie Second Team, but the guard only started in six games. The Black Mamba didn’t start in 50 games until his third season in the league.

As for Garnett, while the 6’11” forward/center averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game with the Timberwolves in his rookie 1995-96 season, he was not at his best until the mid-2000’s. If an 18-year-old star gets drafted out of high school again in the upcoming future, good for the player.

However, imagine the negative ramifications of drafting a player too soon. This applies especially for first-round draft picks. The vast majority of high school players are not developed. A lack of college experience can hurt a player going from high school to professional.

Michael Jordan decided to enter the 1984 NBA Draft after playing three seasons at North Carolina. But at least Jordan played three seasons in the NCAA. Of course, LeBron James did fine on his own. He’s the clear exception.

James averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game in his rookie 2003-04 season. He won Rookie of the Year in 2004 and was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team as well. Other articles pertaining to NBA commissioner Adam Silver or the NBA age limit are on the main page.

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