NBA Proposes Lowering Draft Age to 18 Amid Zion Williamson Drama
Amidst the Zion Williamson uproar, the NBA has submitted a proposal to the NBA Players Association to lower the draft-eligible age from 19 years old to 18. This is the latest development in the NBA’s plan to eliminate the ‘one-and-done’ rule in college basketball, something that the sides have been discussing for a while.
The proposal reportedly took place during NBA All-Star weekend, prior to the Duke star’s injury. Williamson, likely the No.1 pick in this year’s draft, suffered a scary Grade 1 sprain of his right knee.
“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “When I’ve weighed the pros and cons, given that Condoleezza Rice and her commission has recommended to the NBA that the one-and-done players come directly into the league, and in essence the college community is saving we do not want those players anymore, that sort of tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18.”
Players seem to be open to the idea too. “I think it’s a good idea,” said Boston’s Jayson Tatum at All-Star weekend. “If you’re good enough to come out of high school, I feel like you should be able to. But I don’t make those decisions.”
The Warriors Demarcus Cousins agreed, exclaiming “I don’t understand the point of it. What’s the difference between 18 and 19 and 17 and 18? You’re immature, you’re young, you’re ignorant to life in general, and so what’s really the difference?”
This is the first step in formal negotiations. The plan would be to enforce the plan by 2022, allowing NBA teams time to properly prepare their assets and draft selections. With that said, teams will likely start coveting 2022 picks in upcoming transactions. But still, both the NBA and NBPA need to collectively bargain to pass any rule change.
The one and done rule has been in place since 2006. Let’s not remember that it wasn’t so long ago, when Silver floated the idea of raising the draft age minimum to 20, though now it seems we are headed in the opposite direction where high-school players will make the leap straight to the NBA.