NBA draft age may be changing

The age eligibility is expected to be lowered to 18 years old

Image by: Amna Rafiq
Big changes are coming to the NBA.

The NBA Players Association (NBAPA) is fighting for a new bargaining agreement—one of the biggest issues they will be discussing is lowering the NBA draft eligibility age.

The association is proposing to move the eligibility age from 19 back down to 18. It’s a proposal that many coaches and players are hoping gets approved.

Currently, the NBA requires draftees to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from being in high school. This rule was set in 2005; before that, before players could enter the NBA immediately after their senior year of high school.

Many successful players have been drafted out of high school, including Kevin Garnett and LeBron James. So why was the age raised in 2005?

Well, to put it simply, the NBA was money-hungry.

According to Sports Illustrated, “in the mid-2000s, advocates of raising the NBA age limit believed the change would improve the league’s quality of play. Superior shooting, passing, and rebounding would presumably attract more fans and consumer dollars, and thus enhance the league’s business interests.”

Yet financial reasons were not the only cause for this change.

The NBA believed 19-year-old players were more emotionally and physically mature. After high school, most players would go to D1 universities or play abroad for a year, giving them time to grow up as players and people without costing the NBA any money.

Now, by lowering the draft age back to 18, the NBAPA hopes to reduce the amount of “one-and-done” college basketball players.

The “one-and-done” rule refers to players who play for a season at a university before heading to the professional league. Some of basketball’s best players, like Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, played for universities for one year before going pro.

Lowering the draft age is not a new concept and has been in circulation for quite some time. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wanted to say goodbye to the rule all together.

“My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change,” he said in a 2018 press release.

“Given that Condoleezza Rice and her commission has recommended to the NBA those one-and-done players now come directly into the league, and in essence the college community is saying we don’t want those players anymore, that tips the scale in my mind that we should be taking a serious look at lowering our age to 18.”

Silver has hopes of closing a deal this year that will allow grade 12 students to participate in the 2022 draft. To prepare for this possibility, USA Basketball and the NBA have allowed NBA teams to begin scouting players from Team USA’s U-16 camps.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are hoping 2022 is the year the draft age is lowered, finally ending the “one-and-done” phenomenon.


draft, draft age, NBA, usa

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