Tracy McGrady has been full of great soundbites during the NBA Finals. Here’s what the former league scoring champ had to say about the current requirement that NBA prospects spend a year playing in college (or overseas) before they’re eligible to enter the NBA Draft (courtesy of USAToday.com via SlamOnline.com):
“I actually think they should implement having these guys go to school for two years,” McGrady said. “What is it, one year now? At least go to school for two years because the league is so young. I think we need to build our league up. I mean, I hate to say it, but the talent in this league is pretty down.”
If you’re wondering how McGrady reconciles the decision he made to enter the draft out of high school in 1997 with that logic, T-Mac added: “Well, let’s see, adidas gave me a $12 million contract. I mean, (expletive), enough said.”
I think plenty of basketball fans who grew up watching the NBA in the 80’s and 90’s like me will agree that McGrady’s got a point about the league being a little too young.
Indeed, the surplus of young, raw talent has made the NBA Draft more speculative than it should be. The NBA Draft Lottery was designed to help bad teams get immediate help. That’s tough to do when you’re drafting solely on a player’s potential year in and year out.
However, NBA fans who share McGrady’s opinion need to remember that the league’s age requirement is the product of collective bargaining with the NBA Players Union. If more current players agreed with McGrady (and more owners were concerned), the issue may have gotten more attention during the last round of labor negotiations.
Absent the owners and players hashing out a new age requirement in the next CBA (note there will be a new commissioner and a new union head by then), you can expect to see more and more one-and-done college players because the same money that enticed McGrady to make his jump 16 years ago (crazy) will continue to lure college freshmen into the NBA Draft.