Steve Kerr believes the NBA age limit should be 20 years old
NBA, Steve Kerr

Old man Steve Kerr wants to change the NBA's age limit again

5/9/12 in NBA   |   Pat   |   5135 respect

Jan 30, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) defends as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) keeps control of the ball during the 4th quarter of the game at the Staples Center. The Celtics won 109-96. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIREThe NBA's age limit has been a bone of contention for years. With guys like Kwame Brown, Darius Miles, Jonathan Bender and others coming straight out of high school as lottery picks only to become huge busts, the league finally realized it was time to take a look at their system and see what they could do to fix it.

Sure, there are guys like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett who are fashioning Hall of Fame careers after skipping college, but those are few and far between.

Currently, players need to spend at least one year after high school honing their skills. Whether they're one-and-done in college, like Kevin Durant, or they go to Europe for a season like Brandon Jennings, they need to wait at least one year before entering the NBA.

Former Chicago Bulls sharpshooter, former Phoenix Suns GM and current TNT analyst Steve Kerr thinks the league needs to make one more tweak to the system.

In a piece written for ESPN's blog site Grantland, Kerr outlines exactly why he believes the league should go with an age limit of 20 years old.

His main points: Player maturity, financial costs, player development, marketing, a sense of team, and mentoring.

Some of those definitely provide stronger arguments than others. Yes, players tend to develop more when they're brought up gradually through a strong college system, under the tutelage of a great NCAA coach. But what about guys like Bryant, James, and Garnett, who clearly didn't need such development?

In terms of marketing, the league is marketed extremely well already. Kerr points out John Wall and Kyrie Irving as examples of #1 overall picks who weren't allowed to stay in school long enough to rile up sufficient excitement when they were drafted, as compared to guys like Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird.

Apr 23, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA;  Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots the ball during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIREThe thing is, Irving and Wall aren't Patrick Ewing, and the Wizards and Cavaliers aren't the 1985 Knicks. Cavs fans were still devastated over the loss of LeBron James, but at some point, they'll rally behind Irving. The kid will be really good, and they'll build a winning team around him. In Washington, however, there's far less of a reason to be excited. I'm not convinced that John Wall is the franchise player they need, and they are still a long way away from being a legit contender. Then again, they haven't been a legit contender for years. Again, this isn't the Knicks, and DC isn't NYC.

Kerr's idea isn't an awful one, but the issue isn't necessarily the age limit. As we all know, there are guys who can handle entering the league early, and there are guys who can't. There are also guys who could spend as long as they want developing into a better player, and they'll never truly be NBA ready.

The problem is with NBA GMs, who want to gamble on guys that they're not sure of, and are willing to mortgage the future by drafting a guy that seems to have unlimited potential.

If GMs can stay responsible and draft wisely, we won't have to worry about guys getting drafted far before they're ready. Then again, there's a reason they're drafting in the lottery. And it's not because they've been drafting intelligently.
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5/10/12   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

People always points to guys like Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and Kevin Garnett when the issue of age limits comes up in the NBA.  For every Kobe Bryant there's a Korleone Young.  For every Tracy McGrady there's a Ndudi Ebi.  For every Kevin Garnett there's a Jonathan Bender or Leon Smith.  There's more busts among prep-to-pros than success stories.

5/9/12   |   scquwi1   |   1225 respect

Kerr makes a great case, you can feel these young players are future stars and that that they are playing for teams that are going no where. That reasoning in not holding water, when you think about Danny Manning  drafted by the Clippers in 1988. The Clippers had finish 6th the year before in the Pacific and there was nothing but hype going around how Danny Manning would make the Clippers contenders.

Bryant you really cannot use as example for a guy to straight out of high school, his first two years he only started 7 games. In his 3rd he did well, but you cannot say if he went to college for those first two years his stats would not have been better. He sure would have been stronger mentally and physically, to where he wold have handle playing in the NBA better.

Garnet did little better coming into the league, but remember most of the good big men where towards the end of their careers, and Duncan ate Garnet up when they played each other. Duncan's stats were better his rookie year then Garrett's 1st four years.

Look at the NBA and the sorry teams and talent spend league wide, the play is horrendous. Look at the miss passes, miss looks, poor shot selection. Rebounding has become a foreign language to most. Look at the Lakers game with Bynum and 4 players stood and watch Bynum go up for a rebound and then miss the shot and get the rebound again. there was not one player who was trying to tip the ball away or battle for the ball. Most games now are worst then watching back yard, not even good enough for street ball. One player gets the ball and lets clear out and watch him do something, happens way to much in games. No wonder most players have a hard time passing the ball, when they are free no less when the are in the lane.

True there are some players who cold play in college for 16 years and never be good enough to play in the NBA, that is no where close to those who come out to early or skip college completely has really degrade the level of play in the NBA. Yes Howard would have learned how to be a better offensive player in college had he gone, and he is consider one of the best big men in the NBA.

The NBA needs to do the same thing the NFL did with the age limit, because the D-league is a bust. The NBA is not using it the way it was intended at all.

5/9/12   |   GFortier   |   520 respect

"But what about guys like Bryant, James, and Garnett, who clearly didn't need such development?"

Kerr, addressing this point, highlights this disparity:

Larry Bird, 1979-80: 38.0 MPG, 21.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 47% FG, 20.5 PER, 11.2 win shares, 61 Celtic wins (lost in Eastern Finals).

Magic Johnson, 1979-80: 18 ppg, 36.3 MPG, 7.7 rpg, 7.3 apg, 2.4 spg, 53% FG, 20.6 PER, 10.5 win shares, 60 Laker wins (Finals MVP).

Michael Jordan, 1984-85: 38.3 MPG, 28 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.4 spg, 52% FG, 25.8 PER, 14 win shares, 38 Chicago wins (lost in Round 1).

Compare those numbers to the rookie stats/records of four of today's best players (all of whom arrived straight from high school):

Kevin Garnett, 1995-96: 28.7 MPG, 10.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 49% FG, 15.8 PER, 4.4 win shares, 26 wins (Minnesota missed playoffs).

Kobe Bryant, 1996-97: 15.5 MPG, 7.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 42% FG, 14.4 PER, 1.8 win shares, 56 wins (Lakers lost in second round, with Kobe famously firing two air balls in the last minute of the final loss).2

Dwight Howard, 2004-05: 32.6 MPG, 12 ppg, 10 rpg, 52% FG, 17.2 PER, 7.3 win shares, 36 wins (Orlando missed playoffs).

LeBron James, 2003-04: 39.5 MPG, 20.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, 42% FG, 18.3 PER, 5.1 win shares, 35 wins (Cleveland missed playoffs).

I  personally think Kerr makes a very strong case in his editorial.