The debate about the NBA draft age restriction seems to be the flavor of the week, as far as hot arguments go, and now Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has chimed in.
Whereas David Stern wants the league to add another year to the already existing “one-and-done” rule that the NBA has in place, Cuban wants to add two years, keeping players in college through their junior years.
“I just think there’s a lot more kids that get ruined coming out early or going to school trying to be developed to come out early than actually make it,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com. “For every Kobe (Bryant) or (Kevin) Garnett or Carmelo (Anthony) or LeBron (James), there’s 100 Lenny Cookes.”
Lenny Cooke, you’ll remember, had a famous duel with LeBron James in high school, before their paths went separate ways, with LeBron where he is today and Cooke never having played a minute in the NBA.
“I just think there’s every good reason to do it, which is obviously why we didn’t do it,” Cuban went on to say, sarcastically.
An interesting point to make, though, is to look at the composition of Cuban’s championship team last season and how many stand at odds with Cuban’s new idea for the draft. Remember, he believes players should stay three years after their high school class has graduated.
Tyson Chandler, the anchor in the center, came to the NBA straight out of high school. Solid contributor DeShawn Stevenson went that route as well.
Jason Kidd, the veteran point guard, played two years at California before getting drafted. Caron Butler, though injured for the stretch run of last season, played two years at Connecticut before turning pro.
Dirk Nowitzki was a few days shy of his 20th birthday when he was drafted in 1998.
Peja Stojakovic had just turned 19 when he went pro.
To be fair, Cuban made a point that players should be able to develop in the D-League or head to Europe, as Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings did, before heading to the NBA.
But, with a roster so based on players who didn’t stay for three years in college, it would seem to steer Cuban’s argument toward the business side of the game. It’s better for the NBA business to have players who have developed, weeded out in college, so owners can make better drafting decisions.
This, of course, does not take into consideration the view of the players, who some believe should have the right to play, regardless of their age, so long as an NBA team wants their services.
And the debate goes on.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_