NCAA March Madness vs. NBA draft policy: Are changes needed? (Part I)

The logo for the NBA draft.

The NBA Draft Logo is on the minds of March Madness players who hope to make the leap to the NBA this summer, but as debate heats up it is clear that changes should be considered.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As March Madness continues to draw more basketball fans to the television, the topic of players making it to the National Basketball Association (NBA) frequently comes up. The current model for the NBA draft allows for players to declare for the draft a year after graduation from high school. The common route for exceptional players is to spend a year in college playing basketball before declaring for the draft, a prospect that many are unhappy with and constantly discuss.

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West has shared his views about the draft policy.

It is clear that the current NBA draft model is unpopular with many fans and players. Among the complaints with the model are the claims that NBA product is being compromised, the NCAA product is disturbed, and that the majority of the young players are unprepared for the fame, fortune, and high expectations. Although there is validity in some of these concerns, there are also exaggerations attached as well. Hall of Famer Jerry West, recently commented on the issue, in assessing the NBA talent pool.

“The NBA is in the worst shape it’s ever been,'” he said. One of the reasons for his critique was based on the number of young players yet to mature into what they were expected to as they were brought into the league. Another Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, took it a step further by making it very clear that players need more time.

“I want kids to stay in college for two years…bad teams aren’t getting help, they’re getting projects,” Barkley said.

Barkley has been vocal as a March Madness commentator in sharing his opinion that college players need a minimum of two years in college to mature enough to be productive in the NBA as soon as they are drafted.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley

Hall of Famer /TNT and March Madness Commentator Charles Barkley has consistently stated that potential NBA players need a minimum of two years in college in order to develop their game.

While West and Barkley are focusing on negative aspects of young players drafted in the NBA, they are completely absolving the executives that are paid millions to evaluate and enhance the performance of the young players they bring into the league. In fact, there is no direct correlation between age and performance as demonstrated by many of the recent draft classes. When supporters of players being eligible to enter the NBA straight out of high school mention recent ‘One-and-done players’ who are successful in the NBA, the counter is to call them ‘exceptions.’

The reality is every NBA player is the exception. Additionally, there is little to show that players like Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall needed to stay in school a second year in order to become good players in the NBA. However, there is no escaping the reality that there is always an abundance of players not quite good enough to excel at the highest level of basketball, regardless of how long they prepare before entering the league. A possible solution is changing the NBA draft to resemble the college draft rules of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former number 1 overall picks that spent less than two years in college.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former No. 1 overall picks who spent less than two years in college.

MLB’s draft rules allow players to declare for the draft straight out of high school but if the player elects to go to college he must stay for at least three years. The NBA should adopt that rule and amend it to two years in college. The NBA is the best place for players to improve their games.

“College coaches work more on masking a player’s weaknesses…rather than improving the player and risk losing in the process,” NBA trainer and ESPN insider David Thorpe said about the issue.

Thorpe’s assessment explains why so many players have several skills that need to be developed, even after spending years in college. If the NBA wants to improve its product then the new commissioner, Adam Silver, and his team needs to hold the million dollar executives who own and operate NBA teams accountable for better scouting and developing of the young players drafted in the NBA.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NBA buries All-Star Weekend, misses chance to increase fan base

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

The starters that were voted for the Eastern and Western Conference.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend started on Friday February 14, 2014 in the evening, one week later than in its heyday, in keeping with a trend that began in 2004. The consistent conflict with scheduling the festivities at the same time as Valentine’s Day is a missed opportunity for the NBA to promote its brightest stars. After all, even the most hardened basketball fans realize that Valentine’s Day must not compete with sports or anything else and when that day of romance falls on a weekend, all bets are off for sports.

By continuing to schedule the NBA All Star Weekend to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the NBA is demonstrating that it is unable to relate to its core fan base or that those in charge are cynical at best, or tone-deaf at worst.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is held in New Orleans this year.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is currently underway in New Orleans during Valentine’s Weekend.

All-Star Weekend is an excellent chance for the NBA to give the casual fan a glimpse at the best of what the league has to offer. Recent changes in the date of the All-Star Weekend festivities and the decision to broadcast the All-Star game live on Sunday night have detracted from what is usually an exciting time of the year for NBA fans. The 8:30 pm Sunday evening start time for the NBA All-Star game inhibits casual fans from tuning in to the game because numerous scripted shows with huge followings are routinely on at the same time. Additionally, the late start in the Eastern time zone makes it more difficult for the NBA to reach a wider demographic in terms of age range since the target audience may not be able to stay up late or potential viewers may have other plans for their late evening hours.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

Simple tweaks to the NBA All-Star Weekend would go a long way towards the stated goal of the new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to “bridge the popularity gap between the NBA and the National Football League (NFL).” Moving the All-Star Weekend back a week in February to the first weekend after the Super Bowl, where it was for decades, would help avoid the Valentine’s Day dilemma that many NBA fans face.

The NBA would also benefit from changing the NBA All-Star Game back to an afternoon game on network television on Sundays, as it was during its greatest period of popularity in the 1990’s. The earlier start time would allow all basketball fans, casual or die-hard, to tune in to see the best NBA players with far less competition on television at that time. The NBA would also reach a broader demographic that may not have cable or want to stay up late to watch the games.

With all that said, this NBA fan will continue to watch the best NBA players this Sunday in the All-Star game while being thankful that the DVR and low-level All-Star festivities on Friday night created no conflict in my home on Valentine’s Day.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.