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Could the D-League Help if NBA's Age Limit Must Stay in Place?

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Sorry about my lack of posting this week - Went to Home Depot to pick out some wallpaper, then hit Bed Bath and Beyond... I don't know! I just didn't have enough time to do the whole "blogging" thing!  Sorry, I just like to smile.  Smiling is my favorite.

Earlier this week, Steve Cohen, Tennessee Democrat, issued a news release assailing the age limit.  Interesting, I thought, but nothing groundbreaking - the debate of whether the NBA age limit is right or wrong has been going on ever since it's inception - my senior paper in high school was on the topic, and that was four-ish years ago - before Hurricane Katrina, Zac Efron, and even before Ike Diogu was taken ninth overall.  It's been awhile.  This is why I'm wondering why so many people have once again jumped on the bandwagon, mostly in support of dropping the age limit.  It isn't as if all of a sudden David Stern is going to Google his name and say "Wait! Austin316 says I'm an idiot for having this age limit!?  I better change it!"

 My biggest gripe comes from Slam Online's Ryne Nelson look at Cohen's thoughts.  Nelson is usually well thought out and articulate with his arguments, but his needless bashing of the D-League is, well, unneeded and unfounded and un-a-lot-of-things.  Particularly this excerpt:

[David] Stern is wrong in many respects. The D-League's competition and salaries are nothing compared to even those in Europe, making it a terrible option for the prodigiously talented 18 year olds. In Europe players can get paid (if they're lucky) and possibly sign small endorsement deals.

As I've said here before, I'll point this out right away - I'm not anti-overseas, I'm pro-D-League (another reason coming Monday *tease*).  There is a difference.  Personally, I'm against the age limit, but think that the D-League is a plausible way around it for players ready for the NBA.  Jon L has already pointed out in the cases for John Wall, Jeremy Tyler and Brandon Jennings.

I don't have all of the answers, but here's my Wild and Crazy Kids suggestion:

Let's make the NBA's age limit even more complex, similar to MLB's complexities regarding the topic.  Expand the NBA's draft to four rounds and allow everyone to be drafted - regardless of age.  If you'd like to draft the rights to the Candace Parker-Shelden Williams lovechild, ahead of BJ Mullens in a few weeks, it's your call.  However, if a player wants to/is good enough to play in the NBA the season after high school, he has to start in the D-League, at least until the D-League Showcase, held in early January.  This would benefit the D-League (don't tell me you wouldn't watch a Brandon Jennings-Mateen Cleaves matchup), the player (getting him acclimated to the pro-game) and the NBA.  If nothing else, it'll at least build the D-League up to the point of it being able to be profitable, helping it become a more "true" minor league.

Anyway, after the jump, I'll dig into Ryne Nelson's diatribe a bit more thoroughly.

In the 47 words I chose from Nelson's diatribe, I find three major topics I disagree with.  Among them?

  • D-League competition is nothing compared to Europe.  We've been through this before, and I hope cordobes and crew come around to argue debate the other side, but basically, I respectfully disagree.  If the D-League's talent is absolutely NOTHING compared to Europe, why were there 24 call-ups from the D-League this season?  Why wouldn't teams have bought European players out of their contracts if they're so much better?  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that next season there will be more D-League players from this season than players who played overseas this season in the NBA.  Call me crazy, but it seems to me the D-League would be a good place to develop among other NBA hopefuls, playing the same game with the same rules.
  • In Europe, players can get paid (if they're lucky).  Wow!  That's awesome!  I want to play in Europe so I can be 'lucky' to be paid.  That'd be much better than a guaranteed paycheck with actual laws enforcing myself getting a paycheck without dealing with the culture shock and language barrier, among other things!
  • In Europe, players can sign small endorsement deals.  This is true.  But I wasn't aware that players aren't able to do the same in the D-League.  I'm pretty familiar with the D-League and its rules and regulations, but Nelson's obviously better versed.  It makes sense though.  I mean, imagine people watching the D-League!  I know that nobody witnessed James White's dunk from behind the free-throw line.  Probably good though - why would I buy something he's wearing when I could buy Brandon Jennings-endorsed $60 long johns from Under Armour?