Dirk Nowitzki is a prime example of the successful young players who don't go to college can have in the NBA. With the NBA reportedly mulling a potential change in the minimum age for players to enter the league from 19 back down to 18, that would allow players to make the leap to the NBA straight from high school and avoid the college route just like Nowitzki did to begin his career.
Nowitzki believes that lowering the NBA's minimum age is the right move for the league
Of course, not everyone will go on and have the same career that Nowitzki had, but there's proof that players can succeed in the NBA straight out of high school. Making them wait until they are 19 years old to make the jump into the league is becoming a hindrance to many players nowadays, which is why Nowitzki believes that the current system the NBA uses is outdated and needs to be changed.
"I think it's been sort of weird the last few years. Some guys are going off to Australia for one year, some guys are going to the G-League. I think you might as well have them come in out of high school if they're ready. The ways guys are doing it, they don't really want to go to college anyways, and if they do, at the end they are worried about getting hurt, then they don't play in the tournament… that's just silliness to me. So you might as well open it up if they are ready. The scouts will know, the kid will know, the family will know, and then we will go from there. But what's been happening the last few years, I don't think it's good for the game." - Dirk Nowitzki, In Depth With Graham Bensinger
Nowitzki makes some good points on why the NBA should lower its minimum age requirement
There are some great points that Nowitzki made that likely explain why the NBA is considering the move. The main thing is that many top NBA prospects don't want to go to college anymore and are finding ways to avoid going entirely. Whether it's playing in the G-League or playing overseas, like Nowitzki mentions, if players are finding ways to avoid college already, what's the point of having the rule in place?
Nowitzki is also right in saying that this rule could be making the league worse. Some of these athletes are taking a full year off from competitive basketball to preserve their bodies and high draft stock, which is a lengthy layoff that professional athletes shouldn't willingly be undergoing. Making the jump from high school to the NBA is steep, to say the least, but it may be easier to do and ultimately more beneficial than taking a year off to avoid college.
Going from high school to the NBA isn't for everyone, and there will be some players who follow the college route regardless, but Nowitzki outlines some great points as to why this move would make a lot of sense for the league. It will be interesting to see whether or not the rule ends up being changed, as it would have a massive impact on the NBA one way or another.