NBA Hall-of-Famer Tracy McGrady is one of the few notable players who arrived in the league straight from high school. McGrady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnet, and Dwight Howard didn’t play a single minute of college basketball, yet they all found great success in the NBA.
But as the game evolved over time, the league noticed there were too many young players in the NBA hence why they implemented draft eligibility rules in 2006.
Veterans versus young bloods
For as much as McGrady would like to support players taking the same trajectory as him, the 7-time All-Star also agrees that the league has become too young. McGrady acknowledged that the NBA had reached a point where teams no longer rely on veteran leadership and experience. The risk of depending on young bloods is that their game still needs a lot of polishing, affecting the basketball product.
“The reason why I stand for a year or two now is that the league is so young. I look at some of these teams that are really good but I think they are lacking a true veteran. There’s a reason why Andre Iguodala is still with the Golden State Warriors and may still be on that bench next year, and probably won’t even play a minute. There’s a reason why Udonis Haslem is still in Miami and doesn’t get any playing time but he’s on that bench with a uniform. There’s a reason for that and we need those types of guys around. This league is so young now. Your vets are what, 23 years old?” McGrady said in his recent appearance at The Alex Kennedy Podcast.
A fair compromise
The average age in the NBA stands at 26.18 years old, including a mix of veteran players and rookie to sophomore ones. The latest NBA draft rules (regarding age) state that players must at least be 19-year-old during the draft calendar and rendered a minimum of one season after graduating high school. Yes, that’s the reason why LeBron James will have to wait one more season if he wants to team up with his son Bronny James Jr. who is expected to graduate high school in 2023.
Ultimately, the league’s solution to improving its product is to ensure that players who declare for the NBA Draft are experienced enough to compete in the pros. After all, the likes of McGrady, Bryant, James, Garnet, and Howard don’t come around often.