'Test the waters' rule needs to go
May, 30, 2008
Here are some quick hitters for Friday: • May I laugh?: We have reached a new low in the NBA draft process. Players are now saying that they will stay in the draft if they get a guarantee. in the second round. Remember the good old days when the Maginot Line was the lottery? Then it became the first round, because each of the thirty players selected received guaranteed money. Now, with no guaranteed money, they are deluding themselves into thinking they're the next Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, or Gilbert Arenas -- players that were passed over for one reason or another as first rounders and made it big. Of course, there are precious few examples of that, and ten-fold more examples of flameouts. I don't know where this idea took hold among players, but it is even more evidence that the "test the waters" rule needs to go. The players who have declared are not testing the waters, they are in. And, they are not getting out unless they get kicked out and have no choice but to go back to school. Enough. • Got milk?: The NBA pre-draft camp is still useful, but not as much as it used to be. Very few first-round picks come out of Orlando each year, and all of them are late (four in 2007 if you count Morris Almond). Even fewer would have been drafted in 2006 were it not for the Knicks taking Renaldo Balkman with No. 20 (with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Williams, Kyle Lowry and Jordan Farmar still on the board). The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex is ill-suited for the event. It is not a good atmosphere, it is too spread out, and it does not have the same energy as Chicago. These players are working out for future employers, and the atmosphere is dead. Plus, with so many top prospects refusing to play, there is limited value to the event. Teams have done the lion's share of their homework on these prospects and will learn little that is new during the camp. Factor in that these teams will also bring in a ton of prospects for workouts, and the pre-draft camp has passed its prime. The main problem is the expense relative to what you get out of it. Every NBA team sends its entire staff, and that costs real money. Here is what should happen in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA and the NBAPA should agree that every American player must attend the pre-draft camp and compete in order to be eligible for the draft. Of course, that is unlikely to happen because agents have so much control over the NBA Players Association.
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