NBA develops players better

Players make little progress staying for a second college season

Updated: March 11, 2014, 5:32 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

During his one-on-one interview with new NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Malcolm Gladwell granted Silver the ability to wave a wand and change anything about the league he wanted. (Despite the perception of predecessor David Stern, the commissioner does not enjoy such power.)

Of all the issues he has highlighted in his first month-plus on the job, Silver chose to raise the NBA's age limit, preventing players from entering the draft until two years out of high school. This issue, which was tabled during negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association on the last collective bargaining agreement, was discussed in sports lawyer Michael McCann's paper here and has been a consistent theme for Silver.

"If those players had the benefit to play for some of these great college coaches for longer periods of time," Silver said in his availability at the All-Star Game, "I think it would lead to stronger college basketball and stronger NBA ball, as well."

The implication here is that an increased age limit helps all parties. The upside for the NCAA is obvious, and NBA teams certainly would prefer more time to scout prospects. But the numbers suggest that the players themselves might not benefit as much from another year on a college court as Silver suggests.