The NBA’s preps-to-pros pipeline was welded shut nearly 20 years ago by the late Commissioner David Stern due to NBA general managers’ drafting tendencies beginning to resemble Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating preferences. The narrative that preps-to-pros prospects were too young, too unproven, and that teams were wasting their picks on players who washed out before they could legally drink won out.
However, rumors about lowering the draft eligibility age have proliferated since Stern named Adam Silver his successor. As negotiations over the next collective bargaining agreement have progressed this summer, abolishing the 19-year-old draft eligibility rule has finally risen to the forefront. The player’s union or the NBA can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement as soon as Dec. 15, which would result in the current agreement expiring on June 30, 2023. Here are the winners and losers if the NBA’s preps-to-pros route re-opens.