Charles Barkley says NBA prospects should stay in college for two years

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If you became NBA commissioner for a day with full power to implement instant changes, what would be the first thing you'd do?

This is a fun hypothetical question to think about.

Would you create a four-point line? Would you decrease or increase the shot clock? Would you allow players to enter the NBA draft out of high school? Would you switch up the playoff seeding rules? Should games be longer or shorter? How about the length of the season? What about the draft lottery?

The list goes on and on and there are many paths to go down. Most NBA fans have strong opinions on a number of the above topics.

In a recent interview with NBA Hall of Famer and current Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic asked him what he’d do first if he became NBA commissioner.

Gonzaga v North Carolina

Barkley’s answer might surprise you.

“I would make some of these kids stay in school for two years because I think we defeat the purpose of the NBA Draft,” Sir Charles said. “The way the draft is designed is for bad teams to get some help. I would make it mandatory to stay in school for two years because I think it makes a big difference. Let’s be realistic: I have only seen one NBA player who was ready right out of high school and that was LeBron James. Even as great as Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were, they were not ready for the NBA, and those are all-time greats. Now we have every kid in the world thinking they will be in college for one year and I hate it for the fans.”

It’s worth noting that Barkley is currently working on the set of the NCAA Tournament. Therefore, he might have the overall college basketball product on his mind. But, nonetheless, he raised some interesting points and made a shocking claim when he suggested that Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were not NBA-ready players coming out of high school.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns

Since most standout players with an obvious NBA future have one-and-done collegiate seasons nowadays, college basketball as a whole suffers. Rivalries between schools are watered down because new starters arrive every year. Cohesiveness within programs takes a hit.

A popular opinion in recent years has been that Adam Silver should explore the possibility of allowing prospects to enter the draft out of high school, but if they decide to go to college, they’d have to play a minimum of two seasons. It seems like both sides of the argument would be accommodated with that solution. Those claiming that players should have the right to immediately make money out of high school (like mostly any other profession) would be happy, as would those like Barkley who claim that one-and-done seasons are a waste of time.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns

Since Silver has made it very clear that he’s unafraid to discuss non-traditional topics, the draft rules and process will undoubtedly become a hot-button issue in coming years, especially if freshmen continue to dominate the top of the draft board year-after-year.

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