Monday , Jun , 23 , 2008 Christopher Sells

The Draft Decision

The Draft DecisionThis is a special feature by guest blogger Christopher Sells.

Consider for a moment the situation of draft entry Bill Walker.

Walker is probably best known for being a sidekick to O.J. Mayo in high school and Michael Beasley in college. An NBA draft site describes him as an explosive player that relies too much on his athleticism and could stand to work on his handle and jumper. He is a borderline first round pick which, in the eyes of many, means he should have returned to Kansas State for another year of seasoning.

He’s not. And why should he?

It’s really time that we stopped criticizing these young men for leaving college early to turn pro, especially when it makes more sense than staying in college. Walker’s already had some knee problems, and he hurt another one while on the equivalent of a job interview. He’s endangering his livelihood by playing basketball for free. Get paid for it now, and don’t look back is my advice.

Walker is going to earn a check next year. Even if it isn’t on an NBA roster, he’ll go to the D-League or overseas and earn a decent living. In the event that the catastrophic (at least by draft standards) happens and there’s no NBA team that wants to give him a shot, the new rules allow him to return to college and keep playing there.

Walker will be drafted Thursday night. Reports are that the Pistons organization has given him a guarantee that they’ll draft him with the 29th pick, most draft boards don’t have him slipping much further in the event that those rumors are untrue.

Almost every other underclassman that still has their name in the Draft can make a similar case, minus the injury. Each is one of the best at what they do. They deserve the chance to get a promotion, to get paid for entertaining the masses with what they can do with a basketball.

To those who say they aren’t ready: So what? If it’s true, this wouldn’t be the first time a person has started a job without being as well prepared as someone would like them to be. They’ll get paid on-the-job training. And if a player still doesn’t cut it or if he doesn’t convince other employers that he might be able to perform successfully for them, he’ll get sent home. And he’ll have to decide in which direction he wants his life to go, just like the rest of the workforce.

So in the coming days, when it is certain that there will be some written or TV report on how these guys are kids who aren’t ready for the bright lights and the big stage, be sure to ignore them. When the talking heads on ESPN start telling us how they think the age limit should be raised, know that they want what’s best for college basketball and not for these players. I can’t blame them. Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of cheap (some would say free) labor?

It’s just time for everyone to stop worrying about how these early entry candidates are allegedly hurting the NBA and let them make the decisions that will affect their lives without the unnecessary scrutiny that comes with media coverage.