The collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players union, which took effect with the 2005-06 NBA season, established new eligibility rules to end the former practice of high schoolers jumping to the NBA. The 2006 NBA Draft was the first under these new rules, which are:
The agreement contains two draft declaration dates. All players who wish to be drafted, and are not automatically eligible, must declare their eligibility no later than 60 days before the draft. After this date, prospective draftees may attend NBA pre-draft camps and individual team workouts to show off their skills and obtain feedback regarding their draft positions. A player may withdraw his name from consideration from the draft at any time before the final declaration date, which is 10 days before the draft. A player who declares for the draft will lose his college eligibility, even if he is not drafted, if any of the following is true:
When a player is selected in the first round of the draft, the team that selected him is required to sign him to at least a two-year contract with a team option for a third and fourth year. Teams own the rights to players selected in the second round for three years, but the teams are not required to sign them.
In the third annual High School Hoops magazine, the players weighed in on the subject of the new rules regarding draft eligibility. Many of them felt that it was unfair. Kansas State freshman Bill Walker, said (as a junior in high school), "I’m against it. I don’t see why you have to be 19 to play a game of basketball when you can be 18 and go to war for our country and die. It’s ridiculous." Jerryd Bayless (now a guard with the Portland Trail Blazers) said "It’s not fair at all. If a tennis player can go pro at 13, I don’t understand why a basketball player can’t go pro at 18." The hands down number one pick, had the rule not been put in place, was Greg Oden (now with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA). When asked about the agreement he said "It’s unfair, but it’s over with now, so there’s no reason to complain." In spite of the claims that the rule is unfair, Wayne Ellington, now a guard with North Carolina, said that "…I also think it’s going to help the league a little bit. Some guys who come in, like from this year’s draft, it will help." Brandan Wright (now with the Golden State Warriors) said that "It may hurt guys who need money, but it will help people grow and develop."
On the specific topic of Oden entering the draft, Jack Keefer, Oden’s high school coach at Lawrence North, Indiana, said, "I really think he thought he was going to college. He seems to be more at ease with himself right now. I think the stress came with worrying about the NBA.
Foreign players have made a large impact on how teams are now drafting. When the draft began, foreign players were not selected. As the years progressed, things began to change and a few international players were selected. The first international player, in the sense of being a national of a country other than the U.S., to be chosen first overall in the draft was Bahamian Mychal Thompson in 1978. However, Thompson's selection was not a true harbinger of the game's globalization, as he had spent much of his childhood in Florida, and had played college basketball at Minnesota. One of the first foreign players selected in the draft to play in the NBA was Manute Bol out of the Sudan in 1983 in the 5th round by the San Diego Clippers. Bol's selection was later deemed ineligible by the NBA. Two years later Bol was drafted again by the NBA this time out of Division II University of Bridgeport in 1985 as the 31st pick overall in the second round. Although Bol did not have a stellar career, he is known for being one of the tallest players ever to play the game at 7 feet and 7 inches. He holds the record for being the tallest player ever to hit a 3 point field goal. The following two years saw two players born outside the U.S. selected first overall—Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984 and Jamaica-born American Patrick Ewing in 1985. However, like Thompson before them, both had played U.S. college basketball—Olajuwon at Houston and Ewing at Georgetown—and Ewing had also played high school basketball in the U.S.
By the 1997 draft, the number of foreign players being drafted dramatically increased. The top pick in that draft, Tim Duncan, became the third international player picked number 1 overall—although his designation as "international" is a matter of semantics, as he is a native of the United States Virgin Islands and, like all USVI natives, is a U.S. citizen by birth. He also had played U.S. college basketball at Wake Forest. Including Duncan, 12 international players were selected in the two rounds of the draft—although half of them, including Duncan and the next two such players picked, had played college basketball. The 1998 draft saw another international player picked first overall, Nigerian Michael Olowokandi, but like Duncan he had played college basketball, in his case at Pacific. In 2001 the highest drafted international player, Pau Gasol, was selected 3rd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. That would all change the following season when Yao Ming became the first international player without U.S. college experience to be selected number 1 overall. Not only was the first overall pick an international player, but five more picks in the first round alone were also from overseas. In total, the 2002 draft produced 17 international players, with only three of them (all second-round picks) having U.S. college experience.
The 2005 and 2006 drafts both saw international players picked first overall. In 2005, the Milwaukee Bucks picked Andrew Bogut, from Australia by way of Utah, number 1. The next year, the Toronto Raptors made Andrea Bargnani the second foreign player without U.S. college experience to be selected number 1 overall.
From the 2001 draft to the 2006 draft there were a total of 87 international players selected. This trend shows how NBA teams are expanding the way they are selecting players in the draft. Players like Yao Ming, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, and Pau Gasol are changing the landscape of the NBA to include a wide array of players from all over the globe.
Some of the most famous NBA draft years were 1984, 1996, and 2003. Each of those is often referred to as one of, if not the, best NBA Draft ever, though the 2003 Draft was too recent to accurately compare. The 2000 NBA Draft has been regarded as the worst in history, with Sports Illustrated calling its first round "a horrible group of players. The 1986 Draft was notable for the number of solid and even outstanding players selected in later rounds, partly because of drug problems that claimed the life of second overall pick Len Bias and affected the careers of several other first-round picks. Some of the worst draft picks ever include Chris Washburn (Warriors #3 pick in 1986), Kwame Brown (Wizards #1 pick in 2001), Sam Bowie (Trailblazers #2 pick in 1984) and Michael Olowokandi (Clippers #1 pick in 1998).
2 players take aim at NBA: Temple's Dustin Salisbery and Villanova's Curtis Sumpter showcase their skills in a pre-draft camp.
May 29, 2007; Byline: Marc Narducci May 29--The NBA's pre-draft camp that begins today in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., is being avoided by...