Raising the minimum age works for everyone’s interest except players such as Davis. The NCAA and its TV partners benefit from increased interest when star players remain in college. The NBA benefits from the additional development its future players receive by staying in college basketball. The individual conferences and schools benefit from the extra exposure and boosted attendance when their top performers stick around longer.
But players such as Davis risk much if they return to school for a second or third college season. They risk getting injured and risk being drafted lower, which could cost them millions of dollars, the same millions that the free market is eager to pay them right now.
Here’s a novel idea for the NBA and its 30 teams: Instead of worrying about 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds or even high school students entering the draft, make all of them eligible. Then, if you don’t like what you see in a player … don’t draft him.