View Full Version : Kevin Garnett blaming AAU for 'killing' game is lazy, disingenuous ó and wrong

02-21-2017, 01:06 PM

TSN says that the NBA is at fault with their rookie cap.

Itís not AAU basketball thatís leading these players to be ďentitled,Ē and itís not the college game, either. Itís the NBA. Thatís the level at which players aspire to be, and getting there in style no longer requires a great deal more than abundant talent.

As much as Garnett stood as an example to players seeking the quickest route to the league, this is far less to blame for that contagion than the leagueís enduring addiction to the rookie salary cap. It seemed like such a clever idea to fix the wages of players entering the league to reduce holdouts and avoid monstrous entry-level contracts. But it also destroyed the incentive for players to enter the draft when they were more fully formed and capable of commanding high-dollar deals. And it reduced the risk for teams to gamble on pure potential.

Before the rookie cap, players in the early 1990s commonly remained in college basketball for multiple seasons to assure they were ready for the leagueís elite competition and prepared to deliver value on contracts that paid them roughly three times as much as todayís rookies.

There always was the risk a player signed to one of those deals would become a bust. Now, NBA teams invest far less in their rookies ó and get far less in return. From 1992-1994, 27 of the 30 players who were top-10 draft picks averaged double-figure scoring as rookies. From 2015-2017, it was only seven.

AAU basketball is easily blamed for all of this, because the NBA is strong and popular, college basketball has been cut out of the equation and high school seems to have less influence than ever. But even the most active players in AAU play essentially three months of the year: April, May and July, and even then itís largely on weekends. Itís not an inconsequential part of a playerís development, but itís not enough to bear so much of the responsibility.

02-21-2017, 03:35 PM
Interesting. Had not seen that argument put forth before.

02-22-2017, 07:47 AM
MD has been speaking about the damaging effect the rookie salary cap has had on all levels of basketball for years and years and years to a surprisingly silent audience. Here is the classic article that he wrote about the subject in 1998 when he was a beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Again, it is important to put an emphasis on the fact that this column was penned in 1998: