Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates is projected as a future No. 1 NBA Draft pick. What does his decommitment from Michigan State mean for his pro future?
The best basketball player you haven’t seen yet just made a huge decision related to his future.
Emoni Bates, the No. 1 rated player in the 2022 recruiting class, decommitted from Michigan State on Friday. He’s opened his recruitment to consider his options, both in college and the pros.
The ultimate goal for the 6-foot-8 scoring phenom is to get to the NBA as soon as possible.
There are some hurdles to clear first.
Emoni Bates won’t be eligible for the NBA Draft until 2023.
Bates turned 17 years old in January. He’ll reach the NBA’s draft-eligible age in 2023 when he turns 19. That means he’s got two years of waiting before he can make the leap.
Unfortunately for Bates, he’s not eligible to play in the G League yet either. He won’t turn 18 before the 2021-22 season. That means he could join the G League for the 2022-23 season with an eye on entering the 2023 NBA Draft.
Had he been born a few weeks earlier, he would have been eligible. He’s just on the wrong end of an arbitrary age rule.
Perhaps the G League will consider tweaking their rules to allow the 17-year-old to join with his high school graduation ensured? They’ve had success with Jalen Green and others making the move straight from high school.
There was talk of Bates reclassifying into the class of 2021 by graduating early. He could have gone to Michigan State for a season and declared for the 2022 NBA Draft under the one-and-done rule, but only if the NBA lowered the draft age from 19 to 18.
Bates’ plight is a good reason for the NBA to reopen that discussion.
It will take a change in NBA rules for Bates to be drafted in 2022. His current, official trajectory is 2023.
The crazy thing is analysts predicted he could have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft as a sophomore in high school.
There isn’t a team in the league who wouldn’t want a crack at picking him up as soon as possible.