On the day he was selected in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Warriors, former Villanova forward Eric Paschall was 22 years old with another birthday looming in less than five months. Most of the league's teams make their choices on a policy of age over beauty, so he had to wait for 40 other players to be announced before hearing his own name.
On the day he was chosen to represent the league's U.S.-born contingent during All-Star weekend in the annual Rising Stars game, he was 23 years old and averaging 13.5 points to rank sixth in scoring among all league rookies.
NBA teams are obsessed with the age of players when it comes time to conduct their annual draft each June, and the Rising Stars game offers one more piece of evidence that this approach to drafting might not always be best.
The average age of the top 10 selections in last June’s draft was 19.5. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, given that some of the players chosen were Zion Williamson (18 at the time), Ja Morant (20) and RJ Barrett (19). However, when the Suns executed a trade with the Timberwolves for the No. 11 pick and a chance to draft wing Cameron Johnson — a player who was 23 (gasp!) on draft night — the move was met with a hysterical response.
This was not because of doubts about his ability. It was because he was, well, old.