How to Enter the NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is open to all players who have turned 19 years and older by January 1 of the draft year. If you have completed your college eligibility and your original class has graduated, you are automatically eligible for the draft. If you didn't attend college but are more than four years removed from high school, you are eligible. If you played in a foreign league before your draft year, you are eligible. If you are an international player 22 years or older, you are eligible. Otherwise you may have to declare yourself as an early entrant. You must do this in writing to the NBA commissioner. Becoming draft-eligible is easy. Actually getting drafted is the hard part.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Envelope
  • Postage

Instructions

  1. If You Didn't Attend College

    • 1

      Review the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the NBA Players Association to see if you are automatically eligible for the draft. Declare yourself as an early entrant if you are not eligible.

    • 2

      Make your request for early entry status in writing to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at 645 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10022. Make sure the NBA receives that letter at least 60 days before the June draft.

    • 3

      Fill out and return the draft application you receive from the NBA in response to your declaration letter.

    • 4

      Decide whether you want to withdraw from the draft by the league's deadline, which is 10 days before the event.

    If You Are a College Underclassman

    • 1

      Review the collective bargaining agreement to see if you must declare yourself as an early entry.

    • 2

      Explore your draft potential before surrendering your college eligibility. Request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee in writing two days after the NCAA championship game. Assess the response from the committee, which includes executives from 20 NBA teams. Ask your coach to check with NBA general managers to get additional opinions.

    • 3

      Weigh your decision whether to leave college carefully. You must make that call in April, when NBA teams are still early in their evaluations. "Kids in these situations can make very poor decisions simply because they don't have enough information," Creighton Coach Greg McDermott, father of NBA Draft pick Doug McDermott, told CBSSports.com.

    • 4

      Wait until the NBA's early entry deadline before deciding whether to enter the draft. That deadline is 60 days before the draft. If you declare for the draft right after the season, you will be subject to the NCAA's "early entry deadline" one day before the start of the spring signing period. That deadline usually comes about two weeks before than the NBA deadline, forcing you to make your decision sooner than necessary.

    • 5

      Make your request for early entry status, if that is your wish, in writing to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at 645 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10022. Make sure the NBA receives that letter at least 60 days before the June draft. Fill out and return the application the NBA will send you in response to your letter.

    If You Are an International Player

    • 1

      Review the collective bargaining agreement to see if you are automatically eligible for the draft. Declare yourself as an early entrant if you are not eligible.

    • 2

      Make your request for early entry status in writing to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at 645 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10022. Make sure the NBA receives that letter at least 60 days before the June draft.

    • 3

      Fill out and return the draft application you receive from the NBA in response to your declaration letter.

    • 4

      Decide whether you want to withdraw from the draft by the league's deadline, which is 10 days before the event.

Tips & Warnings

  • The NCAA Undergraduate Advisory Committee makes its assessments before the NCAA's "early entry deadline" in mid-April. Those evaluations are premature, so they may undersell your draft value.
  • You cannot sign an NBA contract without being eligible for at least one draft.
  • If you withdraw from the draft, you will be eligible for a later draft.
  • You can't be eligible for more than two drafts.
  • Entering the draft does not guarantee you serious consideration from NBA teams. Many early entrants are never drafted.
  • Do not hire a player agent until you are sure you want to turn pro. Doing so finishes your college eligibility for basketball.
  • Do not have family members or any other third party approach NBA officials to assess your draft stock. That, too, will cost you your college basketball eligibility.
  • If you are subject to the NCAA's "early entry deadline," you forfeit your college eligibility if you don't withdraw from the draft before that date. The same applies to the NBA's early entry deadline.
  • If you declare for the draft and are not drafted, you can't return to college basketball.
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  • Photo Credit Brad Barket/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

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