Over the past decade, the NBA has changed drastically. Before a new rule was implemented, NBA prospects could enter the NBA right out of High school. Only a selective few were big time names coming out of highschool. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, Shawn Kemp, Kevin Garnett, and Moses Malone are the most known High school prospects that came straight from High school into the league and was very successful. There were many more athletes who tried to make that big leap from highschool to the pros and did not quite meet the expectations set out for them. To address this issue, the NBA and their Players Association approved a bargaining agreement that requires prospect entering the draft to be a minimum of 19 years old and or have completed their first year of college. Players are now forced to spend a year in college, even if they had or have no intentions of graduating.
When the rule was first established, it was meant to allow collegiate fans to see superstars like Derrick Rose, Karl Anthony Towns, and Anthony Davis for at least a year. This excitement was quickly reversed when prospects were only meeting the minimum requirements to enter into the NBA draft. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has spoken about his willingness to change the rule. “It’s not working for the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from,” Silver proclaimed. “They’re not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren’t happy either, in part because they don’t necessarily think the players who are coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see.”
As you can see in the graph displayed, there has been a significant jump of one and done prospects over the past few years. In 2008, there was 16 freshman who declared for the draft and was drafted in the first and second round. There was a significant drop off of young prospects in years 2009-2015. The hype began to pick up a lot more in years 2016 and 2017. Last years’ draft had the most one and done draftees in history. 24 freshmen were drafted in the first and second round. There were 40 freshmen overall declaring for the draft.
40 freshmen declared for the draft.
Many have questioned and have concerns about the one year out of high school rule. College coaches and college administrations disagree with the one and done rule. Many college coaches look to build a foundation with their programs. How can college coaches create a foundation with athletes only coming to their school for one year.
Schools like Kentucky, Duke and Kansas have been named the prolific one and done schools. Prospects would only go to these schools for a year and seek to enter the draft after their first collegiate season.
In the graph above, you can see that since 2016, Kentucky has had the most one and done players coming out of there program. Duke is in a distant second following Kansas with 8 players.
Now the question is, are the athletes benefiting from one year in college? Is there another option for these prospects to take instead of one year in college?
To decipher this issue, I am going to look at their performance in the NBA to determine if the year in college helps them or hurts them.
One and Done athletes average 1.3 more points than other players in their drafts.
One and Done Players average less assist than other players in the Draft.
These charts do not give an accurate assumption whether their production in the NBA could be better if they could have gone straight to the league from High school.
Many believe that most young prospects are not developed enough or ready to jump into the league at such a young age. Allowing them to get more experience, exposure and training in college could propel them with a long career in the pros. Others say that if prospects want to enter the league, why should we hold them back.
This is a constant conversation that has been going on for the past few years and has reared its head again over the past few months. Not knowing what the future holds for the ‘one and done rule’, could be detrimental to the athletes and the NBA. Adam Silver is determined to come up with a solution that will well suit all parties involved.