The term one-and-done has become such a common term in the NBA over the past decade, that it’s as synonymous with fans of the game as the words “three-pointer,” and “NBA Draft.” But, in case you don’t know what a one-and-done is, it’s a player that goes from high school to college on scholarship, plays their for one year, and then gets drafted into the NBA. In 2006, commissioner David Stern realized that too many high school players were entering the draft, going undrafted, and wasting potential opportunity and draft spots of college players. It also hurt colleges a tremendous amount (Example: Kobe Bryant was quoted saying if he hadn’t gone to the NBA out of high school, he would have gone to college at Duke). And so, the one-and-done rule came to be. The rule states that a player must be one year removed from high school before he can declare for the draft.
Some players were really good coming straight out of high school. But others, such as Kwame Brown and Sebastian Telfare, weren’t ready for the league. Today we’re looking at the pros and cons of being a one-and-done, and players in the NBA who are one-and-done’s.
If you look at the top players in the NBA today, you find Lebron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant. Lebron came straight out of high school and was the #1 pick in 2003. Kevin Durant was a one-and-done at the University of Texas, and was the #2 pick in the 2007 draft. Steph Curry, on the other hand, played three years at Davidson college, and was drafted #7 in 2009. And if you look at Kevin Durant and Steph Curry’s career resumes, Steph’s is a little bit more impressive. 2-time MVP, three-time champion. Kevin Durant is a 1-time MVP, and wouldn’t have his 2 championships if he hadn’t joined Steph on the Warriors. And then there’s Lebron, who is a 3x champion, 4x MVP, and arguably the greatest player of our generation.
But, what are the pros and cons of being a one-and-done? Let’s look at them:
One year of college experience (or overseas) to work on your game and prepare for the NBA
Players can find out if they are truly ready for the NBA versus dominating high school competition and thinking they’re ready
Scholarship to a college of your choosing (if you’re good enough)
There are multiple fallback options if you aren’t done-in-one, or sustain a career ending injury
Improve your draft stock and play against other players who might be in the NBA with you soon
Limits NBA Draft Busts who then have no education after they fail out of the league
Players could get injured and lose all draft stock
If injury is severe enough, they could potentially never play again
Easier for players to be bribed and lose eligibility
Have to maintain academic minimum average or they will be suspended
They don’t get paid to play, and even while on scholarship, college athletes can still be poor or amase student debt if on partial scholarship
When you look at it, it’s easy to see the pros out-way the cons, although the cons can make some pretty solid arguments. But honestly, if they accept payment and are ineligible for the NCAA, then that’s the athletes fault. Injuries aren’t necessarily their fault, but a fluke’s a fluke.
Now, there has been some talk of voiding the one-and-done rule by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, but nothing has transpired of it… yet
So, are there downsides to being a one-and-done player? Yes. But would I keep the rule in place if I was commissioner of the NBA. Yes. One-and-done’s have turned out very well in the NBA, and it should be required that there be at least one year of college experience. Take Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Derrick Rose, Jayson Tatum, Demar DeRozan, Mike Conley, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson, Coby White, Jrue Holiday, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, and so many more. These are all one-and-done players, and together they have amassed champions, MVPs, and countless all-star appearances. Of course, there is something to be said for staying in college for four years.
Some of the all time greats, such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar all played 2 or more seasons in college. So you could make an argument that players with more college experience end up with better NBA careers..or at the very least are better prepared for managing life and their money after the NBA.
This blog idea was generated by a comment in the previous post, https://nbainfo.data.blog/2020/09/01/report-brandon-ingram-wins-most-improved-player-giannis-wins-dpoy/. If you want to see a blog post on a specific topic regarding the NBA, then smash that like button and leave your suggestion in the comments below. And as always, have an awesome day!