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Layups: OTL on the One-and-Dones

Posted by Neil Paine on June 23, 2009

Hate how the NBA's age limit creates automatic "one and done" situations for colleges? Here is ESPN's Steve Delsohn's report from Monday's Outside the Lines, regarding the impact of the rule on the NCAA game, focusing on how exactly coaches are supposed to deal with players who have great talent but are not in the program for the long haul. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett -- two of the more notable preps-to-pros of the past 15 years -- have led their teams to NBA titles in back-to-back seasons. So does the one-and-done rule make sense for the pros or college? What do you think?

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9 Responses to “Layups: OTL on the One-and-Dones”

  1. Dave Says:

    Neil, you should also link to Marc Stein's take, a much better reflection of the NBA's problem.
    As opposed to NCAA. The NCAA could change their scholarship obligations (to require repayment of all expenses if leave programme early or less than 2 years), or remove the requirement that players to be shamatures ... or ... oh wait ... they want to recruit the best possible players to represent their programme that they possibly can. So if one programme compromises and doesn't maintain academic standards, that puts pressure on other colleges ... oh dear, this is all the NBA's fault.

    The NBA's problem is that almost all 18 year-old talents are not NBA ready, LeBron, Dwight, and to a lesser extent KG (and Moses Malone) are the exceptions that prove the rule. It is expensive to give a guaranteed 1 Million+ contract to someone you know may never be worth that investment (yes, but they might). Heck most of the 1-and-done's are not ready, hence Stein's and the League's desire for it to be 2 years...

    What I don't understand is why are not more of these people considering the D-League? As Stein says:

    There are veterans playing there, as well as already drafted players, you can earn $ (OK, not NBA money). In terms of talent evaluation, this would give teams the best look at a player (perhaps this point best answers my question teams would need to gamble less as many players would prove they aren't ready), in terms of skills development you would have heaps more opportunities. There aren't the same restrictions regarding agents, sponsorship etc. Heck they should be planning for this, instead of picking which college will give them the most exposure, especially if they are all serious about developing as a basketballer.

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    That's a good take (it wasn't up when I scheduled this post yesterday, or I would have linked it), but a lot of it revolves around this idea that the NBA has some need to "protect" the various parties involved... They need to protect the teams from making idiotic investments in high schoolers who aren't worth it, they need to protect HS kids from stupidly declaring when they aren't ready, etc. I recognize that Stern is making a business decision for the NBA, but what does it say about the collective intelligence of your GMs that you need to institute a rule to "protect" them from making bad choices that would embarrass the league? As far as I'm concerned, if a player thinks he's ready and a team think he's ready, who is Stern to intervene and say they can't make a deal? Well, he's the commissioner. But does he have to be so hands-on about everything?

  3. Mike G Says:

    A lot of kids have been drafted just so that no one else can get them. It's a form of gambling; a team spends a few million on a young player who Might turn out to be worth it.

    Kobe and Garnett led teams to titles, not because they were drafted out of high school but independently of that fact. Just as there are posters and billboards of happy people who have won the lottery or won in Vegas, there will be representatives of successful gambles in the NBA.

    If a player would get more minutes in 30-odd college games than he'd get off an NBA bench, he should probably be in college. Being 'the Man' in crunch NCAA minutes is likely a more valuable experience than watching from the bench.

    There's evidence that players who start accruing NBA minutes at tender ages have their careers end earlier than those who warm up to the grind with a few college seasons:

    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=1718

  4. ScottR. Says:

    Unfortunately, Stern does need to protect the stupid GMs from themselves because an influx of high-school kids would ruin the league as a whole. For a short period, before the current rule was adopted, the league saw some high school kids drafted very high--Darius Miles, Sebastian Telfair, Kwame Brown--who all pretty much sucked. Maybe these players, with a couple of years in college, would have turned about better? I like the current rule and wish it was "two and done."

  5. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't think 18-year-olds who enter the draft are any more likely to suck in the NBA than 20-year-olds, or 22-year-olds. Most players who get drafted simply don't make it. Teams make idiotic investments in all types of players who aren't worth it. It has little to do with their age. Maybe Miles would have been better with some college. And maybe LeBron James would have been worse, because he'd waste years facing competition that didn't consistently challenge him when he was obviously ready for the NBA.

    I agree that it seems the D-League could be better utilized as a minor league for players who aren't quite ready.

  6. Mike G Says:

    "Two and done" has no ring to it. How about "Two and through" ?

  7. mrparker Says:

    IMO, the league is much better off without directly out of high school players. I will skip my reasons and just get to what I consider the proof. The college game has a point per possession of around 101 and has always had that since I've followed the number(4 years). Im not sure what it was before then. The pro game has a ppp of 107 and change. During the era when High school players were allowed in the draft the league average dipped all the way to 101 and might have been below that. IMO its no coincidence that when you have 19 year olds starring for pro teams that pro teams will have college numbers.

    Now, after we get a chance to see these kids go at least a year in college, we get to see the cream rise to the top. Would Kevin Love have been a top 5 pick out of high school? Would Kevin Durant have been the number 2 pick?

  8. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mrparker, NBA scoring was never as low as you say it was. And if the high school players were so bad, as you seem to be implying, then why would they be "starring for pro teams"? Try again.

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    Yeah, that's incredibly misleading to attempt to connect the downturn in points per possession earlier in the decade with the influx of HS players. High schoolers made up a ridiculously small % of the league's total minutes/possessions during the preps-to-pros period; to blame them for a defense-heavy era is absurd, especially considering that the kids logging the most minutes turned out to be some of the most successful players in NBA history -- KG, Kobe, LeBron, T-Mac, Dwight, etc.