Zach Munson’s NBA Big Board

1.Markelle Fultz – Fultz is simply the best player in the draft. In a draft where every player at the top of the draft has flaws, Fultz is a player with no clear weakness. He has a tremendous scoring ability, great shooting, wonderful ball handling and vision, as well as elite athleticism. Additionally, this playmaker even boasts a 6’10” wingspan, which should aid in his rebounding and defense. He checks every major box of a lead guard in the NBA and will be a future superstar.
2.Lonzo Ball – Ball has the potential to be the best player in the draft. Potential. We all know he is an elite passer, which help him draw comparisons to Jason Kidd. His playmaking instincts and court vision are tremendous. He makes his teammates better and can elevate a team. However, his defense is concerning, which was highlighted by De’Aaron Fox dropping 39 points against him in the NCAA tournament. I am not too worried about the impact of LaVar Ball on his career, neither do I think many teams are either. Lonzo, wear your own ZO2 shoes! If you aren’t going to wear them, why should anybody else?
3.Josh Jackson – Jackson is an elite athlete who can defend four positions. He has great instincts and strong feel for the game. He is very fast and strong and can get to the basket at will. However, the one glaring concern is his jumper. However, he did shoot the ball better as the season went on. If we can improve this, he will be a star.
4.Jayson Tatum – Tatum is arguably the most NBA-ready prospect. He has no problem on the offensive end, scoring and getting to the basket with ease. He is athletic and can create space from his defender very well. Some concerns are his defense and his ability to help the team when he does not have the ball in his hand. If he could improve his range, that would help him tremendously.
5.De’Aaron Fox – Fox had a great NCAA tournament, notably seen by his 39-point performance on Lonzo Ball. As a result, he has been creeping up draft boards. His elite athleticism and amazing speed help him be a monster in transition. His tremendous defense is what separates himself from the pack. However, his jump shot is a real concern. If he had a better shot, he would be higher on this Big Board.
6.Malik Monk – Monk is a tremendous 3-point shooter, has elite athleticism, and can get himself open from his defender with ease. These are the tools which could lead to his NBA stardom. However, at 6’3”, his size is a concern. He needs to improve his defense and shot selection.
7.Dennis Smith Jr. – Smith has elite scoring, explosiveness, and playmaking. Possibly the best isolation scorer in the entire draft, he can be a star point guard in the NBA. However, he could improve his passing and defense, which he has shown promise when he tries.
8.Jonathan Isaac – Isaac, at the very least, will bode as a great defender. His size, length, and athleticism will allow him to be a tremendous defender and weak-side shot blocker. However, his offensive game has question marks. He needs to improve his jump shot and passing to be a future star.
9.Lauri Markkanen – Markkanen is arguably the best shooter in this entire draft and might be the best shooter at his position in the entire NBA. However, he lacks rebounding, defense, and passing ability. However, in today’s NBA, he will be valued as a stretch-4 who can extend the defense and easily get his shot off.
10.Frank Ntilikina – Ntilikina is a long guard who can be a star ball handler in the NBA. He’s a great shooter and defender, but he needs to improve his athleticism and strength to improve his driving ability. He’s a little unpolished, but is the top overseas prospect for a reason.
11.Zach Collins – Collins showed lots of promise at Gonzaga, namely in the NCAA tournament. He is very skilled, has great touch around the basket, tremendous post moves, and valuable rim protection. However, he needs to improve his strength and feel for the game around him.
12.Luke Kennard – Kennard is also arguably the best shooter in the draft. Highlighted by his offensive ability, he is great in pick-and-roll and is a great passer. However, question marks loom around his defense.
13.Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell is a monster athletically and has an enormous 6’10” wingspan. He is a great defender, playmaker, and shooter. He can be a star if he can develop a better game off the dribble.
14.OG Anunoby – At the very least, Anunoby will be a great defender who can guard 4 positions. His size, athleticism, and length make him the most promising defenders in the draft. However, he needs to improve his offensive game and shooting ability to become a star. Additionally, he is currently recovering from a torn ACL, and teams should not expect him to play his first season.
15.Justin Jackson – With great size at 6’8”, Jackson is one of the best shooters in this draft class. Although he lacks athleticism, he has a great feel for the game around him and will immediately help space the floor and extend the defense.
16.John Collins – Collins was perhaps the most productive player in college last season. His offensive production was second to none, averaging 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. However, he does have defensive holes in his game.
17.Jarrett Allen – Allen was a player who tremendously improved his game as the season progressed. Many teams are turned off by his lack of commitment, as he has lots of interests outside of basketball. He has great physical tools and has great touch around the basket. He lacks polish and is a very raw project, but shows some promise.
18.T.J. Leaf – Leaf is a tremendous shooter and has perhaps the most diverse skill set in the entire class for a big man. He has huge hops and is a great rebounder. However, he lacks length and lateral quickness, which has turned teams off. However, his great scoring ability and shooting will draw teams towards him.
19.Terrance Ferguson – Ferguson is a great shooter, defender, and elite athlete. He needs to improve his dribble drive game and is a little thin for the NBA right now.
20.Harry Giles – Giles has been suppressed by his multiple ACL injuries. He has lost a lot of his bounce and explosiveness, which scares teams. However, he is a strong rebounder. He is the riskiest player in the draft his stock relies on his medicals. However, teams will take a chance on him. If he returns to the player he was two years ago, he will be the steal of the draft.
21.Justin Patton – Patton has showed tremendous offensive production, passing, and touch around the basket. His size and mid-range shooting ability offers great promise at the next level. However, he needs to improve his rebounding and defending to be a star.
22.Semi Ojeleye – Ojeleye shows promise as a two-way role player at the next level. He is a great defender and can drive to the basket, as well as score from all areas of the court. Although he is not very long, he can be a formidable 3 or 4 in the NBA.
23.D.J. Wilson – Wilson is one of my favorite players in this draft class. He is a great shooter from deep, has tremendous size, and has promising defensive sills. He can switch on defense during pick-and-rolls, which is very valuable as he can guard multiple positions. His ability to stretch the floor will pay dividends in the NBA. Although his rebounding is a small concern, there are so many things to like about his guy.
24.Isaiah Hartenstein – Hartenstein is an elite athlete, 3-point shooter, and outlet passer. He has many tools that NBA teams will covet. However, he is certainly a raw project for any team. Although he is skilled, his defensive game lacks. It is unsure how his sills will translate to the next level.
25.Ike Anigbogu – Anigbogu has amazing physical tools and elite athleticism. He was a great defender for UCLA, however he lacks offensive production. He is not going to be a reliable option on offense initially, but he offers great upside as a defender and rim-runner.
26.Jawun Evans – Evans showed tremendous production at Oklahoma State. His instincts, ball handling, and speed are incredible. However, his finishing and jump shot need to improve.
27.Jordan Bell – Bell is arguably the most NBA-ready defender in this entire draft class. He has the quickness to guard the perimeter, as well as shows promise as a rim protector. He boasts great instincts and toughness. Although he lacks an offensive game, his defense will be valued at the next level.
28.Tyler Lydon – Lydon shows tremendous promise as a stretch-4 in today’s NBA. His combination of great shooting and size will allow him to stretch the floor and extend the defense. He is a good rebounder and has great touch around the basket. However, his defense and consistency will be a question mark in the NBA.
29.Derrick White – White had arguably the best showing at the NBA draft combine. He was one of the most productive players at Colorado and was an elite defender at the collegiate level. He is quick and is able to play both guard positions. An improvement to his game would be his passing.
30.Bam Adebayo – Adebayo has tremendous strength, rebounds very well, and plays above the rim. Also, he does not need the ball in his hands very much to perform his job. He lacks post skills and over half of his shots at Kentucky were dunks, which is concerning. He needs to improve on the defensive end, but his rim protection is promising. Also, Adebayo needs to improve his jump shot to carve out a formidable role in the NBA.

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Jason Gandhi’s NBA Big Board

 

  • Lonzo Ball (1)

 

      1. Lonzo’s court vision and his ability to set his teammates up are the reasons he is my #1 player. He makes guys want to share the ball and orchestrated the fastest offense in college last year. Defensively, there is some work to do, but defense is a mentality. With his shot making ability, court vision and length, Lonzo, on the right team, could be a superstar in this league. My player comparison for him is Steve Nash or Jason Kidd.

 

  • Markelle Fultz (2)

 

      1. Everyone’s number one guy on their big board. I am not as high on him purely because of how dependent he is on having the ball and not having the winning pedigree. He can still score from anywhere and is very comfortable in pick and roll, something he has over Lonzo. He has superstar potential but needs to get more disciplined on defense and be better off the ball. My player comparison is D’Angelo Russell.

 

  • Jayson Tatum (3)

 

      1. Tatum, in my opinion, is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft. He is 6’8” with a 6’11” wingspan, which will allow him to play the stretch 4 at the next level. He is very polished offensively but really needs to be more consistent on offense. He lacks elite athleticism but makes up for it with his length. This guy could be a perennial all-star. My player comparison is Danny Granger.

 

  • Josh Jackson (4)

 

      1. Jackson’s defense is the best in the draft. He is able to consistently guard 4 positions and is a freak athlete. His offensive game is where I’m hesitant. His shot needs a lot of work, and I’m not sure he can ever develop one. If he does, I think he could be the best player out of the class, but I personally do not buy that he develops it. My player comparison for him is Kawhi Leonard assuming he gets his shot.

 

  • De’Aaron Fox (5)

 

      1. De’Aaron Fox is hard to get a read on from NBA scouts. Some like him more than Ball, but others will put him below Dennis Smith Jr. I like him in the middle because of his potential to be a star in the league. His shot is below average, but he can still hit mid-range and floaters. His athleticism is phenomenal but weighing only 170 pounds factors into whether or not his athleticism will be put on display. He needs to get stronger in order to be able to take it into the paint in the NBA. My player comparison for him is John Wall.

 

  • Malik Monk (6)

 

      1. Monk is one of the safest picks in the draft. If nothing else develops, teams at least get a solid shooter to instantly score. If his defense and basketball IQ can develop, he can be a steal in the draft. He is this class’s best scorer so whatever team gets him at least gets an offensive stud. My player comparison is Devin Booker/Eric Gordon

 

  • Dennis Smith Jr. (7)

 

      1. Dennis Smith is another prospect who is very NBA ready already. He fits the modern NBA very nicely, being able to run PnR as well as score when necessary. He is on the rise for me right now as I watch more and more of his film. He has elite bounce and athleticism and that will make him a lot of people’s favorite player to watch out of this draft. My player comparison is Derrick Rose in his prime.

 

  • Jonathan Isaac (8)

 

      1. The best athlete of the draft. His freakish body and athleticism along with stellar defense this year has some scouts liked him as a better prospect than Jayson Tatum. Isaac’s offensive game needs too much work for me to put him that high, but I do like his potential in the right system. My player comparison is Giannis Antetokounmpo or Rashard Lewis

 

  • Frank Ntilinka (9)

 

      1. Ntilinka has a very raw offensive game. He struggles to shoot from deep but can drive the lane if needed. His defense is the reason he is so high on draft boards. The Mavericks are a team that has scouted him very thoroughly and the Knicks are another team that is in play, in the early lottery, to look at Ntilinka. My player comparison is Dante Exum.

 

  • Harry Giles (10)

 

      1. Giles’ is the hardest prospect to gauge. His talent puts him as a top 5-10 player easily. It’s the medical side that is the problem. With multiple ACL tears, teams have to be worried about. He has had three knee surgeries since 2013, so a major flag. If his tests come back showing no issues, he could be a late riser on draft night. My player comparison is Chris Webber or Julius Randle with a longer body.

 

  • Lauri Markkanen (11)

 

      1. Some people have said Markkanen has the best shot in the draft. I’d say he is second to Monk. He is the definition of a stretch 4 but really can’t go inside even if the team needed him to. He is very weak inside which limits his value to me, but his shooting makes him a definite lottery pick in the draft. Stretch 4’s are the most coveted position in the NBA right now. My player comparison is Dirk Nowitzki or Ryan Anderson

 

  • Zach Collins (12)

 

      1. Although Collins only attempted 21 threes (made 10), many project Zach Collins as a stretch 4 in the NBA. I don’t see it yet, but with his size and athleticism that could be his future. A lot of his position depends on where he is taken on draft night. To me, Collins is a lock to be a lottery pick on draft night, but where is the real question. My player comparison is Bill Laimbeer or Gorgui Dieng.

 

  • OG Anunoby (13)

 

      1. Giles is very similar to Giles in the respect that his talent his lottery-worthy, but the question mark pops up with his health. After injuring his ACL in January, teams need to decide whether a lottery pick is worth a player with injury history. His defense, pre-injury, would rival with Jackson for best in the class. The only concern was offensive consistency and getting a shot down. Very similar to Josh Jackson pre-injury. My player comparison is Stanley Johnson.

 

  • Donovan Mitchell (14)

 

      1. Coming into the combine, I, along with others, was not this high on Mitchell. He had the best testing at the combine without playing a minute of basketball. He showed his 6’10” wingspan and a better athlete and defender to a very similar Luke Kennard. Kennard and Mitchell are battling it out to see who will get called first. My player comparison is a less athletic Dwyane Wade.

 

  • Luke Kennard (15)

 

      1. As mentioned above, Kennard and Mitchell are very similar. Both are rising up draft boards as the day nears this week. Kennard is a better shooter than Mitchell but doesn’t have the athleticism. I think Kennard has more defensive potential, but right now Mitchell is a better defender. My player comparison is Klay Thompson with less defensive ability.

 

  • Justin Jackson (16)

 

      1. I like Jackson more than others. I think his potential as a 3 and d prospect is one that can keep in the league for a long time. If he can consistently defend 4 positions, and shoot the 3 in the high 30%’s, he can be a starter in this league for many years. My player comparison is Evan Turner.

 

  • Justin Patton (17)

 

      1. I think he has potential to be a steal in this draft. He isn’t a great athlete, but he can score in the post and rebound very effectively. The only concern I have with him is his lateral movement. He has poor foot speed, which could hurt him against quicker bigs. My player comparison is Myles Turner.

 

  • Terrance Ferguson (18)

 

      1. Ferguson has spurts in his game that make him look like a lottery pick, but there are also times when he looks like a 2nd rounder. He is VERY inconsistent. But he has potential to be an offensive stud. He was able to score at will some games so scouts have reason to be excited. My player comparison is Terrence Ross.

 

  • John Collins (19)

 

      1. John Collins had a phenomenal offensive season for the Demon Deacons. He was the focal point of Wake Forest’s offense last year and he blossomed nicely. His testing at the combine helped his stock rise, including a 38.5 inch vertical. He played a small center in college but being only 6’10” with a 6’11” wingspan, he will have to transition. Defensively, he isn’t long enough. He needs to show his shooting ability this summer and if he can get that going, he has a long future in the NBA.  My player comparison is Nikola Mirotic.

 

  • Jarrett Allen (20)

 

      1. Jarrett Allen’s length is his main selling point. He has a 7’5” wingspan and is going to be a defensive nightmare. The only real issue is his raw skill. He could be a major project in the league, similar to Roy Hibbert for the Pacers, but if he develops, he could be special. My player comparison is Robin Lopez or Rudy Gobert

 

  • Bam Adebayo (21)

 

      1. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo has risen and fallen throughout the year. For me, when I would study Fox or Monk’s tape, I couldn’t help but watch Adebayo and all the energy and athleticism he brought to the game. He tested well at the combine and might be rising again. He could go anywhere from late teens to end of the 1st. My player comparison is Tristan Thompson.

 

  • Jordan Bell (22)

 

      1. My 2nd favorite player in the draft. Bell seems to never run out of energy. He is going to make a team with his defense and shot-blocking ability and the rest is gravy. Seeing his workout, he is focusing heavily on his offensive game and a jump shot. I believe the team that gets Bell, is getting a top 5 defender in the draft and the potential to be the #1 steal of the draft. My player comparison is Thomas Robinson or Javale McGee with a better shot.

 

  • TJ Leaf (23)

 

      1. I am not a huge fan of Leaf and Anigbogu. Both players benefitted from Ball running the show at UCLA. Leaf has a lot of skill, but I have questions about his defense and length. I’m not sure he can play the 3 or the 4, so he is in a tough spot for an adjustment to the NBA. If he can play either position consistently, then he would rise, but I’m not convinced he can. My player comparison is Channing Frye.

 

  • Tony Bradley (24)

 

      1. Bradley has A TON of potential. In limited minutes at UNC, he showed flashes of greatness. My only concern is his lack of foot speed in the lane. He needs to improve his agility and speed to become a force to be reckoned with down low. He needs to go to the right team, but if he does, he could start for many years on a team. My player comparison is Andrew Bynum or Rudy Gobert.

 

  • Ike Anigbogu (25)

 

      1. I am not as high on Ike as others. I think he benefitted greatly off of Lonzo running point, and if he wasn’t there, I don’t think Ike would be a conversation until the end of the 1st round if not 2nd. With that being said, he has a 7’6” wingspan so his potential is high purely based on his body. He can rebound very well, just offensively, I am very hesitant. My player comparison is Bismack Biyombo.

 

  • Anzejs Pasecniks (26)

 

      1. I think he is the most NBA-ready international player after Ntilinka. He just needs to get stronger and bigger, but his workout at his pro day in LA, had him shooting up draft boards. I’m not sure if he will pan out to be another Kristaps Porzingis, but he can shoot the ball from anywhere and is crazy long. My player comparison is Donatas Motiejunas.

 

  • Isaiah Hartenstein (27)

 

      1. The perfect draft-and-stash project. He has the size and skills to play but needs some time to really refine those skills. If Hartenstein develops a jumper, he could be a dominant player in a year or two. I like him more than Pasecniks long-term, but Hartenstein isn’t as NBA-ready yet. My player comparison is Nikola Jokic.

 

  • Semi Ojeleye (28)

 

      1. Ojeleye, a transfer from Duke, really impressed scouts this season. He showed his ability to stretch the floor averaging 18.2 points per game. He could even shrink down to the three if a team wants to go with a tall lineup. Ojeleye’s success in the league varies on the team that takes him. If he finds the right team, he could be a sixth or seventh man and instantly provide scoring. My player comparison is Draymond Green.

 

  • Ivan Rabb (29)

 

      1. Rabb is all over the place on teams boards. Last year, he was a projected lottery pick and scouts hoped he would refine his game and be a top pick. Throughout the season he was very underwhelming which has led him to fall to a borderline 1st-2nd rounder. I still like his skill set due to his 7’2” wingspan and how fluid he moves offensively. He is 6’10” and needs to bulk up as he weighs only 220 lbs.  I’m higher on his game, but consistency is going to be huge for him. My player comparison is Chris Bosh.

 

  • Caleb Swanigan (30)

 

    1. Swanigan was a monster last year for Purdue. I like his game a lot, I just worry about his transition to the NBA. I think he will be a small-ball 5, similar to Draymond’s role in Golden State. In order for that to happen, he needs to be put in the right organization and get a lot quicker. The team he is drafted by will have a major impact on how his career plays put. He can shoot the ball already which helps him, his body though is the number one concern for teams. He is too short to play the 5 and is too slow to play the 4. My player comparison is a much shorter KG or Draymond Green.

Michael Bailey’s NBA Mock Draft

2017 NBA Mock Draft

Michael Bailey

 

  1. Boston (From Brooklyn) – Markelle Fultz-PG/SG-Washington

Boston, coming off of the first seed in the East are in no place to start rebuilding, but definite changes are needed if they want to contend with the LeBron James-led Cavaliers team which is poised to return to the NBA finals seeking vengeance over the Warriors. Fultz could be the last piece of the puzzle for the Celtics and could be needed if they wanted to sign a stud in free agency like Gordon Hayward. Although I think it would be smart to trade this very valuable pick to gain a player like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, Fultz is the definite pick if they are to keep it.

 

  1. Los Angeles Lakers- Josh Jackson-SG-Kansas

After lucking out and keeping their pick this year, the Lakers are in a prime spot to help their team out tremendously at this number two pick. Many thought Lonzo was no doubt the guy to take here, it appears the Lakers weren’t that convinced by his workout with them. They like Jackson in his workout with them and it is likely that they will take him here.

 

  1. Philadelphia (from Sacramento)– Lonzo Ball-PG-UCLA

The Sixers have plenty of young talent with the likes of Simmons, Okafor, etc. But they have a dearth of talent in the backcourt. If Lonzo falls to them at 3, they should no doubt add his talent to their team. He has superstar potential and even if he becomes half the player his dad thinks he will be, he will be well worth the number 3 pick.

 

  1. Phoenix- Johnathan Isaac-SF-Florida St.

Isaac is a great athlete and if he can develop a solid jumper, could develop into a star in the NBA. The Suns could use a strong starting SF to go alongside Booker on the wing. Taking a chance on Isaac is the best move at 4 unless they want to trade down to get a center assuming they let Len walk.

 

  1. Sacramento (from Philadelphia)– De’Aaron Fox-PG-Kentucky

With Darren Collison and Ty Lawson becoming free agents this offseason, the PG position is the number 1 need for the Kings this offseason. Fox showed a lot of upside at Kentucky his freshman year and could be the next star of the Sacramento Kings organization if he falls to them at 5.

 

  1. Orlando– Jayson Tatum-SF-Duke

Orlando currently only have Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon as their forwards for the upcoming season. Drafting Tatum will give them the opportunity to possibly develop a star SF and have Terrence Ross coming off the bench.

 

  1. Minnesota– Malik Monk-SG-Kentucky

Monk can socre. Averaging 19.8 points per game in his freshman year at Kentucky showed that he can put the ball into the basket. Minnesota has a lot of young talent and adding Monk gives them leeway when deciding if they want to give LaVine major mullah when deciding or not to extend his contract.

 

  1. New York– Frank Ntilikina-PG-INTL

Derrick Rose will be a free agent this offseason and it looks like New York will not bring him back. Ntilikina is a solid prospect at PG that the Knicks can hope for and develop alongside their other young star Kristaps Porzingis.

 

  1. Dallas- Dennis Smith Jr-PG-NC St.

Dallas is pretty limited in cap space this offseason so will most likely look to upgrade at PG in the draft and will grab whichever one between Ntilikina and Smith Jr. that the Knicks do not.

 

  1. Sacramento (From New Orleans)– Zach Collins-C-Gonzaga

After predicting them to draft De’Aaron Fox with the 5th pick in the draft, the Kings will try to find a full time replacement for Demarcus Cousins. Zach Collins can score and be presence for the Kings on the boards as well.

 

  1. Charlotte- Donovan Mitchell-SG-Louisville

The Hornets need to find some way to improve their team. Mitchell will give them good scoring off the bench and provide depth in the backcourt.

 

  1. Detroit- Luke Kennard-SG-Duke

The Pistons will most likely lose Kentavious Caldwell Pope in free agency due to another team offering him a crazy amount of money. Kennard can shoot and could be the SG for the Pistons next season.

 

  1. Denver- Justin Patton-C-Creighton

If the Nuggets decide to let Plumlee go in free agency, getting a center in the draft is necessary. Patton has some of the best upside out of all the centers in the draft.

 

  1. Miami- Harry Giles- PF/C-Duke

Although coming off of a knee injury, Giles still has great potential. If he can stay healthy he could blossom into a great starter in the NBA. At 14, I think the Heat can afford taking a risk on Giles and hope that he can stay healthy.

 

  1. Portland- Lauri Markkanen-PF-Arizona
  2. Chicago- Jarret Allen-C-Texas
  3. Milwaukee- Justin Jackson-SF-North Carolina
  4. Indiana- OG Anunoby-SF/PF-Indiana
  5. Atlanta- John Collins-PF-Wake Forest
  6. Portland (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland)– Terrance Ferguson-SG-INTL
  7. Oklahoma City-Juwan Evans-PG-Oklahoma St.
  8. Brooklyn (From Washington)-Bam Adebayo-C-Kentucky
  9. Toronto (From LA Clippers via Milwaukee)-Tyler Lydon-PF/SF- Syracuse
  10. Utah- Ike Anigbogu-PF/C-UCLA
  11. Orlando (From Toronto)-T.J. Leaf-PF-UCLA
  12. Portland (From Cleveland)-Semi Ojeleye-SF/PF-SMU
  13. Brooklyn (From Boston)-Isaiah Hartenstein-PF/C-Germany
  14. Los Angeles Lakers (From Houston)-Jordan Bell-PF/C-Oregon
  15. San Antonio-Ivan Rabb-PF- California
  16. Utah (From Golden State)-Derrick White-PG/SG-Colorado

Should Basketball Players be Allowed to Enter the NBA after High School?

By: Dylan Stagge

High school basketball prospects have been banned from entering the NBA draft since 2006. The NBA instituted the “One-and-Done” rule to force players to wait at least one year after they graduate high school to enter the draft. The rule is called the “One-and-Done” rule because most top prospects go to college for one year before entering the NBA draft.

This argument always seems to come up around NBA draft time, and once again, people argue whether prospects such as Ben Simmons should have been able to enter the draft last year. Simmons is entering the NBA this year after a somewhat unsuccessful season at LSU. Even though he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game, it seemed at times like he was just coasting through the season and wanted the fastest track to the NBA draft. The stats from big games, such as Kentucky and Texas A&M, showed his production declined and he was not willing to step up in big games (“Ben Simmons”). LSU had a mediocre season and the team did not accomplish much. Simmons was even disqualified for the Wooden Award because he did not focus enough on his classes (Goodman). So, was a year of college really beneficial for Simmons’ NBA career?

There have been many players who have skipped college to enter the NBA Draft. This includes success stories such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James will go down as two of the best players ever, and Howard has had great stats and earned big contracts throughout his career. However, there are also lots of NBA busts such as Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, and Eddy Curry that entered the draft after graduating high school (“List of NBA High School Draft Picks”). In deciding if the “One-and-Done” rule is fair or not, an important point is deciding if more players will end up being successes or busts. According to the NBA, most will be busts.

They’re not necessarily wrong. Skipping college is not the best idea for all players. Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes tells about Damion James, who went to college for one year and realized he should stay longer. “[Barnes] cited former Texas standout Damion James as a player who benefited from the NBA’s minimum age requirement for draft entrants. James might have considered turning pro after high school without the rule. And that would have been a mistake, Barnes said. His first year in Austin helped him assess his true NBA stock. James ultimately stayed for four seasons before the Atlanta Hawks drafted him in the first round of the 2010 draft” (Medcalf). This shows how college can be beneficial for players to mature and know their true draft stock. Going to college can help players be smarter about basketball and more NBA-ready.

The NBA implemented the “One-and-Done” rule because they decided it was too big of a risk to draft high school players. The way the “One-and-Done” rule is currently comprised benefits the NBA greatly. Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim knows the NBA has the “One-and-Done” rule in their favor and there is no good solution for all parties. “’The NBA will not take kids out of high school; that’s a no-go,’ Boeheim says. ’It’s foolish to think about that, because the NBA doesn’t want those guys. The union, the player reps, they don’t want two years; they want to get them out as soon as they can. It’s just not a solvable problem’” (qtd. in Auerbach and Martin). This quote is very true. The “One and Done” system is a nearly perfect balance for the NBA. They get the players almost as early as possible, but still can judge if they will be good or not in the pros from their one year in college. This is a good solution for the NBA, but hurts players and colleges. The NBA greatly benefits from the college game and the “One-and-Done” rule because they do not have to pay players to have them developed for the extra year after high school. The college coaches develop the players so they are ready for the pros without the NBA paying a dime. They can scout college games easily because of the close proximity inside the United States. All of these things show how much the NBA is helped from the “One-and-Done” rule, but how much the players’ freedoms are limited.

Not being able to enter the NBA from high school puts some talented prospects in a bind. They cannot begin to play in their future league, so they either have to go to college, where there is no extra compensation and mediocre competition, or fly to a foreign country for a year for some compensation and mediocre competition to support their families. “Instead, they’re left playing in college for – often – less-than-market compensation. They’re stuck there so NBA owners (who don’t want to pay to develop their own talent), college coaches and administrators (whose salaries artificially inflated by the money their players aren’t allowed to receive) and marginal NBA players (who voted in a Collective Bargaining Agreement that excludes players who could threaten their jobs) can make more money” (Feldman). Some players are ready for the NBA, as players like Lebron James and Kevin Garnett have shown, but they do not have the freedom to go to the NBA after high school.

Overall, it should be the player’s choice whether they enter the NBA from high school. Every prospect and their family should be able to make their own decision whether it is worth the risk to enter the NBA Draft. Maybe entering the draft out of high school is not the best choice for everyone, but that is their decision, not the NBA’s.

 

Works Cited

Auerbach, Nicole, and Jeffrey Martin Sports. “One and Done, but Never as Simple as It

Sounds.” USA Today. Gannett, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

“Ben Simmons.” College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com. Sports-Reference.com,

n.d. Web. 12 July 2016.

Feldman, Dan. “Kobe Bryant: College Basketball System ‘really Isn’t Teaching Players

Anything’.” ProBasketballTalk. NBC Sports, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Goodman, Jeff. “LSU Coach: Ben Simmons ‘didn’t Meet Requirements’ for Wooden

Award.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 5 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 July 2016.

“List of NBA High School Draft Picks.” All About Basketball RSS. All About Basketball,

n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2016.

Medcalf, Myron. “Roots of One-and-done Rule Run Deep.” ESPN. ESPN Internet

Ventures, 26 June 2012. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.