Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Posted on: May 18, 2009 10:59 am

Anybody who reads here much knows that -- though I loved writing about Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley and Tyreke Evans -- I think the NBA's age-limit rule preventing high school players from jumping directly to the NBA is ridiculous, and that those who pretend college basketball is necessary to prepare prospects are either stupid, naive or blind to all the information suggesting otherwise.

Which brings me to these NBA Playoffs.

We are now down to the final four teams, and the leading scorer for those four teams - Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets, LeBron James of the Cavs and Dwight Howard of the Magic -- combined to play a grand total of one season of college basketball. Furthermore, none of the top three regular-season scorers from the Lakers (Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum) or Magic (Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu) played a minute of college basketball, and none of the remaining contenders' top three scorers from the regular season did more than two years of college.

Now look at it this way ...


  • Kobe Bryant: Zero years of college
  • Pau Gasol: Zero years of college
  • Andrew Bynum: Zero years of college
  • Carmelo Anthony: One year of college
  • Chauncey Billups: Two years of college
  • J.R. Smith: Zero years of college
  • LeBron James: Zero years of college
  • Mo Williams: Two years of college
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Zero years of college
  • Dwight Howard: Zero years of college
  • Rashard Lewis: Zero years of college
  • Hedo Turkoglu: Zero years of college
Add it up and nine of the 12 leading regular-season scorers (who are currently active) from the Lakers, Nuggets, Cavs and Magic never played college basketball. Six (Bryant, Bynum, Smith, James, Howard and Lewis) went directly from American high schools to the NBA, three (Gasol, Ilgauskas and Turkoglu) are international players, and the other three (Anthony, Billups and Williams) played in college for a combined total of five seasons.

So again, I love college basketball would like to see all the greats play four years.

I'm sure you would, too.

But let's not pretend it's always the best way or even necessary to develop as a player.

Because these NBA Playoffs are clearly suggesting otherwise.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Apr 27, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2009 9:10 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Lexington Blue, I agree -- players who can make the jump out of high school are the EXCEPTION, not the RULE.  You hear so many complaints about how lousy the play has become in the NBA, the lack of fundamentals, etc.   This is largely a product of players jumping into the NBA based on that cliche-ish "upside" rather than truly being ready.   To say that a handful of phenoms should dictate the entire NBA policy is short sighted.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2009 8:51 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

The problem is the NBA executive will always try to draft the talent, and thus it'll make more sense to draft the kid who might be 2-3 years away from being good over the college player who might be good or more likely will be a role player in the league.....I mean imagine if Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler worked out in Chicago, we'd be in the midst of our 2nd dynasty right now.....

I am not saying a GM won't want to wait 3-5 years for an all star, they would and that's why they'd take the risk--they take the project with the upside because as Cleveland and Orlando know, all it can take to be very good in this league is one player (Lakers have 2 in Pau and Kobe).  But the last thing the league needs is another 5 years of development time while teams played these high schoolers who aren't ready again...

THe main issue is that the NBA is entertainment, and as entertainment with guys making millions of dollars and families, etc spending a lot of hard earned cash to watch it, we want to see the best players in the sport at the highest level.  Watering down the league by playing 18 year olds and hoping in really 3-5 years they can become something, is not good for the entertainment of the sport or for the league, which wants to continue being the premier in the league.

And as for rookies coming in not ready, sure that's true, but I can guarantee if they have played at a level higher than high school for af ew years they are much closer to being ready than those who come straight in...

I would rather the league wait until 20, and I know Mr. Stern is saying the same thing.

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 8:44 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

The rule only holds kids in college for ONE year, get over it. Every year will have 1-3 kids that could make the NBA jump out of HS, and 10-20 more that will destroy their lives trying it.

Even in the height of HS to NBA moves there was not a year in which 20 guys came straight from HS...I'm not a big proponent of the one and done simply because it only makes a mockery of the whole thing...I believe guys should be able to make the decision to go pro from HS or go to college...if they go to college they should be forced to stay three years. Guys like Lebron, Kobe, Howard are obviously talented enough for the pro level and should not be forced to go to college.

I also would highly dispute your "ruin their lives" comment there...the ratio of guys who came straight from HS was a lot better than a 5% success rate...I'd say if the player made more than 3 million over the course of their career they did ok. It takes the average american 50 years to make that kind of money.

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2009 8:43 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Rivals is reporting UK just landed another one and done NBA player John Wall go Big Blue,

Since: Apr 25, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2009 5:47 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

to me you can use the defense for college bball, that good cbball teams/coaches help some players evolve into better players. take duke as one example, and the coaching job that coach k has done with his players. jj reddick starting for the magic!!! if u told me that 3 years ago, i would've said u were crazy. also look at batteir and the job he's done.

granted im not saying college does help every player or make players ready for the nba, but looking at players that come out of solid schools/coaches have done pretty well for themselves. o ya, WHAT HAPPENED TO KWAME BROWN???

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2009 5:24 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

When the NBA age limit rule was being discussed and then took affect, I hardly read from the sports media about how unfair it is to the kids. I hardly see any article against it, just praises that it would help the college game and the kids develope. I knew it was BS, the rule.
And now that the obvious has come to light, the media feels it's safe to write against it without persecution.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 2:08 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

It's clear that the NBA needs to adopt a system like baseball. Allow players to go to the NBA out of high school, if they wish. But if they choose to sign with a college team, they're in for three years. I'd be okay with making it two years. One year serves nobody.

Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 12:34 am

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

Like guinness beer your post was BRILLIANT. People don't understand that these kids often overestimate their abilities., all their lives they have been told how great they are against jr. high and high school kids i believe that the more information that they get the better. These kids all  think that they are the next kobe or lebron but in reality they are often the next Marcus libert. If ou don't know who that is then i've made my point. but Marcus liberty was touted as lebron before lebron he  was all everything and just couldn't cut it in the nba or college for that matter. Then there is the LLoyd daniels debacle. He was involved in a scandal that almost ruined UNLV and fizzled in the nba. One year in college does not kill these kids and gives them a chance to measure their talent against better competition and decide if they need more seasoning or maybe just a college degree instead. A colllege degree isn't the end of the world either. These kids are often from underprivileged urban communities and a degree is another way out instead of the lottery ticket that is the nba. The idea that 1 year of college is bad and not necessary distorts the idea that 1 year of college is not necessarily bad.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2009 11:54 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

You're listing a bunch of reasons why it might not be good for the NBA to have 18-year-old players in the league, and I agree with some of them. But I'm looking at this from the perspective of the prospects, and the prospects ought to have the right to try to make it if they think they're ready. If an NBA team doesn't want to pick a high school player because it doesn't want to wait three or five years for that player to mature, that team can simply pass on high school prospects; nobody tells them who to pick. But I'll bet you Chris Bosh's salary that the NBA teams wouldn't pass on them and would be more than willing to wait on the development.

Again, ask any GM if he'd be willing to wait three years for an All-Star and they'll all say yes.

And it's not like a ton of rookies -- regardless of their age -- come in ready to play in the NBA, anyway/. Almost everybody has to develop as a pro, so why shouldn't the players be able to start that development at 18 instead of 19? One year of college doesn't make that much difference for most these guys. If you think it does, you're being naive.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2009 10:19 pm

NBA Playoffs dominated by non-college players

The main point of your argument Mr. Parrish is missing.  The reason why it's a bad idea to allow the constant high schoolers in the NBA is that there have been oh all of 3 of them who were ready, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, those are the 3 that were ready immediately upon entering the league.

THere have been some who after 3-5 years of painstaking learning on the game, costing their franchises and ultimately their fans years of waiting for the development to become good, meanwhile the NBA game as a whole was more watered down there than ever.

Think it's a coincidence that the early 2000's featured probably the lowest ratings in NBA history?  It also was the time that the most prep players were in the league.

As other posters commented, you can't talk much of the European players since they are playing professionally for their countries in some cases as young as 16....and while those countries teams aren't in the same caliber as the NBA, the Olympics have proven they aren't necessarilly all that far off and they're at least upper tier collegiate levels....not a bad learning curve.

NBA Fans are tired of watching high schoolers and college freshmen ruin the competitive spirit of the NBA....there's a reason that fans are coming back into the league, the high schoolers are finally maturing, and folks are seeing the game of bball at its most competitive timeframe because of it.

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