by Jacob Rogers
“With the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Markelle Fultz from the University of Washington,” the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.
Fultz, 19, was only the first of the one-and-done college basketball players selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. A one-and-done player is a player who only spent one year in college before making the jump to the pros.
In the 2017 draft, nearly 33 percent of the players selected were one-and-done players, which means of the 60 picks in the draft, nearly 20 were players who only had one year of experience in college. Sixteen of those players were drafted in the first round, according to Bleacher Report.
With almost a third of draftees leaving school after their freshman year for the draft, it leaves one to wonder why they would do this?
In 2005, former NBA commissioner David Stern and representatives of the National Basketball Players Association met to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement. One topic of discussion was changing the eligibility rule for the NBA Draft. From 1975-2005, the NBA allowed high school players to forgo college and become eligible for the NBA Draft. During those 40 years, 41 players were drafted out of high school.
In the meeting for the CBA, Stern and the players decided to change the NBA Draft eligibility rule. Formerly, players had to be at least 18 years of age to enter the draft out of high school. The rule was changed to where all drafted players had to be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and at least a year removed from high school, unless deemed an international player where the rule is the player just has to be 19 years of age.
Because of this rule change, the one-and-done era began and changed the complexion of the NBA.
In past years, the NBA draft was filled with players who had spent three-to-four years at their respective universities. But in the 2017 NBA Draft, 16 one-and-done players were taken in the first round, compared to only two who played all four years of college, according to Rob Goldberg of Bleacher Report.
With the one-and-done players taking over the league, many have questioned Silver regarding changing the NBA Draft eligibility rule back to how it was when players could enter the draft out of high school. Critics see players being “one and done” as a way of breaking the system.
In an interview on The Heard with Colin Cowherd, Silver said, “I don't think it's fair to characterize them as going to one year of school...whenever they lose or win in the NCAA tournament, that becomes their last day.”
Many are hoping for a change in the one-and-done rule. Jake Chapman, host of Wired: The Pistons Podcast and and anchor for 97.1 The Ticket, believes a change to the rule will come.
“There absolutely will be a change to the rule soon,” Chapman said. “The development of the G-League [the NBA’s developmental league] and Adam Silver’s uneasiness with the one-and-done rule will open the door for the elimination of the rule all together. Right now the one and done system isn’t all that bad for the NBA, but it’s still not enough. They’re [the NBA] still getting kids who have no idea how to play basketball.”
This isn’t the only potential rule change Chapman sees happening.
“They could also put in place a rule that states that a player must play zero or at least three years of college basketball,” Chapman added. “This way only the best would come out, and the rest would have to stay in college for at least three years.”
Chapman also believes the NBA should look into eliminating the rule and expand the G-League to 30 one-to-one affiliations, meaning each team has its own developmental team, comparable to Major League Baseball’s system. By doing this, college basketball is only part of the equation and not a requirement.
Not only has the one-and-done rule affected the NBA, but it has affected the NCAA as well.
In a 2017 article written by Pete Gillin, a CBS Sports college basketball analyst, said of the 10 combined starting players for the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, seven of them were one and done. He states that not only does that affect the NBA, but it affects college basketball as well.
“It’s certainly hurt the college game because you had some great players you’re looking forward to watching for a couple of years, and they’re gone. Then you got new guys you got to try to train and work in,” Gillin said.
Gillin said the biggest reason players are leaving college for the NBA is because of money.
“It’s all about money,” Gillen said, “and the NBA Players Association, they control it. They [could] say, ‘Hey, players got to stay for a couple years, two or three years, just like in baseball… I’d love to see that happen. I don’t know if it will. I don’t think (it will) for a while. But it hurts both [NBA and college]. I’d love to see players have to stay for three years.
A huge amount of change is still happening in the NBA with the one-and-done rule; Adam Silver has a lot of work to do if we are going to see this needed change anytime soon.