For this article, there will be a debate between Brian Rzeppa, a fellow Tru School Sports writer, and Harvin Bhathal, myself, where we will both state our opinions on this matter and back it up with whatever we have to say. Enjoy.
Comment below on your opinion for this matter at hand.
High School Basketball players are like a chicken wing with no seasoning and if they go to the NBA right after they graduate High School, they're just a plain chicken wing with some ranch (or whatever sauce you choose to eat your wings with). Through college/university, they get seasoned and if they then go to the NBA, they get the whole shebang: a seasoned chicken wing with ranch. Sometimes, a plain chicken wing with just sauce can be good, such as in the cases of Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant but in most cases, they are not.
Those two are just some of the exceptions. Sometimes, plain and simple can be as tasty as a seasoned wing but even in their cases, they weren't as good as they could've been initially. Kevin Garnett only averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds and a little over a block and steal a game. Kobe Bryant only averaged 7 points and 15 points per game during his first 2 seasons in the NBA. If they had gone to college, the start of their careers would've most likely been better and that would've perhaps made them even more successful than they are today. Players like Josh Smith, Monta Ellis and J.R. Smith are classic examples of players who definitely should've played college ball. They are players that I love to watch today but I know for a fact, college ball would've helped J-Smoove, Mississippi Missile and J-Swish.
If Josh Smith had played even one season in college, he could've honed his jumper possibly and I.Q. at that. We all know that he wasn't necessarily the smartest NBA player when he came into the league. Smith could've been a lottery pick too, if he had not went prep-to-pro.
As far as Monta Ellis goes, a year or two in college would've helped him so much. He would've gained some muscle on his lanky figure and possibly learned how to play better defence and would've made more money too, increasing his draft stock. Remember he was drafted 47th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft? Well, I bet Ellis would've been a first-rounder, had he gone to college.
J.R. Smith is the same player he was when he was drafted in 2004. An immature thug who takes ill-advised shots and has had his run-ins with the law, whether for assault or marijuana. Imagine what even one year of college ball would've done to him. Scary right, because he could've become one of the leagues stars. Perhaps he was smoking marijuana when he made the decision to not go to North Carolina, in which I think Roy Williams would've helped him a lot, and jump straight to the NBA. Like Josh Smith, J.R. Smith would've been a lottery pick as well. Raw chicken with horse radish is what I call Kwame Brown and Jonathan Bender. Bender is the lesser known of the two so I'll start with him.
He was drafted 5th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Raptors , who then traded him (for once they made a smart decision) to the Pacers for Antonio Davis. Jonathan Bender's athleticism fooled the Pacers and they got a player who averaged 7.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in his best season and those stats parlayed him to get a 4-year, $28.5 million contract. The 5 seasons in his career after that ridiculous contract were all injury ridden and never matched his output from his "potential-oozing" 2001-02 season. College ball would extremely helped Jonathan Bender but we'll never know what he could've been. Every basketball fan knows who Kwame Brown is. Michael Jordan's 1st pick as a GM of the Wizards, he was drafted 1st overall in 2001 and never lived up to his potential because he was not ready for the rigours of the NBA and that's what caused him to flop and fail.
He has improved over these past couple seasons, accepting a bench role and becoming a solid role player, but he will always be considered a bust. To sum this all up, college/university helps a player become more physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for the NBA. Also, college can make you smarter and a smarter basketball player will only pay dividends to whatever team the player is on. I would prefer 2 seasons of college ball before a player goes to the NBA, (I mean, if I were in that situation, I would stay for 2 seasons) but I'm fine with the one-and-done rule. It's better than letting High School Basketball players go from prep-to-pro. High School Basketball player should not be allowed to go straight to the NBA and I approve of the rule that is currently standing.
While there are a few infamous flameouts from high school stars entering the NBA, such as Kwame Brown and Jonathan Bender like Harvin mentioned, the list could go on and on for players that failed when coming out of college. Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas, and Spencer Hawes are just a few of the names that didn't exactly go as expected in the pro game, and it showed that college players are capable of failing as well.
If you watch college basketball, you would see that the top prospects are probably being hindered and confined by the offenses that most major colleges run. Coaches tend to try to slow the pace and limit the amount of possessions, which is why you see teams like Florida Gulf Coast University shock the NCAA and win some games in the tournament; because they let their athletes be athletes. Playing in the slowed down, half-court sets can really hinder a player's development, and hurt their draft stock in the process.
Obviously, when a player's draft stock drops, so does his contract. Along with him potentially losing money just by not being in the right type of system, he's losing money by being there at all. When you're coming from an economic situation that many players are, you really can't afford to wait a year to start earning the money that the NBA has to offer. On top of their contract, they can begin to build their brand right when the enter the league. In fact, LeBron James signed a $90 million deal with Nike one month before he was even drafted. How is it fair to take that earning ability away from someone?
Continuing on, there is the chance that a player could be injured during his time in college, which could hinder his draft stock enough that he wouldn't be able to be drafted at all. Look at this year with Nerlens Noel. He had the luck of being in an incredibly weak draft class, but if it were a normal year, he could have tumbled just because of a torn ACL. This injury may also affect his year this year, as it's being reported that it possibly could cost him all of this season, too. I'm sure that his development will be affected incredibly from this injury in college.
In Harvin's argument, he mentioned that going to college gets players better prepared for the NBA, but realistically, what better experience could they get than sitting for much of their rookie year, like Kobe Bryant did. In that scenario, they would be able to learn the NBA style first hand, and also get acclimated to the lifestyle around the team's veterans.
In the end, I think this is a no-brainer. Players should have the option to go to the NBA if they choose to right out of high school, there's no reason to force someone to be somewhere they don't want to be, as it'd only be a detriment to themselves and their school. The risk of injury and possible loss of money just isn't fair to force someone into, and really, the only people that benefit out of this current rule is the NCAA. The greed of that organization has long been talked about, and this is just another instance of it. It's time to get rid of this rule.
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