Forget the One and Done; College Vets are the Real Deal
The one-and-done phenomenon may not be going away any time soon. The most talented kids only need to suffer through a year of playing college basketball before hitting the big leagues and landing the NBA money. NBA teams seem keen to keep up with the trend with the top draft picks almost always being one-and-done products. You'd have to go back to 2009 for the last time the number one pick in the draft had more than a year of college under his belt when the Los Angeles Clippers picked sophomore big Blake Griffin.
Why College Vets are Gold
Every time an organization drafts a player, it is essentially taking a chance and there is always a possibility that the individual might not live up to expectations. However, it might be less risky to pick a player who spent three or four years in college as opposed to a one-and-done.
Not only is a college vet more developed physically but also mentally which is critical for one to succeed in the NBA. A good example of this is Draymond Green, whose play developed and he was able to improve on almost every statistical category possible and that has translated to the NBA where he has become a vital piece of the Warriors’ success ever since the team drafted him. The story is almost similar for his teammate Steph Curry who could not get a single scholarship in spite of being the son of a former NBA player.
Staying on in college is also beneficial for players. Caris LeVert did not have the most remarkable freshman season and was not even a starter. However, his game grew in his sophomore and junior seasons and so did his draft stock.
The success carried on to the NBA where he had become the most important player for the Brooklyn Nets before his season was cut short by injury. Another notable mention is Portland’s all-star Damian Lillard who is fresh from being named in the All-NBA first team for 2017-18. His is a remarkable story of a kid who was barely recruited coming off of high school and who had to play for a virtually- unknown college for four years.
While there can be no doubting the fact that top one-and-done prospects who are heavily recruited from high school have a high chance of succeeding in the NBA; it is also worth recognizing that such picks come with a lot of question marks. Picking players with substantial college experience might be a safer bet for many teams.
It gets better with the fact that most of the college vets are rarely picked at the top so teams can easily find value when picking lower in the first round or in the second round. Maybe the stories of guys like Damian Lilard, Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Caris LeVert may convince NBA general managers to have a change of perspective when planning their June recruitment.