I bought into the hype like everyone else. I saw the dominant skills of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Ennis, Joel Embiid and the five freshman starters at Kentucky. They all have physical gifts that no one can possibly teach. After watching these guys play extensively over the last five months I have seen the potential of each of them. And let me say, the potential is immense.
With that in mind, I have to say that all of them would be better served in the long run if they stay in school for at least another year. More time to mature would help every single one of them. None of them is the kind of player they can be yet. They need to have more time to progress.
If they were, then their individuals teams would have had much more success. After all, one remarkable player can carry a team along way in basketball.
For those that have the argument that guys like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James had great success coming right out of high school maybe you have to look back at each players rookie season. Bryant only started six games as a rookie and only averaged 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from the field. It took a few years for Bryant to establish himself as a star. Garnett only started half the season and averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. Thats a far cry from what he was able to do a few years later. LeBron James is a different story. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Even though He was very impressive as a rookie, James still took some time to adjust to the NBA game. His points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage are career-lows.
As for one-and-done stars like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis; they had mixed results early on.
Anthony was a big time player from the get-go. He averaged 21 points and 6.1 rebounds for a play-off team. We have to remember that Anthony also Owned college basketball and led Syracuse to a National Title. Bosh wasn’t as successful. He Averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as a rookie in Toronto. Like James and Anthony, Durant put up numbers as a rookie. He averaged 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 43 percent shooting (All career-lows) for a Seattle team that went 20-62. Love took a few years to get rolling in Minnesota. He put up 11.1 points and 9.1 rebounds as a rookie and was considered to be a bust by some after his second season. After leading Memphis to the Nation Title game, Rose came to Chicago and promptly won Rookie of the Year honors. He averaged 16.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists that year. Davis was the best player on a National Champion and then registered 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
These are the players who figured it out and managed to carve out great NBA careers, even though few of them were totally ready to play at an NBA level after Entering the league. What most of us forget is all the guys that didn’t reach their enormous potential. And you don’t have to look very far. Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad and Archie Goodwin are all in the group from last years draft. A year earlier we had players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Austin Rivers, Tony Wroten and Marquis Teague. The 2011 draft gave us names like Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight and Cory Joseph. 2010 is full of guys who would’ve been better off staying in college another season or two. Derrick Favors, Xavier Henry, Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley and Daniel Orton.
The list goes on and on with players like that who could’ve used more time in college to develop as a player. Some have managed to make it themselves into good pros while others are still trying to find their way and make a career of it.
I’m not saying that this years freshman class of stars will fail in the NBA (and I truly hope they don’t), but I feel like they would be much better off if they have another year or two to develop. Don’t go out on a second or third round loss in the NCAA tournament where you score four points. Don’t go out after not making the post season at all. Come back and truly dominate the college level before moving on. It would help out the game as a whole! College basketball and the NBA would be much better for it. Early entrants into the NBA draft have hurt the NBA, college basketball and in plenty of situations they have hurt themselves.
P.S. the other thing it would do is provide less reason for NBA teams to throw in the towel for a season for the chance to draft one of you. How funny would it be if Philadelphia had to wait another year after trading away almost all of their talent for that opportunity.