What is the NBA’s One and Done Rule?

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The NBA’s One and Done rule is a hot topic in professional basketball. This rule has a great effect on basketball. It blends league policy, players’ rights, and the college basketball tradition.

What is the One and Done rule? Why was it introduced? How has it influenced the NBA we know today? This article digs into these questions, deeply diving into this impactful NBA rule.

What is the NBA's One and Done RuleWhat is the NBA’s One and Done Rule?

The NBA One and Done rule is one of the draft eligibility rules. It’s in place to guide player entry into the professional league. Specifically, it sets two clear requirements. First, players must wait a year after high school graduation before they can go pro. And secondly, they have to be at least 19 within the draft year.

Think of guys like Anthony Davis, who honed his skills at Kentucky, or Lonzo Ball, who played at UCLA. Both were “one and done,” as they spent just a year in college before declaring for the NBA draft.

But here’s the twist: international players don’t have to wait. They can declare for the draft at 18. So, while American players are polishing their game in college, their international counterparts might already start their NBA careers.

Now, the one-and-done basketball rule has greatly impacted NCAA basketball. Colleges like Duke, which produced stars like Kyrie Irving, or Kentucky, home to John Wall, are always searching for the next big talent. With top players often leaving after a year, college coaches are constantly rebuilding, giving rise to heated discussions about the commercialization of young athletes.

The One and Done rule also emphasizes the importance of that one year between high school and the NBA, making college selection a strategic choice. Players and their teams often pick colleges known for churning out NBA-ready talent, leading to fierce school competition.

The One and Done rule has a ripple effect on basketball, from high school recruitment to the global stage. It’s not just a rule – it’s a game changer that shapes the future of basketball talent in the U.S. and the world.

Why Did NBA Create the One and Done RuleWhy Did NBA Create the One and Done Rule?

The NBA introduced this eligibility rule back in 2005. But why did the NBA make the one-and-done rule? The league had clear reasons. 

Firstly, it was designed to shield young players from the rough-and-tumble world of the NBA. Imagine a high school hotshot like LeBron James jumping straight into the pros. Sure, they’ve got talent, but the NBA is a different beast. It’s a high-pressure world where every move is scrutinized. The physical demands are immense, and the emotional toll can be overwhelming. This NBA eligibility rule provides a buffer year for these young talents to grow and mature in a less grueling environment.

Secondly, the rule reduces the risk for NBA teams. Drafting players straight out of high school is a gamble. While some players like Kobe Bryant soared, others struggled under the expectations. The rule allows teams to assess players in a competitive college setting before investing big bucks.

Interestingly, the rule has sparked an unexpected benefit: the rise of college basketball. Stars like Kevin Durant at Texas or Zion Williamson at Duke lit up college courts for a year, creating a compelling vision.

So, while the “One and Done” rule has its critics, it was crafted with player development, league risk mitigation, and the game’s overall structure in mind. And it continues to impact basketball talent progression in the U.S. today.

10 Top NBA Players Who Were One and Done in College10 Top NBA Players Who Were One and Done in College

Let’s look at some of the biggest names in the NBA who spent just a year, hence “One and Done,” in college before turning pro.

1. Kevin Durant: From being a Texas Longhorn, Durant rapidly ascended to stardom with the Seattle Supersonics. Now, he’s recognized as one of the NBA’s most intimidating scorers. He boasts of multiple NBA championships and MVP awards in his career.

2. Anthony Davis: After his spell at Kentucky, Davis showcased his dominance with the New Orleans Pelicans in the paint. Renowned for his defensive skills, Davis has been a regular All-Star and clinched a championship with the Lakers.

3. Kyrie Irving: Despite suffering a foot injury at Duke, Irving was still the top pick for the Cavaliers in 2011. He bagged the Rookie of the Year award and was a key player in the Cavs’ maiden NBA championship victory.

4. Chris Bosh: Bosh was picked 4th in the 2003 draft after his time at Georgia Tech. He was a part of the famed “Big Three” in Miami, securing two championships with the Heat.

5. Derrick Rose: As a Memphis Tiger, Rose was chosen as the Bulls’ first overall pick and became the youngest MVP in NBA history at 21, showcasing his extraordinary talent.

6. DeMarcus Cousins: Cousins left a strong impression at Kentucky before bagging multiple All-Star recognitions in the NBA, owing to his comprehensive skills as a big man.

7. Carmelo Anthony: Anthony was instrumental in securing a National Championship for Syracuse before his fruitful NBA career with the Nuggets and Knicks. He is a consistent scorer and has numerous All-Star appearances to his name.

8. Joel Embiid: Despite an injury at Kansas, Embiid emerged as a dominant center for the 76ers, earning MVP, All-Star, and All-NBA accolades.

9. Kevin Love: Love shined at UCLA before becoming a crucial player for the Timberwolves and Cavaliers, where he clinched a championship alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

10. Zion Williamson: Famous for his breathtaking dunks at Duke, Williamson exploded into the NBA scene, fulfilling the hype as the top pick for the Pelicans.

These athletes, each a shining example of the “One and Done” rule, prove that a year in college can be a stepping stone to NBA stardom.

Will NBA Abolish One Done Rule in the FutureWill NBA Abolish One Done Rule in the Future?

The future of the NBA’s One-and-Done rule is a hot topic. It is uncertain if there will be an NBA draft eligibility rule change.

Critics of the rule believe it’s a barrier. They say talents like LeBron James and LaMelo Ball, who showcased their potential straight out of high school, should have been allowed to enter the NBA draft immediately. According to them, that should be why the one-and-done rule should be abolished.

Yet, some back the rule. They see it as a safeguard that helps players hone their skills before they dive into the NBA. From their perspective, this buffer period is essential for player development and risk mitigation. They believe players like James Wiseman and Darius Bazley could have benefited from this transition period​.

The NBA itself has hinted at changes. It has already introduced the G League Ignite team, a platform for high school graduates to train and compete professionally. The age limit might also be reduced in future collective bargaining agreements, but this would require an agreement between the NBA and the players’ association.

The One-and-Done rule remains a cornerstone of the NBA’s draft eligibility regulations, but there are signs of a possible shift. The NBA and NBPA are expected to discuss changes to the rule after the current collective bargaining agreement, which might come as soon as the 2024 draft.

That said, no concrete decision has been reached yet, and the future of this rule is up in the air. As we look forward, the landscape of American basketball might change, but until an agreement is reached, the One-and-Done rule stands.

Wrapping Things Up: What is the NBA’s One and Done Rule?

The NBA one-and-done rule, while controversial, has influenced the course of professional basketball. It has been instrumental in physically and emotionally developing players before they take on the professional sphere. 

Whether the NBA will adjust this rule remains to be seen, but one thing is certain — the one-and-done rule continues to be a major talking point in basketball discourse. However, this rule might be ripe for reconsideration as the basketball world evolves. The next time somebody asks you why was the one-and-done rule created, you can tell them why.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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