One-and-done is recent trend of NBA draft

Credit: Jamie Squire

Credit: Jamie Squire

The one-and-done trend will continue.

Six of the past seven No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft played one season of college basketball. This year, the Cavaliers will surely pick first from a group of talented freshman that includes Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon. That is just at the top of the draft.

In advance of Thursday’s draft, let’s test your knowledge on the current trend of the NBA with a category of “Jeopardy.”

Let’s start with The NBA draft for 100, Alex.

Answer: Blake Griffin.

Question: Who was the only non-freshman to be selected first overall since 2007 after playing just two seasons at Oklahoma?

Now, The NBA Draft for 200.

Answer: Kenyon Martin.

Question: Who was the last college senior to be taken No. 1 overall with his selection in 2000.

We’ll stay with the category for 300.

Answer: 4.

Question: Between 2000 and the revision to the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2005 that said all early entry candidates must be at least 19 years old and one year removed from his high school graduation, how many No. 1 picks did not go to college? (Kwame Brown, LeBron James and Dwight Howard made the direct leap from high school and Yao Ming came from China).

Let’s try The NBA Draft for 400.

Answer: 5.

Question: How many of the past seven No. 1 overall picks, all early entrants, have been All-Stars? (Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Griffin and Derrick Rose have all been honored with only year's top pick Anthony Bennett and the injury-plagued Greg Oden left out.)

Finish the category, The NBA Draft for 500.

Answer: 44.

Question: How many of 45 initial early-entry collegiate candidates chose to remain in this year's draft?

“Clearly, the teams would like to have more data when making decisions, but the rules are what they are, and you have to make those decisions,” Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said. “They are hard, but you can still make the decisions if you do the work.”

Ferry said teams must have an emphasis on scouting and a knowledge of the college landscape to make informed decisions.

With the trend of players jumping from high school to the NBA, the league sought a remedy in 2005. Then-commissioner David Stern called for a minimum age requirement of 20 years old, but the league and players union eventually bargained the 19-year-old and a year removed from high school provision in the CBA. The provision remained in the 2011 CBA following a league lockout.

Clippers coach and former Hawks great Doc Rivers left Marquette after his junior season in 1983. Twenty-nine years later his son Austin entered the draft after one season at Duke in 2012.

“I should have stayed,” Doc Rivers said earlier this year before the Clippers hosted the Hawks. “What a horrible decision I made. Really. I was the 31st player (taken). I don’t think you should come out unless you a first-round pick. I got lucky. I went to the Hawks in a trade for Kevin Loughery (who was the Hawks’ coach at the time). Tells you how bad I was.

“But, I just have a philosophical view about it that guys should have a right to make a living whenever he was to have a right. I could go and fight in Iraq at 18 (years old) and I can’t play in the NBA? That is silly to me, especially when you hear they are not mature enough to play in the NBA. But you are mature enough to fight a war? That doesn’t make any sense.

“Let’s just be honest. Colleges want them to stay in colleges. They help the colleges. That is what it is at the end of the day. Are they better staying in college? Most of them are. There is no doubt about that. I think most should (stay in college), but they should still have the right to (leave early).”

Rivers said the main issue with college players leaving early is their maturity, not their basketball skills. He said that college players will get better competing against NBA players day in and day out. By staying in college, players mature as people.

“You grow up in college,” Rivers said. “That is why college, to me, is so nice. You have a chance to mature. Live with no money. Live in the dorms. I think the college experience is something that is vital for us to grow up with. So I think that is what kids miss.”

The Hawks have taken a chance on young players in the recent past. Most notably, they took Josh Smith out of high school in 2004 and Marvin Williams after one season at North Carolina with the No. 2 overall pick in 2005. Last year, the Hawks took two young international prospects with first-round selections, 20-year-old Lucas Nogueira and 19-year-old Dennis Schroder.

The Hawks hold the 15th selection in Thursday’s draft. The most highly regarded freshman likely will be long gone before they pick. However, the Hawks’ draft board will include many other players with limited or no college experience. It’s the reality of the NBA.

“The fact that we’ve seen them in college for a year is a positive,” Ferry said.