Seemingly now more than ever, the NBA’s rule requiring a player to be at least one removed from high school graduation before being deemed eligible for the draft is under scrutiny.
Most commonly known as the one-and-done rule, the trend has reached heights that were almost assuredly unexpected when the rule was implemented for the 2006 draft class. Rather than simply serving as another option for the best of the best, the vast majority of elite high school prospects arrive on campus with sights set on the NBA the following summer. When one does elect to return for a second season among the college ranks, the news typically comes as a surprise.
That’s something that NBA superstar, and ironically, former one-and-done Texas Longhorns star Kevin Durant isn’t a fan of.
“Nowadays, these coaches are just like daycare owners,” Durant told Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams. “They’re like, We’re just going to get these guys for a year and we’re not going to really coach them, because I know they’re going to be out the next year. That’s not how basketball’s supposed to played. That’s not how you’re supposed to be coached. You can’t teach the game like that.”
Of course, there’s controversy to each side of the argument, but the most commonly noted is the money involved. While among the NCAA ranks, or even while signed to a college basketball program, players are unable to reap the financial rewards of their on-court contributions, despite college athletics being a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
Meanwhile, a potential one-and-done will make at least $2 million during his first season in the NBA if he’s selected in the lottery as one of the top 14 picks. That figure climbs as high as $5,855,200 if said prospect becomes the No. 1 overall pick, with an increase to as high as $8,121,000 by the third year of their rookie deal, per RealGM.
With such a lucrative future within reach just one year removed from high school, and of course, the opportunity to play in the NBA, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that players departing after just one season has become as common as it is today. It’s an early exit from a system that, by many accounts, is broken.
For Durant, it’s one that worked perfectly.
“There’s always pros and cons to everything,” Durant later added. “The pros, the money and the exposure and playing at the highest level, but it would’ve took me a couple extra years to figure out that stuff. So I’m glad I sacrificed that, being able to have that choice. For me, it worked out perfect for me.”