Tuck: One And Done’s Dominating The NBA

2005 was the last year the NBA allowed high school players to skip college and go directly to the league.  That ushered in a new era not-so-fondly known as the one-n-done era.  This group is largely comprised of players that would have skipped college and gone to the NBA, but weren’t allowed to do so anymore.  It also includes kids that find out after a year the time to jump is after their freshmen season.

We had Yannis Koutroupis from basketballinsiders.com who did some research on the one-and-done era.  Listening to him talk about the overall success of the group inspired me to dig a little further.  It wasn’t enough to see the numbers favor the decision of college freshmen to leave, I wanted to see how they compared to their elders.

The question is: How do the freshmen compare to other classes drafted into the NBA?

Since 2005 more freshmen have made the all-star team than any other group.  More one-n-done’s have made an all-star team than the upperclassmen combined.

Freshmen- 8

Sophomores- 6

Juniors- 4

Seniors- 3

I think this dispels the theory that scouts and GM’s need more time to figure out who will be good and who won’t.  2/3 of the new all-stars were underclassmen.

Looking at the total number of all-star appearances, the sophomores take a small lead.

Sophomores- 18

Freshmen- 17

Juniors- 6

Seniors- 6

This again though reinforces the idea that identifying talent early is not nearly as complicated as some people claim.  When you see the names, you’ll only expect that gap to grow larger in the future.

Who are the all-stars?  Glad you asked.  Here they are and the number of times they made it.


Kevin Durant (5), Kevin Love (3), Derrick Rose (3) Kyrie Irving (2), Anthony Davis (1), Jrue Holiday (1), John Wall (1), DeMar DeRozan (1)

Derrick Rose


Blake Griffin (4), Rajon Rondo (4), LaMarcus Aldridge (4), Russell Westbrook (4), James Harden (2), Paul George (2)


Joakim Noah (2), Al Horford (2), Damien Lillard (1), Stephen Curry (1)


Brandon Roy (3), Roy Hibbert (2), Paul Milsap (1)

To reiterate how much easier it is to see talent that what is perceived consider of all the underclassmen to come in, all but Rondo were taken in the lottery.

In fact, of all 21 all-stars chosen since 2005, only Rondo and Milsap were not lottery picks.

There is no question about it, youth is served.  Even if you go previous to 2005 you’re talking about high school kids like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard or the one-n-done’s before it was a thing like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Zach Randolph, or Luol Deng.

Also consider all the one-n-done’s that could be all-stars any year now like Mike Conley, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Lance Stephenson, or Bradley Beal.  I won’t even speculate on this past year’s draft class yet, but history tells us that eventually some of them will pan out.  And I’d expect the same to be said in the upcoming draft where ESPN’s Chad Ford’s Big Board features 7 one-n-done’s, 2 sophomores, and 18-year old Dante Exum (Australia) in his top ten.

I believe saying the one-n-done is bad for the NBA is a seriously misleading.  Forcing kids to stay an extra year will just make it so that sophomores (or two-n-done’s) dominate the lottery and future all-star games.