Over the years, the ‘one and done’ rule has become more and more used in the NBA. Karl Anthony-Towns, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid have all been one and done players, which is when you only play one year in college before entering the NBA.

Recently, the subject of the one and done rule has been under controversy. We’ve all heard the murmurings: “Back in my day, players played four years and then entered the draft.” As of right now, the minimum age for entering the NBA Draft is 19. Commissioner Adam Silver stated that he thinks the minimum age should be raised to 20. However, the NBA Players Union thinks that it should be lowered even further, to age 18.

Spending three or four years at a school develops your maturity and makes you more fit for the NBA. Everybody knows that the college basketball stage and the pro basketball stage are vastly different. Going straight to the NBA after one year of college can be a huge transition. The NBA is much more rugged and physical. This means if a player’s body is not strong or developed enough, they can have multiple injuries, on the practice floor or otherwise. Spending two or three or four years at a college brings more time for your body to develop and be prepared for the rough conditions of the league.

On the other hand, think of a player such as Harry Giles. Giles is a tough player, but has had a fair amount of injuries, causing him to miss a large portion of his lone college season. His draft stock right now is somewhere in the middle of the first round. Imagine Silver’s rule to push the minimum draft age to 20 was accepted. Harry Giles is 19, and would have to return for one more season at Duke University. While he is a very good player with huge amounts of ability, that extra season could take a real toll on his legs, and make him lose some of his explosiveness.

In that time, his previously damaged legs could get injured again, severely hurting his draft stock. That would move him from somewhere around the 15th pick to the 45th or 50th pick. And think of the pay difference between the 18th pick (Giles’ current projection) and a late second-round pick. That would hurt Giles’ career.

Lowering the minimum draft age to 18 would allow players to come straight out of high school, something that hasn’t happened since LeBron James in 2003. While there have been many great players that came straight from high school (Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant) There have been more players whose careers just haven’t worked out.

In fact, of the 44 players who have ever been drafted out of high school, only 10 of them have ever been selected for an All-Star game. It also takes longer for high school players to get accustomed to the NBA, as there have only ever been two Rookie of the Year’s who came straight from high school; Amar’e Stoudemire in 2003 and LeBron in 2004.

Plus, think about what would happen to college basketball if the minimum age were lowered to 18. All the best college basketball would skip playing on the college level. Obviously, the number one priority for young basketball stars is to get into the NBA as quickly as possible. They will want to take the easiest and fastest route to the league, undoubtedly. Imagine if, this past year, all the best college basketball players skipped collegiate level play and went straight to the NBA. Think Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, and all of the players who made the 2016-2017 college basketball season so much fun. Imagine if all of those players skipped the college level and went straight to the NBA.

College basketball would be no fun to watch! It would be boring, and ratings for NCAA Basketball would plummet. As the battle over the one and done rule rages between Adam Silver and The Player’s Union, we will have to wait and see what happens to the minimum age in the NBA. Will it be 20-years-old? Or will it be 18? Only time will tell.

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Love the NBA. Follow me on twitter @tscoerr

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