Early #NBA Draft Entry? Frosh, Sophs and Upperclassmen Oh My!

The age-old NBA draft question: Does it pay off to draft one-and-done college freshmen? Or wait another year or two (or even three) to draft more polished, experienced college players?

Let’s take a look (stats provided by ESPN.com):

  • One-and-done: John Wall vs. Austin Rivers

john wall losing face

John Wall was a highly-touted freshman at Kentucky and was picked no.1 overall by the Washington Wizards, of Kwame Brown fame. He was just signed to a max contract deal worth $80 million by the Wizards, but has never made the playoffs in his three-year pro career. Here are his stats:

Career (per game)
17.2 points 8.2 assists 4.4 rebounds

rivers sad face

Austin Rivers has also underachieved as a one-and-done out of Duke, and the more talented son of the famous (and I think overrated coach) Doc Rivers. With the New Orleans Pelicans, he got replaced by Grevis Vasquez (a Maryland Terp) and Jrue Holliday and is riding the pine. He was their 10th overall pick! His stats? Unimpressive.

Career (per game)
5.6 points 1.9 assists 1.6 rebounds
  • Sophomore Sprinter: Chris Wilcox vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

Kevin Garnett, Chris Wilcox

Chris Wilcox (pictured at the right) was a sophomore from the Maryland Terrapins championship-winning team in 2002 and went to the pros right after, when his stock was at an all-time high. He was picked 8th overall by the LA Clippers. Here’s how is long eleven-year career turned out:

Career (per game)
8.2 points 4.9 rebounds 0.4 blocks

lamarcus aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge left after his junior season from Texas and has been in Portland ever since, drafted 2nd overall in the first round. He’s having a ridiculous start to this seasons, but here are his stats:

Career (per game)
18.5 points 7.9 rebounds 1.0 blocks
  • Junior Jumper: Steph Curry vs. Ty Lawson

golden state tshirt

Steph Curry went to the small private North Carolina college Davidson, which was a darling of the media for being a Cinderella team in March Madness while he was there. An outstanding shooter has translated his craft to the pros, becoming the star of the Golden State Warriors and their resurgence under coach and former NBA guard Mark Jackson. Impressive!

Career (per game)
19.5 points 6.3 assists 4.1 rebounds

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Six

Ty Lawson went to North Carolina and won a championship with the likes of Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansborough. A quick, speedy guard, Lawson has not become the impact player that Denver hoped he would be.

Career (per game)
13.6 points 5.5 assists 2.8 rebounds
  • Senioritis: Kemba Walker vs. Jeremy Lin

kemba walker

Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin, where Walker was a hero at UConn and hit game-winners like it was nothing and Jeremy Lin became popular and sensationalized when he helped the New York Knicks win a bunch of games last season. Walker is an undersized point guard at best, but his production is okay:

Career (per game)
15.5 points 5.1 assists 3.6 rebounds

jeremy lin rockets

Lin has been doing very well on the Houston Rockets lately, but has some good career stats in his young, three-year pro career. He would know because he went to Harvard, right?

Career (per game)
11.8 points 5.1 assists 2.6 rebounds

I like players staying for at least 3 years so they can get an education and possibly graduate early, because you never know if you’re going to last in the pros for very long. But, if you’re going to get paid, you might as well go. I’m just sick and tired of constant rebuilding teams in the college ranks.

Most players are better suited today to jump to the pros, except for Austin Rivers. My verdict? GO if you’re good enough and STAY if you’re not a guaranteed top-15 pick (unless you’re a good player at a small school and this is a good pay day).

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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

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