Nerlens Noel's Injury Is Just The Latest Reminder Of How Stupid The One-And-Done Rule Is

I'd like to draw your attention to this passage from ESPN draft insider Chad Ford's analysis of how University of Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel's torn ACL might affect his draft stock (emphasis mine):

"Our scouting staff has seen enough of him to know what type of player he projects to be," one NBA GM said. "He's really raw, but he has so many athletic abilities and plays so hard. He was injured on an incredible hustle play. It's the thing I love about the kid the most. If he checks out with our doctors, I wouldn't hesitate to draft him high. He's going to heal. You're going to have to be patient with him anyway. He moves from being a risky No. 1 pick, to a potential value pick, like Andre Drummond, a little bit later in the lottery."


To recap: Nerlens Noel came to Kentucky as the projected first overall pick in the NBA draft. He gave Kentucky and the NCAA three months of unpaid playing time, during which he could only maintain or diminish his already sky-high draft stock. He suffered a torn ACL, a sad circumstance which all but guarantees that he has lost his chance to be drafted first overall, but actually increases his value to NBA GMs, who now have the opportunity to add a potential superstar to their team at a severely discounted price. Noel's only options going forward are to enter the NBA as a bargain-bin deal, or return to Kentucky and spend one more season filling the NCAA's coffers.

Here we have a system in which the athletes are the only ones who ever have anything to lose. Noel won't be the last player we see writhing on the ground in pain, his future possibly evaporating in front of him while the NCAA and NBA cash in.