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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The NBA's One-And-Done Draft Rule Is Just Dumb Enough To Allow One More Prep-To-Pro Star

Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty
Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty

ESPN reported this week that Adam Silver and Michele Roberts are more open than ever to changing the NBA’s draft eligibility rules, which currently require American high school players to be a year removed from the graduation of their high school class by the time of the draft in order to be eligible. This is good news: the one-and-done rule arbitrarily harms players, and for no better reason than to protect NBA teams from their own starry-eyed bad decisions.


As an example of the silliness of this rule, Anfernee Simons—a current high school student—would apparently be eligible to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, despite the fact that he is still a high school student, because he meets the two requirements of eligibility: he will be 19 years old by the time of the draft, and, though he is still, in fact, a high school student, his graduating class technically graduated earlier this year. From an ESPN report:

Simons is currently doing a post-graduate year, or fifth season of high school, at IMG Academy in Florida. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard reclassified from his original class following his sophomore year.

Simons graduated high school last year, according to his prep school coach, John Mahoney, and will turn 19 in June, thus satisfying the NBA requirements to be eligible for the 2018 draft.


So he’s still a high school student, and he still plays for a high school team, but he is otherwise qualified to jump directly into the NBA, whereas R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cameron Reddish—all American high school ballers ranked ahead of Simons in ESPN’s 2019 NBA Mock Draft—are ineligible. While those players are giving away a year of free play in the college ranks, Simons could be earning millions in the NBA. But will he do it? He’d be crazy not to!

“Some people have brought it to my attention,” Simons told ESPN during an interview in Connecticut, where his team was participating in the National Prep Showcase. “As long as the opportunity is there, I will do it.

“I can see myself going to the NBA combine, if I have enough teams to actually invite me or recommend me for the combine and enough teams want to bring me for workouts. I really need to hit the weight room hard and get a little stronger.”

His apparent eligibility is serious enough that six teams reportedly sent “scouts or executives” to watch him play a couple of games at the Prep Showcase. Guys he’ll play against at that level—at least a couple of whom might legitimately shred him on a basketball court—will have to wait another year for their day in the sun. Bullcrap. Get rid of this dumbass rule, NBA.

Staff Writer, Deadspin

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