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If Big Men are Slow to Develop, Then Why Not Develop in College?

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If Big Men are Slow to Develop, Then Why Not Develop in College?

There was a recent article on the issue with the "one and done" rule as it is being coined. Basically the rule that states a player must be 19 years old, on year removed from their graduating high school class, or in most cases a player who goes to college for just one year and then declares for the draft.

On one of the comments it stated that Hakeem Olajuwon stated that "big men are slower to develop." So if this theory holds true then why do big men stay a year or in some cases before the rule took place declared out of high school?

Wouldn't it make more sense to stay in college and develop their game? The answer is of course it would.

First of all here's a list of recent players who were drafted either out of high school or played just one year of college after the NBA changed its draft rules and what they averaged their first four seasons or under.  


Tyson Chandler

  • 6.1 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks
  • 9.2 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks
  • 6.1 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks
  • 8 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks

Eddy Curry:

  • 6.7 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, and .7 blocks
  • 10.5 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, and .8 blocks
  • 14.7 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks
  • 16.1 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, and .9 blocks

Dwight Howard: 

  • 12 points per game, 10 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks
  • 15.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks
  • 17.6 points per game, 12 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks
  • 19.8 points per game, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks

Greg Oden:

  • 8.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks

Kevin Love:

  • 11.1 points per game, 9.1 rebounds, and .6 blocks

Andrew Bynum:

  • 1.6 points per game, 1.7 rebounds, and .5 blocks
  • 7.8 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks
  • 13.1 points per game, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks
  • 14.3 points per game, 8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks

Kevin Garnett:

  • 10.4 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks
  • 17 points per game, 8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks
  • 18.5 points per game, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks
  • 20.8 points per game, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks

Kwame Brown:

  • 4.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, and .5 blocks
  • 7.4 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, and 1 block
  • 10.9 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and .7 blocks
  • 7 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, and .4 blocks

Kosta Koufos:

  • 4.7 points per game, 2.9 rebounds, and .6 blocks

These are just a few, now Moses Malone does not make the list because he played two years in the ABA, which of course wasn't the NBA. Now let's take a look at big men who've played three or more years of college basketball and what their averages were through their first four seasons in the NBA.

Hakeem Olajuwon:

  • 20.6 points per game, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks
  • 23.5 points per game, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks
  • 23.4 points per game, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks
  • 22.8 points per game, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks

David Robinson:

  • 24.3 points per game, 12 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks
  • 25.6 points per game, 13 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks
  • 23.2 points per game, 12.2 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks
  • 23.4 points per game, 12.2 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks

Wilt Chamberlain:

  • 37.6 points per game and 27 rebounds
  • 38.4 points per game and 27.2 rebounds
  • 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds
  • 44.8 points per game and 24.3 rebounds

Patrick Ewing:

  • 20 points per game, 9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks
  • 21.5 points per game, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks
  • 20.2 points per game, 8.2 rebounds, and 3 blocks
  • 22.7 points per game, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks

Nate Thurmond:

  • 7 points per game and 10.4 rebounds
  • 16.5 points per game and 18.1 rebounds
  • 16.3 points per game and 18 rebounds
  • 18.7 points per game and 21.3 rebounds per game

Dikembe Mutombo:

  • 16.6 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, and 3 blocks
  • 13.8 points per game, 13 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks
  • 12 points per game, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.1 blocks
  • 11.5 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks

Brad Daugherty:

  • 15.7 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, and .8 blocks
  • 18.7 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, and .7 blocks
  • 18.9 points per game, 9.2 rebounds, .5 blocks
  • 16.8 points per game, 9.1 rebounds, and .5 blocks

Shaquille O'Neal:

  • 23.4 points per game, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks
  • 29.3 points per game, 13.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks
  • 29.3 points per game, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks
  • 26.6 points per game, 11 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks

Tim Duncan:

  • 21.1 points per game, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks
  • 21.7 points per game, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks
  • 23.2 points per game, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks
  • 22.2 points per game, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks

Even through all of these examples it shows that centers who went to college were able to come into the NBA and make an immediate impact for their teams it is clear that the NBA would benefit from them developing their games at the college level.

Olajuwon is right that it takes big men more time to develop, so doesn't it make sense for the NBA to adopt pretty much the same rules as the rest of the major sports and make it so that in order for a player to come out of college it should at least by three full years before being able to declare?  

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