2017 NBA Draft Breaks Records with 16 Freshmen, 2 Seniors Taken in 1st Round

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22:  Potential first round draft picks Front Row (L-R) - OG Anunoby, Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, Luke Kennard, Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, De'aaron Fox, Frank Ntilikina, Justin Jackson, Back Row (L-R) Bam Adebayo, Jonathan Isaac, Justin Patton, Lauri Markkanen, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Zach Collins, Donovan Mitchell and TJ Leaf pose with NBA commissioner Adam Silver on stage before the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Experience apparently isn't all that important when it comes to the 2017 NBA draft.

ESPN Stats & Info broke down the number of freshmen taken versus the total of seniors taken in the first round:

Those seniors—Derrick White and Josh Hart—were the last two picks of the round.

The young players came off the board much earlier. The 2017 draft had 11 freshmen taken in the 14 lottery positions, easily breaking the previous record of eight in 2015, per ESPN Stats & Info.

This class was considered a good one before the players even reached college. Not only did the projected top players reach expectations, but some also continued to rise through the ranks leading up to the draft.

Markelle Fultz was the top pick to the Philadelphia 76ers after posting outstanding individual numbers for Washington, followed by Lonzo Ball, who was a consensus All-American at UCLA, going to the Los Angeles Lakers.

There ended up being five more college freshmen in a row before the New York Knicks broke the trend by taking French international guard Frank Ntilikina. Of course, the 18-year-old also would have been just a freshman if he had come to the United States earlier.

It took until Duke sophomore Luke Kennard at No. 12 to the Detroit Pistons to find someone more than one year out of high school.

The "one-and-done" rule preventing prospects from entering the NBA straight out of high school has come under fire lately, including from NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

"I don't think it's fair to characterize them as going to one year of school...whenever they lose or win in the NCAA tournament, that becomes their last day," Silver explained on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

It's unknown whether teams would as eagerly take these players directly out of high school, but this latest class showed just one year of college is needed to impress NBA organizations.

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