How Much College Do You Need for the NBA?

Kevin Durant and Greg Oden have both decided to enter themselves into the NBA Draft, after just one year of college basketball. Both players appear to show a strong feeling about staying in college, but the financial benefits of leaving are just too vast. It is quite clear that both players would have entered into the NBA after high school, were it not for a new NBA rule that requires players to have at least one year in college (or post-high school). I thought it would be interesting to see how much college prepares players for the NBA, so I’ve broken down the best players to form 5 different teams: players with no college experience, and those with 1, 2, 3 and 4 years.

No College:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Tracy McGrady
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Amare Stoudemire
Others: Jermaine O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Eddy Curry, Monta Ellis

1 Year:
PG: Stephon Marbury (Georgia Tech)
SG: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse)
SF: Lamar Odom (University of Rhode Island)
PF: Shawn Marion (UNLV)
C: Chris Bosh (Georgia Tech)
Others: Corey Maggette (Duke), Tim Thomas (Villanova), Zach Randolph (Michigan State), Jamal Crawford (Michigan)

2 Years:
PG: Dwyane Wade (Marquette)
SG: Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
SF: Vince Carter (North Carolina)
PF: Caron Butler (Connecticut)
C: Elton Brand (Duke)
Others: Gilbert Arenas (Arizona), Jason Kidd (California), Rasheed Wallace (North Carolina), Chauncey Billips (Colorado), Chris Webber (Michigan), Baron Davis (UCLA), Jason Richardson (Michigan State), Ron Artest (St. John’s), Mike Bibby (Arizona), Chris Paul (Wake Forest)

3 Years:
PG: Michael Redd (Ohio State)
SG: Ray Allen (Connecticut)
SF: Paul Pierce (Kansas)
PF: Antawn Jamison (North Carolina)
C: Shaquille O’Neal (LSU)
Otehrs: Carlos Boozer (Duke), Richard Hamilton (Connecticut), Emeka Okafor (Connecticut), Ben Gordon (Connecticut), Richard Jefferson (Arizona)

4 Years:
PG: Steve Nash (Santa Clara)
SG: Brandon Roy (Washington)
SF: Josh Howard (Wake Forest)
PF: Ben Wallace (Virginia Union)
C: Tim Duncan (Wake Forest)
Others: Jason Terry (Arizona), Shane Battier (Duke), Alonzo Mourning (Georgetown), Gary Payton (Oregon State), Grant Hill (Duke), Kirk Hinrich (Kansas)

It seems the team with no college experience is definitely filled with more superstars than any other team, although the 2-year team is certainly filled with a plethora of all-star guards. With the new NBA rule, the former will not change, which means the 1-year team may improve (especially with Durant and Oden soon).

Steve Nash and Tim Duncan have won four of the last five NBA MVP awards, so clearly staying in school for four years helped them (although Nash was not exactly an All-American player at Santa Clara like Tim Duncan was at Wake Forest).

When it all comes down to it, it appears that the players who made the jump directly from high school may have ended up learning more from their pro coaches than any they would have gotten in college.


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