I personally miss the days when players could go right from high-school to the NBA, absolutely changing their lives in a span of a year. While it does take some away from the college basketball world, it should be up to the player if they want to attend college or go straight to the league. Enough of my opinion though, as if anything the league is starting to gravitate to not only having all young players attend college, but the one and done option for players may be removed in favor of two or more years in college.
Imagine if LeBron played for Ohio State or Kobe for Duke. College basketball has missed out on a few legends who went straight from high-school to the pros. In this article, we will be power ranking every NBA player who skipped college and went straight to the pros. The thing about high school ballers turned pro is that obviously the transition from high school basketball to the pros is a big one, and some players performed much better than others.
In order to be eligible for this list, the players had to have been drafted out of high school. That gives us a total of 44 players. There are others who did eventually play in the NBA without playing college basketball, but they will be left off our list.
Here is our power ranking of every NBA player who skipped college from worst to best.
44 Ricky Sánchez
Ricky Sanchez was a Puerto Rican basketball player who found some success in the BSN(Baloncesto Superior Nacional) as a high-schooler, which led him to turn some heads in the American realm of he basketball world. Sánchez was drafted in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft to the Portland Trailblazers, who took him with the 35th overall selection, making him the fourth Puerto Rican player drafted into the NBA. He was immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets for their draft selection, Jarrett Jack. Jack ultimately ended up having a much better NBA career than Sánchez, as Ricky never ended up playing a game in the NBA as his rights were traded multiple times around the league. A solid BSN player, he was a four time all-star and even won a championship in 2012.
43 Ousmane Cisse
Ousmane Cisse went to Montgomery Catholic High-School in Alabama, where he won two state championships. He even broke the Alabama High-School record for most blocked shots in just the first half of one of his games. At 6'9", Cisse was a big body which is why NBA teams took an interest to him even with his decision to come into the league without going to college. He declared for the 2001 NBA Draft, and ended up being drafted 46th to the Denver Nuggets. Getting injured before the season started, he was released by the team. He then moved to the Harlem Globetrotters, but after a year signed with the Magic and then the Raptors, never playing a game in the National Basketball Association.
42 Satnam Singh Bhamara
Satnam Singh Bhamara made history for his country, when he became the first Indian born player to be drafted into the best basketball league in the world, when the Dallas Mavericks selected him with the 52nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. At 7'2", the height is definitely there for Satnam, but the skill still needs to be developed. Bhamara got to study under the IMGR basketball training academy which was also a school, but due to his lack of English, he was ineligible to receive any scholarships to any NCAA schools. This allowed him to declare for the draft, and while he was drafted, he has yet to play a game in the league and is currently apart of the Texas Legends of the D-League.
41 Korleone Young
Drafted 40th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 1998, NBA scouts thought Korleone Young was going to be a solid player even after his decision to skip college and go straight to the pros. Little did they know that Korleone Young would go on to be the worst high-school player to ever play in the NBA, as he only played three games over the course of his career ending up with a total of 15 points in his career. An injury led to the Pistons cutting ties with their draft selection, and while he did have some Summer League appearances with the Philadelphia 76ers, Young never made another appearance in the NBA and ended up being the worst player drafted out of high-school.
40 Ndudi Ebi
Ndubi Edi was supposed to be a great wing player from Nigeria, or at least thought to be as the Timberwolves used their first round draft pick(26th pick) on him in the 2003 NBA Draft. Edi was supposed to be a nice compliment to superstar Kevin Garnett, but sadly, Edi turned out to be a complete bust, as he only managed to play 19 games with the Wolves over the course of his two year career. After his failed stint in Minnesota, no NBA team bothered to offer him a contract and he spent the rest of his basketball career playing overseas.
His most recent overseas signing came with the Shahrdari Tabriz of the Iranian Super Basketball League. That makes a total of NINETEEN different teams since leaving the NBA.
39 James Lang
James Lang was drafted with the 48th pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, but he didn't make the team. When looking at the loaded 2003 class, it's easy to see why Lang was viewed as such a disappointment. He did get a chance to play with the Wizards the next season. Lang only got to see a total of 55 minutes over 11 games with the Wizards over his career, finishing with a career total of 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists.
A back injury hurt Lang's chances of being a real NBA player, as he played more in the D-League and overseas than in the NBA. Sadly, a stroke he suffered in 2009 ended his basketball career.
38 Leon Smith
The Dallas Mavericks organization definitely doesn't like hearing the name Leon Smith, as they traded two second round picks to grab him with the 25th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. The team believed that he was going to be a solid contributor for them, however Smith was found passed out that summer in his home as he overdosed on aspirin. He made his official debut in 2002 with the Atlanta Hawks, playing 14 games for them and one game for the SuperSonics two seasons later.
His career ended up lasting a small total of just 104 minutes, where he scored a total of 33 points, 33 rebounds, and three assists.Following his shortlived NBA career, Smith had a short stint in Argentina with Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca.
37 Robert Swift
Robert Swift was selected with the 12th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics and it turned out to be the wrong pick, as Swift's career did not turn out to be a successful one. He didn't have the talent to start on the team right away, and injuries ultimately made it impossible for Swift's career to gain any momentum.
The stress of being a high-school bust must have gotten to Robert, as he recently moved out of his mansion and the new owners found it in a horrible state with gun casings, old food everywhere, and even feces on the ground. Swift was one of the worst high-school players to ever play in the NBA. Despite not playing in the NBA since 2009, Swift is attempting a pro comeback.
36 Jonathan Bender
Jonathon Bender is the first player on this list so far to be taken with such a high draft pick, as he was selected with the 5th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft to the Toronto Raptors who then traded him to the Indiana Pacers. Many thought Bender was going to be the next star big man in the league, as he had nice athleticism to go along with his big 7 foot frame.
Bender became the first high-school baller to score 10 or more points in their debut, but injuries sadly limited his time to seven shortened seasons with the Pacers as he retired in 2006. He attempted to make a return with the Knicks in '09, his final career line coming in at 5.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, and 0.6 apg. He's now invented a device to strengthen knees, called the JB Intensive Trainer, hoping that others could avoid the injury problems he had.
35 DeSagana Diop
The Cleveland Cavaliers took a chance on DeSagana Diop from Senegal, as they drafted him with the 8th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. A large player on the court, Diop weighed in at 300 pounds and stood 7 feet tall. He didn't play that much with the Cavs, as his career in Cleveland only lasted four years and he never did much too earn more time on the court, never averaging more than 13 minutes per game in a season.
He did end up having a long NBA career, as he made stops with a few different teams and was able to be a defensive presence for the Dallas Mavericks at one point, but Diop was not worthy of a top 10 draft pick at all.
34 Bill Willoughby
Bill Willoughby made history when he became the second youngest player to ever play in an NBA game, but that's the only history he achieved as his career was anything but legendary.
He was drafted in the second round with the 19th pick(the first round only contained 18 picks in 1975) by the Atlanta Hawks. He was an average player at best, bouncing around from multiple teams before being out of the league by 26 years of age.
While he was one of the first NBA players to skip college ball, he was not an example of that decision going right as his career was just not memorable at all, sadly. However one could argue he did help open the door for others to follow suit.
33 Reggie Harding
Reggie Harding was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 29th pick in the 1962 NBA Draft. The earliest high-school baller selected in the draft, Harding made his debut three years later and only lasted four seasons in the league. When he did play however, he wasn't bad, as he averaged about 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, but his short career and off-court lifestyle hurt not only his career, but his life.
He apparently had troubles with drugs and substance abuse and even threatened to kill his general manger and a teammate. He was shot and killed in 1972. You have to wonder what he could have done had he not gotten into trouble in his personal life.
32 Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown is easily one of the most recognizable names on this list so far, as he is often considered one of the worst NBA busts of all-time and definitely one of the worst players drafted out of high school. He became the first ever high-schooler to be taken with a number 1 draft selection, as the Washington Wizards took him number 1 in 2001. He played 12 years in the NBA, but was never able to grow too his true potential as he came no where playing like a number 1 draft selection.
Brown ended up averaging only 6.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 0.9 apg over the course of his career. Brown is one of the biggest reasons drafting a high-school player high in the draft is a big risk.
31 DeShawn Stevenson
DeShawn Stevenson wasn't terrible in the NBA, and even though his career wasn't as short as some of the names above him, his career was anything but remarkable. Stevenson was drafted with the 23rd pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, playing four years there before being traded to the Magic. He bounced around between many NBA teams before retiring in 2013. His career averages were 7.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, and 1.6 apg.
Not a terrible career, but DeShawn still comes in high on this list at number 31 due to the fact that he never really turned into a great player even after being taken with the 23rd pick, as multiple players outgrew him who were taken behind him that draft night.
30 Travis Outlaw
Travis Outlaw showed signs of being a great player, but never became a real star in the league after being drafted with the 23rd pick in the legendary 2003 NBA Draft. Outlaw played the majority of his career for the Portland Trail Blazers, playing as a score first forward for them. He did manage to score a career high 36 points against the Golden State Warriors, but other than that great game, Outlaw was a role player for his entire career. He retired in 2014, playing for five NBA teams with his career averages coming in at 8.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, and 0.8 apg.
Outlaw had the ability to produce on the NBA level, but he didn't necessarily live up to being a first round draft pick in one of the league's greatest drafts of all-time.
29 Thon Maker
I have Thon Maker coming in at number 29 on this list. A little premature too have him surpassing all of the guys above him, possibly, but Thon had a solid rookie season and I see him growing into a great player for the Bucks in a few seasons, ultimately moving up this list a hefty amount of positions when it's all said and done.
Maker was drafted with the 10th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, becoming one of the first players in a long time to come into the league without playing college ball or overseas ball. Maker showed signs of being a star in his rookie season, as he can rebound, defend, and shoot the ball from deep which makes him a valuable young player in this league.
28 Martell Webster
The Portland Trail Blazers used their high profile 6th draft selection in the 2005 NBA Draft. Webster came out of high school an incredibly athletic player, which is why scouts had him projected so high. He never turned out to be the player scouts thought he could have been however, as injuries, and a lack of true basketball talent had him become a role player instead of a superstar. Webster retired in 2015, sporting a career average of 8.7 ppg, 3.1 apg, and 1 rpg.
A long career with the ability to stick around due to his play, Webster just wasn't a top 10 draft selection when it was all said and done. He's now begun pursuing a rap career, and cofounded an independent record label called EYRST.
27 Darius Miles
The 2000 NBA Draft class was anything but special, so Darius isn't that much of a bust as he was taken with the 3rd pick in the draft to the Clippers. Even coming out of high-school, Miles had the talent to perform as he was productive right away for the Clippers.
His career didn't take off however as some would have expected, as knee problems and ego issues ended up seeing him traded to the Blazers. Miles' career ended after spending eight years in the NBA, with his career averages coming in at 10.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, and 1.9 apg. Recently declaring bankruptcy, I hope all works out well for Darius Miles. He's recently been seen auctioning off some of his old NBA memorabilia.
26 Dorell Wright
Dorell Wright was selected by the Miami Heat with the 19th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, and while he never turned out to be a great player for the team, his three-point shooting kept him afloat in the league and a valuable asset as a shooter.
Playing in the NBA for 11 seasons, Wright managed to win an NBA championship with the team that drafted him in 2006 with the Heat. He even averaged over 16 points per game with the Warriors in 2010, his career averages ending up being a solid 8.4 ppg, 3.8 apg, and 1.5 apg shooting 36 percent from behind the arc.
His career is likely over, after his recent stint with the Clippers ended after two preseason games. Overall, not a bad career.
25 Kendrick Perkins
Perkins has had himself a successful NBA career considering he is not actually a talented basketball player. The Memphis Grizzlies took the big man with the 27th pick in 2003, but was traded to the Celtics on draft night. He ended up being the starting center for the Celtics team that won the championship in 2008, serving as the team's enforcer due to his big body and attitude on the court. His big body is what also caused him problems over his career, as he got flak for his weight which is why some NBA teams didn't want any part of the center.
Perkins' career is most likely over, as he last played for the Pelicans averaging a little over 2 points per game in 14 minutes per game which is nothing special.
24 Sebastian Telfair
Sebastian Telfair didn't live up to being a lottery draft selection over the course of his 12 year NBA career, but he did serve as solid back up point-guard to whatever team he played for. Telfair is former NBA superstar Stephon Marbury's cousin, but Marbury ultimately ended up having a much better career than Telfair, as Sebastian was never more than a role player during his NBA career. He bounced back between the NBA and overseas and he had recently said he was interested in an NBA comeback.
Sebastian recently made headlines for the wrong reasons, as he was arrested with loaded gun charges and marijuana possession. Hopefully all works out for Sebastian, as our country is trying to seriously crack down on drug offenses.
23 Andray Blatche
Andray Blatche was drafted with the 49th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, which was considered a slide for him as he was a high valued prospect out of high school who many thought would be a first round draft selection. Blatche was shot in a carjacking incident that summer after being drafted, which resulted in him missing training camp and not playing his full rookie season as he eased into the rotation.
After taking a few seasons to grow as a player, Blatche reached the height of his career in the year 2011, where he almost averaged 17 points per game with the team that drafted him in the Wizards. Injuries hurt him after that season as he only managed to play 26 games in 2012. He then played for the Brooklyn Nets, where his career ended a few seasons ago.
22 Gerald Green
Gerald Green can put up big scoring numbers in what seems like a flash. He can shoot the ball from deep, mid-range, and uses his incredible athleticism to finish at the rim. Green was drafted with the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, which many considered to be a steal as some scouts had him being drafted as high as 5th in the draft.
While Green still has multiple seasons of game left in the tank, he definitely can be considered a journeyman already. Since being drafted to the Celtics, Green has played for the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns, Heat, and back full circle as he is back on the Celtics. Green's best season came with his first year on the Suns, where he scored 15.8 points per game.
21 Amir Johnson
Considering Amir Johnson was drafted with the 56th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, his career has been better than expected as he has actually had a pretty successful career since deciding to skip college and head to the pros. He spent a few seasons with the Pistons who took the chance on drafting him, but he only played in 11 games over his first two seasons with the franchise as he mostly played in the D-League. He was then traded to the Toronto Raptors where he found his home, and played very well for the team as a key player to their successful years the last few seasons.
Johnson now plays for the Boston Celtics, where he averaged a bit over 6 points per game for the team this year.
20 C.J. Miles
C.J. Miles can shoot the ball as well as anybody in the league today when he's hot. He was taken with the 34th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, but took a while to find his real footing in the league as the Jazz used him sparingly throughout the early part of his seven year career with the team. Once finding a real spot in the rotation, Miles signed with the Cavaliers where he spent two seasons.
Now on the Pacers, C.J. has stayed relevant with his excellent shooting touch from deep, as he shot a career best .413% from deep on his way to averaging a bit over 10 points per game for Indiana, even scoring 32 points per game against the Wizards this season.
19 Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston is one of the best players off the bench for the Golden State Warriors, arguably the best team of all-time. An NBA champion, Livingston would most likely tell you however he expected his career to go a different way than it has so far. Drafted with the 4th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft to the Clippers, Livingston was supposed to be one of the best players in the league as he had all the offensive tools to dominate.
Unfortunately, late in the 2006-07 NBA season, Livingston dislocated his left kneecap which led to his leg snapping laterally. Shaun was sadly never the same after that, as the rehab process was incredibly long and tedious, and he lost what made him such a special prospect. A shame, but Livingston has since become a very good player off the bench for the Warriors.
18 Eddy Curry
Did Eddy Curry deserve to be taken with the 4th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft? No, but he was an absolute beast in high school and looked to be the right decision for the Bulls who needed a franchise center with that selection. Curry only averaged about 7 points in his first season with the team, and never turned out to be the franchise player the Bulls wanted him to be. The best stretch of his career came with the New York Knicks, where he became one of the biggest names in the league.
Even averaging almost 20 points per game with the Knicks in 2006, Curry showed what made him so special coming into the league out of high school. His big body caused injuries frequently after that special season, and he was out of the league by 2012, only playing in 26 games over the last four years of his career.
17 Al Harrington
Al Harrington had an incredibly long career in the league, playing 17 years in the NBA with eight NBA teams. Harrington turned out to be a very consistent player since he was drafted with the 25th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. Harrington could be considered a stretch four, as his 6'9" frame allowed him to defend and rebound with larger guys, but he also had a nice shooting touch which made him a more valuable player. His best season came with the New York Knicks, where he averaged 20.7 points per game in the 2008 NBA season. Harrington's last year in the league was back in 2014, where he played 34 games for the Washington Wizards. A long and solid career, Harrington turned out to be better than most 25th overall draft selections.
16 Lou Williams
Lou Williams is a star of today's game, always coming in around the top of Sixth Man of the Year voting due to his ability to put up good numbers coming off the bench. Williams didn't attend college, instead coming into the league out of South Gwinnett high-school in Georgia. He was drafted with the 45th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers, ultimately becoming the steal of the draft as he has enjoyed a career better than most 45th overall selections. He can score from anywhere on the court, whether it be from deep or using his craftiness to score around the rim. Playing the majority of his career with the Sixers, Williams recently played for both the Lakers and the Rockets, being a key role off the bench for both franchises.
15 Darryl Dawkins
Darryl Dawkins never put up any incredible numbers throughout his long NBA career, but "Chocolate Thunder" did manage to become a Philadelphia 76ers legend, this coming from a Sixers fan. He could put down some spectacular dunks back in the day, breaking multiple backboards along the way. For being 6'11", Dawkins wasn't an incredible rebounder, his best season coming in at a bit over 8 per game, but his game was exciting and made for the old-school game of his playing time. He could score in the paint and will be remembered as a great NBA player by his peers and fans. He sadly died last year from a heart attack in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was 58 years old.
14 Josh Smith
Josh Smith's time in the NBA is virtually over, which is a bit surprising considering he is only 31 years old, as five or six years ago people didn't think it would be like this for the forward. He was taken with the 17th pick in 2004 by the Atlanta Hawks, turning out to be a good player for the team, playing nine seasons for the team, even averaging 18.8 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game in his best season with the team.
After signing with the Pistons, Smith career has involved him bouncing around multiple NBA teams, most recently playing for the Clippers as a role player. Still, his time with the Hawks is what has him at number 14 on this list.
13 J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith isn't one of the most consistent players in the league, as I have seen him be on the court for over 30 minutes without scoring a point, but I have also seen him torch NBA teams with his deep shooting.
A starting player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith has been apart of some big games throughout his career, since being drafted with the 18th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. He then spent some years with the Nuggets, and then some seasons in New York where he played arguably his best ball. Smith still has some years to move up on this list. As long as he stays in Cleveland, he should still have some solid seasons in front of him.
12 Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum was a curious case. Taken 10th overall by the Lakers in 2005, it took Bynum a season of riding the bench to find a spot in the rotation, where he progressed into a solid center. Helping the Lakers win two NBA championships in both 2009 and 2010, Bynum's best season came in the 2011-12 season where he averaged about 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. All went downhill from there for Bynum however. Signing a big contract with the Sixers, Bynum didn't play one game for the team as injuries was a problem his whole career.
I remember being so excited when the Sixers signed him, and the disappointment was real when he never stepped foot on the court. Injuries sadly ruined his career for good, as he is now out of the league.
11 Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson has recently fallen off as being a star in the NBA, but his career has been successful to say the least. Jefferson didn't attend college, instead going right to the league from high-school, being drafted with the 15th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He wasn't a star with Boston, the team that drafted him, as his real prime came with the Minnesota Timberwolves, as he produced some very effective seasons, his best coming in at 23.1 points per game and 11 rebounds per game as he was a solid back to the basket post player.
His ability to score against big defenders on the block made him a valuable player. Jefferson has played for three other teams since his time with the Wolves, most recently being a role player for the Indiana Pacers.
10 Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis has been a relevant player in the NBA for years. He doesn't have many awards and to his name, but his career has been anything but a dud as he has been a leading scorer on whatever team he has been on since coming into the league. He was taken with the 40th pick in 2005 by the Golden State Warriors, so he is definitely considered a steal. His best season came in 2009-10 , where he averaged over 25 points a game for the Warriors. It's ridiculous that he wasn't an all-star that season, as 25 points per game is some serious numbers. Monta is staying relevant in the entertainment world as well, as Post Malone made a song called "Monta" that pays homage to the NBA player.
9 Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis turned out to be an excellent player after he was taken with the 32nd pick in the 1998 NBA Draft coming out of high school. Rashard Lewis was drafted straight out of Alief Elsik High School in Houston. He ended up being the steal of the '98 draft. Lewis had to work his way up the ranks of the SuperSonics, as he didn’t play much in his first few seasons with the team.
In his prime in Seattle however, he averaged 22 points per game as he and Ray Allen brought a certain spark to each SuperSonic game that made Lewis a very popular player among fans. While he never quite became a superstar, you can't argue against his decision of skipping college.
8 Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler was drafted a tad high in the 2001 NBA Draft considering some of the great players taken behind him such as Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson, Gilbert Arenas, and Tony Parker, but Chandler still has enjoyed a successful NBA career since being taken with the 2nd pick straight out of high-school. An NBA champion with the Dallas Mavericks back in 2011, Tyson also has some serious individual awards to his name such as winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2012, even making the All-NBA 3rd team that season.
Chandler is still playing in the league as he is with the Phoenix Suns right now, and while he may not be the same player he was, he did have one of his best seasons rebounding wise averaging 11.5 on the year.
7 Jermaine O'Neal
Jermaine O'Neal turned out to be one of the biggest steals of the legendary 1996 NBA Draft (17th pick), but not for the team that drafted him however, ultimately coming into his own with the Indiana Pacers after spending four forgetful seasons with the Blazers. A big part of some successful Pacers teams, O'Neal really showed that a player can develop into his own even after many seasons not showing the true baller they can be. He even averaged over 25 points per game in the prime of his career, becoming one of the best players in the league.
Maybe O'Neal should have spent a season or two in college which would have lessoned the time of his rite of passage in the league, but all worked out for the big man from Eau Claire high-school.
6 Amar'e Stoudemire
Many forgot how good Amar'e Stoudemire really was. Drafted 1st by the Phoenix Suns in the 2002 NBA Draft, Stoudemire took just a few seasons to blossom into one of the best power forwards in the game, his third season averaging a incredible 26 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Knee problems ultimately ruined what could have been a legendary NBA career, as all looked good for Stoudemire and the Suns until the injuries.
Stoudemire bounced around a few different teams before calling it quits in the 2015-16 season, but he still finds himself high on this list due to his excellent prime, even though it was short lived sadly. At least he's doing well playing in Israel, helping his team, Hapoel Jerusalem to the Israeli League Championship.
5 Dwight Howard
Orlando Magic Dwight Howard was one of the most dominant big men the league has ever seen, and while the last few seasons of his career have been polarizing to say the least, you have to respect what Howard has done over the course of his career at this point. Taken with the 1st pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Howard came into the league incredibly talented with strength to match. He was a double-double machine and even led his team to the 2009 NBA Finals, ultimately losing to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Howard currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, and while he is not the same player he was with the Magic, he still puts up solid numbers as he is one of the best high-school players ever drafted into the league, living up to being a number 1 draft pick.
4 Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady holds some of the league's best moments, from high flying dunks to scoring 13 points in 33 seconds in one of the best endings in all of the NBA. McGrady came right out of high school into the league, which is probably why the incredibly athletic McGrady was taken with the 9th pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and not higher. A great scorer in the prime of his career, Tracy McGrady is one of the most beloved players in the league and even though he never won an illusive ring to his name, McGrady will still find his way into the Hall of Fame for his excellent NBA career. Playing for a multitude of teams along the way, T-Mac became a fan favorite in any city he played in.
3 Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett was a dominant NBA superstar in his prime. An absolute beast with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett went on too win the championship with the Boston Celtics as he joined forces with the likes of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. Garnett was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, and turned out to be the best player of the class, as he went on to have a spectacular NBA career.
Garnett ended his long NBA career Minnesota Timberwolves, finishing it where it all started. It's only a matter of time before Garnett goes into the hall of fame. Garnett's decision to skip college did not turn out to hurt him one bit and it encouraged a bunch of players in the late 90s to early 2000s to do so also.
2 Kobe Bryant
The league just ins't the same anymore since Kobe retired last season, spending a long illustrious 20 years in the NBA. Bryant became one of the most legendary and talented scorers to ever play the game of basketball after being drafted with the 12th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. Spending his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant won five NBA championships on his way to becoming a basketball icon all across the world. Teams definitely regret passing up on him in the 96' draft, as he turned out to be one of the best NBA players of all-time. Bryant is one of the best case scenarios of teams taking a chance on a young high-school player coming into the league.
1 LeBron James
LeBron James came into the league with hype never before seen with any other young player. Gracing the covers of magazines and getting country wide attention as a high school player, he was even dubbed "The Chosen One" before even stepping foot on an NBA court. James lived up to all the hype and more, as he is arguably the greatest NBA player to ever live. Drafted with the 1st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron has been a man among boys even when he was playing as an 18-year-old kid. He is still dominating the NBA at age 32, and will continue to build his legacy as he is the greatest basketball player to enter the league that skipped college.