The NBA Draft is a yearly event where the league’s teams select new players to join their teams. This year, there were 10 youngest players ever drafted.
Andrew Bynum is the youngest NBA player ever drafted and was 17 years old when he was selected. Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O’Neal were also 17-year olds when they were drafted in 1996.
Because selecting the proper player dramatically changes GMs’ current and future objectives, the NBA Draft is a moment of hope and excitement for clubs in the league. As a result, the most skilled or physically competent player is usually selected with one of the first choices in the draft, with the later picks serving as wildcards.
Which athletes, on the other hand, were plucked from college at an early age? Here is a list of the ten youngest NBA players selected right out of college, courtesy of Hoopshype’s incredible work. While there are some well-known names on this list, like as All-Stars and Hall of Famers, there are also some names you may not be familiar with.
Bob Santini (18 Years, 71 Days) is ranked number ten.
The No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft in 1953
2.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.3 APG in his career
Bob Santini is the first on the list as a flop who entered the NBA with the lucrative No. 5 selection. The 6’5″ forward only played in four games with the New York Knicks, averaging zero points and fewer than six minutes per game. Santini’s NBA career ended after just four games, indicating that the 18-year-old was not ready to be granted a place on an NBA club, much alone a shot with the New York Knicks.
Amir Johnson is 18 years and 63 days old.
In the 2005 NBA Draft, he was the 56th overall pick.
7.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.0 BPG throughout his career
Amir Johnson had a 14-year NBA career in which he has played for four different teams. However, the Detroit Pistons selected Johnson 56th overall in 2005, a good pick since the power forward hustled on the floor and was a good defender. Amir Johnson only played in 11 games in each of his first two seasons with the Lions, but he did play in 62 games in his third season. Johnson stayed reasonably healthy throughout his career, and being selected early allowed him to hone his skills.
Yaroslav Korolev, age 18 and 57 days
The No. 12 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft
HoopsHype is credited with this image.
1.1 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.2 SPG, 0.0 BPG throughout his career
Korolev was selected as an 18-year-old with the No. 12 overall selection, in classic “Clippers” manner. Over the course of two seasons with Los Angeles, the Russian small forward only played in 34 games, averaging 1.1 points per game in 4.9 minutes per game. Korolev might be considered a draft failure owing to his lack of chances, but it was always exciting to watch foreign players, particularly teenagers, get a shot in the NBA.
Ersan Ilyasova, age 18 and 49 days
The 36th overall pick in the 2005 draft
Image courtesy of Getty Images
10.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG throughout his career
Ersan Ilyasova has had a lengthy career as a journeyman, having played for seven different teams and even spending two years in Spain following his debut season. As a 6’9″ power forward, Ilyasova was an excellent role player because he could shoot the outside jumper and rebound the ball. Ilyasova’s skill set transfers well as a floor-spacing big man, therefore he would have been fortunate if he had been selected in the current NBA game.
Tracy McGrady (18 years, 37 days) is number six on the list.
In the 1997 draft, he was the ninth overall pick.
19.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, 4.4 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 0.9 blocks per game
Tracy McGrady, a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest scorers of his time, was selected by the Toronto Raptors when he was 18 years old. After being traded to the Orlando Magic, the young adolescent had a difficult start to his NBA career before exploding in 2001 and earning Most Improved Player. McGrady, who was a bundle of skill and agility at a young age, was a great selection with the No. 9 overall pick. McGrady’s career was cut short by injuries, but he was still a Hall of Famer by the time he retired.
Bill Willoughby, 18 Years and 13 Days
In the 1975 draft, he was the 19th overall pick.
NBA.com is responsible for this image.
6.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG throughout his career
Bill Willoughby was chosen later in the first round of the draft by the Atlanta Hawks, where he spent two seasons before bouncing about throughout his career. Willoughby would go on to play for five more teams throughout the course of his eight-year career. Willoughby, a 6’8″ small forward, developed into a sharpshooter in the 1982 and 1983 seasons, connecting on 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts over those two seasons. After being selected so young, the forward had a good career overall and can be pleased of his time in the NBA.
4. Darko Milicic, who is 18 years and one day old.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft
Image courtesy of Getty Images
6.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.3 BPG throughout his career
Nobody knows what the Detroit Pistons were thinking when they chose Dark Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, perhaps the greatest flop in NBA history. Milicic could never have the scoring abilities of a future superstar like Carmelo Anthony, thus Detroit was looking for a long-term successor for its aging big men. Milicic would go on to play 10 years in the NBA for six different teams, all of which were looking for rapid growth. Darko would only be a role player for every squad he was on, but it never happened.
Kobe Bryant (#3) – 17 years and 312 days
In the 1996 draft, he was the 13th overall pick.
25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG throughout his career
In a class packed of Hall of Famers and superstar skills, the late and great Kobe Bryant was chosen as a scrawny adolescent in the 1996 NBA Draft. The Hornets chose Kobe, but he was moved to the Los Angeles Lakers before ever playing a game for them. The rest, as they say, is history. Bryant became an All-Star in his second season after a poor rookie season, and he went on to win 5 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, including three in a row from 2000 to 2002. Bryant is one of the best players in NBA history, and the Hornets were savvy enough to sign him as a 17-year-old youngster out of college.
2. Jermaine O’Neal (17 years and 261 days).
In the 1996 draft, he was the 17th overall pick.
13.2 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game, 0.5 steals per game, 1.8 blocks per game
Jermaine O’Neal was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, but he struggled to break a roster in his first four seasons, averaging 11.5 points per game. O’Neal became an All-Star and one of the greatest big players in the game after being moved to the Indiana Pacers. Of course, “Malice at the Palace” ended his career, as his popularity began to wane soon after. Jermaine was still a raw 17-year-old coming out of college, and he would have been more successful right away if he had played more minutes for the Trail Blazers.
Andrew Bynum (17 years, 249 days) is the first.
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2005 draft
11.5 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game, 0.3 steals per game, 1.6 blocks per game
The Lakers were yearning for star power to accompany superstar Kobe Bryant when they selected Andrew Bynum before the 2006 season. They wouldn’t get it from a 17-year-old Bynum until his third season, when he started to show offensive potential and paint skills. Bryant was said to desire Jason Kidd for Bynum after he became a starter, but that deal never happened. Despite this, the 7’0″ center was the youngest player ever selected, and he did make the All-Star team in 2012. His biggest accomplishments would be helping the Lakers win two consecutive NBA championships in 2009 and 2010, and he can look back on a good career despite joining the game as a kid.
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