Even though most old school coaches are reluctant to play their rookies heavy minutes, it's more normal to see young players take the NBA by storm nowadays, and some scouts would be cautious to take a 20 or 21-year old in the NBA Draft.

Most players take the one-and-done road before making it to the pros. That means that they have to spend one year in college before being eligible to enter the NBA Draft, but it wasn't always like that.

As a matter of fact, the league allowed high school players to enter the Draft before the collective bargaining agreement of 2005, which is a rule that some teams, players, and analysts would like to change again.

Rashard Lewis, Amar'e Stoudemire, Jermaine O'Neal, Tyson Chandler, and Al Jefferson are just some of the few great players who skipped college and made it right to the pros. In the following paragraphs, we'll let you know about the top 5 players who were drafted straight out of high school:

5. Tracy McGrady

High School: Mount Zion Christian Academy (Durham, NC)
Team: Toronto Raptors
Pick: 9
Year: 1997
Career Stats: 19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG
Accolades: 7x All-NBA, 7xAll-Star, Most Improved Player, 2x Scoring Champion, Hall of Famer

Tracy McGrady was the most unstoppable scorer in the league during his prime, even ahead of Allen Iverson or Kobe Bryant. He was an offensive juggernaut and an athletic freak whose size gave him a huge advantage over his defender.


McGrady's skills were unmatched at the time. He had the body of a small forward, the moves of a shooting guard, and the strength of a big. Sadly, injuries took a major toll on his career and he was never truly a part of a winning team.

4. Dwight Howard

High School: Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (Atlanta, GA)
Team: Orlando Magic
Pick: 1
Year: 2004
Career Stats: 16.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.9 BPG
Accolades: 8x All-NBA, 8x All-Star, All-Rookie, 5x All-Defensive, 5x Rebounding Champion, 2x Block Champion, 3x Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Champion

People seem to forget just how much of an unstoppable force prime Dwight Howard was. He carried the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals at the ripe age of 24, and was the most dominant big man in the world during a 5-year stretch.


Howard was supposed to be the second coming of Shaquille O'Neal and while he couldn't live up to that standard - no one could - he made sure to leave a mark of his own. He's a lock to make it to the Hall of Fame.

3. Kevin Garnett

High School: Farragut Career Academy (Chicago, IL)
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Pick: 5
Year: 1995
Career Stats: 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Accolades: 9x All-NBA, 15x All-Star, All-Rookie, 12x All-Defensive, 4x Rebounding Champion, All-Star MVP, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Champion, Hall of Famer

There haven't been many competitors as fierce as Kevin Garnett. Even as a child, he never backed down from a challenge and didn't hesitate to get into his rivals' face, and he single-handedly turned the Minnesota Timberwolves into a contending team.


Garnett is one of the few players to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. He was a dominant force on both ends of the floor and his physicality and never-ending drive made him the toughest matchup you could ask for.

2. LeBron James

High School: St. Vincent-St Mary (Akron, OH)
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Pick: 1
Year: 2003
Career Stats: 27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG
Accolades: 16x All-NBA, 16x All-Star, All-Rookie, 6x All-Defensive, Rookie of the Year, Scoring Champion, Assists Champion, 3x All-Star MVP, 4x MVP, 4x Finals MVP, 4x NBA Champion

LeBron James was the most hyped and expected teenager in NBA history. His high school games had more fans in attendance than some major sports events, and needless to say, he definitely surpassed every single one of the expectations.


James led three franchises to NBA Championships and has dominated the league at will for the past 17 years. He's got a strong chance to retire as the Association's all-time leading scorer and is for sure a top-3 player in the history of the game.

1. Kobe Bryant

High School: Lower Merion (Philadelphia, PA)
Team: Charlotte Hornets (Then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers)
Pick: 13
Year: 1996
Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG
Accolades: 15x All-NBA, 18x All-Star, All-Rookie, 12x All-Defensive, 2x Scoring Champion, 4x All-Star MVP, MVP, 2x Finals MVP, 5x NBA Champion, Hall of Famer

While this could go either way, we leaned towards Kobe Bryant on the first spot because of his five rings. Moreover, it goes without saying that Bryant's legacy as one of the greatest competitors and offensive forces in NBA history is still making an impact through the younger players in the league.


Bryant was the walking testament of hard work. You could never outhustle or outsmart him. His pride and determination to be the best version of himself made him a legend and the greatest player to ever made the league straight out of high school.