I'm a busy person. You're a busy person. We're all busy people. Tis the way of modern life. Full disclosure, I'm married, a father, work full time and attend religious meetings twice a week. I have a ton of friends and family. My non-basketball hobbies include reading novels, making music, writing, drawing, watching anime, reading comics and manga, watching football both college and pro, watching baseball when the Tigers are good, and of course watching various movies, tv shows , and playing video games etc. And everybody whose reading this has a life, just as jam packed and interests just as varied. So as a hardcore Pistons fanatics, who love delving into the minutiae regarding our favorite franchise, I thought I'd share some tips and tricks I've developed over the years to educate myself on the draft as it relates to my team and without spending so much time that it ruins my marriage.
Just for a context , and I swear this is NOT in any way meant to toot my own horn, but as I've honed this method over the last few years I find myself ending up at the right conclusions about prospects a lot more often than not. Don't worry I got receipts. This isn't because I'm some draft genius, it's just a way I've come up with to collect and process information in a way that leads to generally correct conclusion about prospects. Also, I'm always honing this process each year and so any and all suggestions/critiques are welcome. Last caveat, at the end of the day, these young men are still human beings and we aren't privy to the insider information that teams have on their backgrounds, personalities and such. For example I was right about Kevin Porter Jr's skills translating, but I had no way of knowing he'd become a weave pulling , woman puncher. So without further ado, here's the method....
Things to worry about
1. Most importantly, when building a team, you're number 1 task is by hook or crook to get the guy that can do what Lebron and Jimmy are doing here....
2. What skills are absolutely ESSENTIAL to being able to do what those guys are doing above? What skills can be developed? I. E. to be a number 1 option on a title team you HAVE to be able to create your own shot out of isolation whenever you want to and you have to be WILLING to do it. So bucket getters should always be weighted more heavily. Cuz it's a lot easier for me to teach Jalen Green to make the right reads and rotate correctly on defense than it is for me to teach Scottie Barnes to crossover side step and splash a 3 over a double team.
3. Shooting mechanics. You can have weird mechanics if it goes in. You can't have weird mechanics and it doesn't go in. Broken mechanics bad shooter tends to end up Michael Kidd Gilchrist. Bad mechanics but good shooter can be fixed ala Lonzo Ball
4. Can a guy create separation. College is a much slower paced game on a narrower , more congested court where zones reign supreme. The NBA is much more wide open. So if a guy can create separation in the congestion of a college floor that bodes VERY Well for translation to the pros.
5. He can't be average to below average athletically AND can't shoot (unless you're taking a flier on him late). If you're athletic, you can get by till the jumper comes around. If you can shoot, you can use the threat of your jumper to create the space you need to do other stuff. This is why pre draft I was super low on Killian but super High on Cade, respectively.
6. How hard he plays. You can be raw and a hard worker, cuz that means you'll put in the work to maximize whatever potential you have. You can't be raw and have people questioning your work ethic and desire, because that means you most likely won't put in the work (again unless you're taking a flier on a guy late). That's the difference between someone like Giannis and someone like Sekou.
7. Position on defense. Who can he guard? If the answer is Nobody. Ever. Then you probably can't play him in the playoffs. So pass (unless, wait for it...you're taking a flier on a guy late)
8. Where are you picking? Like I care a whole lot less about whether a guy can do all 3 of dribble/pass/shoot if I'm drafting at 25 than if I'm drafting no.6. So yeah. I care a whole lot that Killian can't create separation against a 40 year old "smokes a pack- a -day" German dude if I'm considering him at 7. Not so much if I'm taking him at 18.
9. Context. It matters in EVERYTHING. Cade averaged 3 assists a game in college. Was that because he's not a good playmaker? Or because nobody on his squad shot 35% from three...except him. Jalen Green is shooting 36.5% from 3 on 6 attempts. That's not earth shattering till you consider those were NBA threes and that was against NBA players and he was 18 frickin' years old. Context. Matters.
Things to NOT worry about
1. How skinny a teenager is when his position isn't going to be center. And even if he is going to be center, still don't worry a ton about it. Get the kid a sandwich and he'll put on 30 lbs by time he's 25.
25 year old Giannis