Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who knows the most about the player you're about to draft?

I've always wondered why more NBA people don't use the opinions of college coaches when evaluating players. Every team will call around. Other even meet with the coaches in person. But I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "College coaches don't know our league."
I disagree. In the minor leagues, where I was a general manager and coach, there is no scouting budget. Zero. So I went off film and my own opinion, but really valued the opinions and insight of college coaches, guys who've gamed-planned and schemed for and against players you're considering drafting. They know, without a doubt, who can play and who can't.
The key is to ask what you're looking for, how you're considering using the player, what his role will be, and then find out how the player will fit into your system. Way too much is put into the individual workouts and the post-season pre-draft camps.

My advice would be to get out of the office, get on the phone, and talk to the experts who have not only coached, but recruited, counseled, and practically lived with these college kids. You'll go away with a much more well-rounded picture of the player -- his game, habits, family, personality, likes, dislikes, attitude -- both on and off the court.