I’ve invented a game called Beat the Draft.
I will present actual (anonymized) scouting reports of two past NBA players from right before their draft. Your goal is to draft the better player or to pass on both. In a couple of days, I will tell you the actual identities.
Now, you could ruin the game and win this by guessing the secret identities. That’s no fun. You should try to guess just from the scouting reports. I will delete any comments that correctly name the players or give any hints.
James Wiseman Types
For our first few rounds, I decided to focus on past draftees that had similar mystery profiles to James Wiseman. (This whole game began as a way for me to find historical comps to help project Wiseman.)
I looked up every NBA draft pick that was:
an American high school student (thus with similar lack of college track record)
an NBA first round draft pick (since the Lottery was introduced in 1985)
6’ 11” or taller
You can ask me followup questions and I will try to get you further prospect information. However it’s really tough to dig up the pre-draft scouting info, so don’t expect the world…
These players were drafted between 1990 and 2010. So don’t judge them by post-Warriors modern basketball standards.
Your choices are:
Pass on both
Height: 7-0, Weight: 280 lbs.
Senior season: 22.4 points, 16.8 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game
McDonald's All-American, Third-team Parade All-American
RSCI National Ranking at end of HS: #10
A is a legit 7'0, maybe 7'1. This was evident as he had at least 2-3 inches on Z (listed at 6'10). For being close to 300 lbs., A is a pretty good athlete. He ran the floor well and actually got up decently high to throw down a few alley oops. He actually blocked one of W's acrobatic lay-up attempts without even jumping, so that should tell you about the length of his arms.
One NBA GM had the following to say about A: I really like the big kid. He's only 17 years old and has room to fill out. He's going to be something [if he goes to college].
Report 2 (right after draft)
Is A the next Shaq? A has the size and ability to be a dominant big man in the league. But he's a ways away. A few months ago he wasn't even on the radar screen. But he was good enough at the W game that he intrigued everyone. He was awesome in a workout for X and they were sold. He's an intelligent kid who is pretty skilled, but I doubt [his coach] is going to use him for a while.
Positives: Standing a legit seven feet and weighing 300 pounds, A is huge. He has long arms and is athletic and very mobile for a guy of that size. Best of all, he's not afraid to get a little dirty in the paint. Get him on an NBA weight regimen and he could be an absolute monster.
Negatives: He's still very raw offensively and really could use a few years at a top program. Weight has been an issue in the past. He could stand to lose 20 pounds. Some scouts wonder if he's the second coming of Desagana Diop.
Summary: The big kid is raw, but he's stunned teams with his skills and size in workouts.
Height: 6-11, Weight: 215 lb
Senior Season: 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks while shooting 66.8% from the field. Team record: 28-2.
State Mr. Basketball. National High School Player of the Year, Most Outstanding Player at the McDonald's All-American Game.
D has had grade problems as a long ago as his Junior year. It was reported that he probably would not be able to get into college. D is very quick and has great hands and a real soft touch. He is also a great passer, being compared to Bill Walton and has very good ball handling skills. His HS coach said that he is the best passing big man he has ever seen.
At 215 (and with little muscle) he is going to get pushed around a lot. Last year he averaged 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds and 6.5 blocks a game. He was the MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game in April.
I'm not real sure where D will go in the draft. I've heard that the late first round is the worst he will do but in USAToday, draft expert P rates him as the 6th or 7th pick saying, "He's perfect for teams who can wait for him to develop."
D's leaping ability is off the charts, he runs the floor like a sprinter, he shoots 20-foot jumpers with ease and perfect rotation, and he's the best-passing big man in the draft. Most teams believe he'll eventually be a do-everything small forward, but for now let's give him a new handle. Call him a faceup 4, a power forward who can hurt you from anywhere, a cross between Reggie Miller and a kinder, gentler version of Alonzo Mourning.
Oh, D comes with an asterisk, as even the most breathless NBA executive will acknowledge. Drafting a teenager who is obviously talented but not physically or emotionally mature is a charged issue for the NBA.
There are concerns about D's maturity, his social skills, his sense of responsibility, his friends and his diet. And that's not to mention the question of how long he will take to develop physically (only 220 pounds are slung along those 83 inches) and whether he'll fold like a nervous poker player the first time X hips him into a basket stanchion.
Jumping, quickness, agility, ball handling and shooting were emphasized. True, no one was on the court with D except Y, who put him through his paces. But all who watched came away with the feeling they had seen the future. Coach Z said, "He's a genetic freak. All the great ones are."
Well, he's not a great one yet. A few days before his workouts D showed up late for his camp physical and then abandoned, out of apparent exhaustion and frustration, his stress test.
Your Choices: Pick Player A, Pick Player D, or Pass on Both
Put your choice in the comments… and for more fun, put your reasoning. But DO NOT GUESS WHO THE PLAYERS ARE. Have fun.