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.
I put the answers to Game #1 at the end, so it’s not too late to go there and play before peeking:
James Wiseman Types
For our first few rounds, I decided to focus on past draftees that had similar mystery profiles to James 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
Imagine you have a lottery pick. You can choose:
Pass on both, with a ranking of B and G
Height: 6-11, Weight: 285 lbs
Senior Season: 22 points per game, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks. 2nd Place, state finals.
State Mr. Basketball, McDonald's All-American MVP, First-team Parade All-American.
RSCI National Ranking at end of HS: #1
Strengths: Has more strength and polish than Shaq at the same age. The only thing that can stop B from becoming the next dominant force in the NBA is B. Has off the charts strength. Athleticism is very good for a player his size. Has learned to score despite constant double and triple teams. Has a nifty turn around, can even knock down the occasional 18 footer. Unlike Shaq and Wilt, does not have the achilles free-throw curse.
Weaknesses: Weight has become a concern. Consistency. Has had his ups and downs over the course of his senior season. In a much hyped matchup, B left the 30+ scouts who came to see the matchup scratching their heads. Must continue to "want it" and develop to ever become the player that Shaq is.
Strengths: Huge at 290 he fills the lane and knows how to use his body runs the floor well though not a speedster ... Is the most mobile, and agile player his size that I have just about ever seen ... Physical inside player draws contact and gets to the free throw line ... Good hands, catches most passes thrown into post after getting it he can power the ball to the basket or use his variety of post moves ... Explosive leaper gets off the floor quickly and can dunk with authority ... Unlike many young power players B doesn't struggle from the free throw line ... Due to his strength and surprisingly quick jumping ability B can rebound with the best of them ... Limitless potential the only thing that could stop B from achieving star status is him ...
Weakness: Height although he is listed at 6-11 he looks about 6-10 so one has to wonder will he continue to grow and what position will he play power forward or center ... Has not always been in the best of shape one has to wonder if he has the drive to keep himself in shape ... Must continue to watch his weight (B did lose 30 pounds this season) as he has a tendency to waver a few pounds during the season ... Looks lost when he is 14 feet from the basket needs to develop some moves facing the basket... Has had some games where he has looked sluggish and uninterested in the action although to his credit this usually didn't happen all that often but has happened enough to worry some scouts ...
Height: 6-11, Weight: 243 lbs
Senior Season: 25 points, 18 rebounds, 8.1 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. State title, 31-2 record.
Naismith Prep Player of the Year, McDonald's All-American Game MVP, First-team Parade All-American, Mr. State Basketball, Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, Gatorade National Player of the Year
RSCI National Ranking at end of HS: #1
Strengths: How much time do you have? Seriously, though, G has almost too many strengths to mention. He’s a beast in the paint offensively, using exceptional footwork and quickness to perform a stunning array of post moves and finish with both hands. But he’s also an excellent passer and capable ball-handler who can step away from the basket and knock down jumpers. In addition, he runs the floor, blocks shots and rebounds as well as any big man in the draft. Although he’s probably headed for a career at power forward in the pros, G’s versatility, size and athleticism could allow him to play center or even small forward down the line. And if all that isn’t enough, he’s also extremely mature and is a hard worker.
Weaknesses: There aren’t many. Some critics fear he lacks passion and might be more Kwame Brown than Kevin Garnett. Aside from that, his biggest weaknesses are lack of experience and strength, which can be said of all players who come straight out of high school. He’ll obviously have to adjust to the physical nature of the NBA, and it remains to be seen whether he can continue to dominate against players who are all his size or bigger. Essentially, G’s main weakness is that he’s not as proven a commodity against big-time competition.
The Lowdown: G has a much bigger upside because of his versatile skills. Because of that, don’t expect to see G name on the board past the No. 2 pick. In our opinion, G has the best chance of anyone in this draft to be a superstar down the line. He’s certainly not a sure thing, but he’s the horse we’d bet on.
Upside: At his size, he can do just a little bit of everything. He dominates in the paint but also has the ability to step out and hit shots on the perimeter. His ball handling is very good. He's murder on the fast break. He's quick off the dribble and off the floor. He's not afraid to crash the glass and is an excellent shot blocker. He hustles, has a nose for the ball and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He's mature, a hard worker, has a great attitude and has improved dramatically over the course of his three years playing high school ball.
Downside: Not much. The biggest complaint from scouts is a perceived lack of passion. "You hate to claim that a guy might be too nice for the NBA, but that's about the most that I can come up with," one scout told Insider. 'I'm not sure he really has the edge that the great ones like Garnett and [Amare] Stoudemire had." Every other scouting report is pretty similar. Comments like "he needs time to develop" or "he needs to be a little nastier" are about the only negative things you hear. When Insider saw him in a workout in mid June a few more things stood out. He wasn't in great shape. His shot was all over the place and he seemed to struggle to pick up some basic low post moves.
Your Choices: Pick Player B, Pick Player G, or Pass on Both
These players were drafted between 2000-2010, so before the Warriors revolution, so draft that way.
Put your choice in the comments… and for more fun, put your reasoning. But DO NOT GUESS WHO THE PLAYERS ARE. Have fun.
If you PASS on Both, you have to say which of the two players you think will be better.
Answers to Game #1
A. Andrew Bynum (2006 #10). Report 1, Report 2.. 1x All-Star, 1x All-NBA. Made big contributions to the Kobe Bryant - Pau Gasol Lakers Dynasty starting with the middle of his second season. Could never shake injuries, possibly related to weight challenges, which limited him to 418 games and made him a disappointment for PHI, CLE and IND.
I think every guess in Game 1 was either D or Pass on Both. I think clearly D was better than A, so good job, people. But A did end up being a contributor so I think Pass on Both was incorrect.