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 #2 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
You can choose:
Pass on both, but rank one above the other
Height: 6-11, Weight: 240 lbs
Senior season: 20.1 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.8 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. 24-7 record, reached state semifinals.
First-team Parade All-American, Mr. State Basketball
RSCI National Ranking at end of HS: #6
Like Garnett, E has freakish athleticism. Already bulkier than Garnett and could turn into more of a Webber type post player. Very graceful running the floor. Tremendous leaping ability. Passes and handles extraordinarily well for a 6-11 player. May still be growing. Touch on shots is excellent, and should only improve. Post game is solid. Very good shot blocker.
Strengths: Versatile player has the ability to shoot the ball inside and out ... Super athletic runs the floor, jumps out the gym, and has very good quickness ... Good rebounder due in part to his quick leaping ability and long wingspan ... Can handle the basketball very well like a guard and can even lead the fast break ... Good passer recognizes double teams well and makes quick adjustments ... Very good shot-blocker can cover a lot of area ... Can make the 17 foot jumper with some consistency and has even shown the ability to shot off the dribble ... Has a nice soft touch around the basket ... Unlike most young players, E understands what he can and can't do ...
Weakness: Not very comfortable playing with his back to the basket has a tendency to rush himself ... Although E has a good body he could use more upper body strength ... Post footwork still goes through periods were it can be choppy ... Falls in love with his jumper sometimes he settles for playing outside instead of mixing it up inside ... Low post offense is still developing although not bad but far from being consistent ... Has a habit of going for every shot that comes around him needs to learn how to be more disciplined on defense ... Hasn't really played against a high level of competition in high school ...
Height: 7-0, Weight: 235 lbs
Senior Season: 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 blocks a game. State championship, 31-4 record.
First-team Parade All-American (2001), 2× state Mr. Basketball, McDonald's High School All-America Team
RSCI National Ranking at end of HS: #4
Strengths: Super talented shot-blocker possesses all that is needed for a great defensive player: lateral quickness, explosiveness, long arms, and excellent timing ... Feels comfortable facing the basket can hit jump shots from about 16 feet out and has even shown the ability to hit the 3-point shot ... Super athletic runs the floor like a gazelle and can hop out the gym with the best of them ... Above average free throw shooter for someone of his size ... Moves around the lane well and has a feathery touch around the basket ... Has some decent passing ability, rarely gets trapped into a double team ... Biggest thing going for him is that he's a athletic 7-footer who has loads of untapped potential, the one thing scouts love more than anything ...
Weakness: Rail thin could stand to gain 20 pounds of muscle ... Against physical players, F didn't respond well and doesn't like to mix it up inside ... One would think as tall as he is that F would have some kind of post moves but instead looks very uncomfortable with his back to the basket ... Rebounding despite the high numbers isn't as strong as one would think because he lacks the intensity and lacks the upper body strength to be dominate rebounder at the NBA level ... Goes through periods during a game where his concentration lacks and doesn't really seem to hustle to make plays ... Could stand to upgrade his ball handling due to fact he lacks the post moves or strength to play the post and will be further from the basket ... Everyone talks about his immaturity but to honest if most kids before they went to high school were featured on 60 Minutes and tabbed a great one how many people would be able to take all the hype ?... Although clearly at 18 years old F could have some problems dealing with the fame and fortune of being a millionaire ...
Strengths: 7 footers with his athleticism come around every 10-20 years. Has good desire, and intelligence. Good shot blocker. Has good passing ability. Can shoot the ball well, and runs the floor like a deer. Has a chance to be a special special player in a few years.
Weaknesses: Strength, maturity. Will never have the strength of a Shaq. Initially, at just 225 pounds and an underdeveloped body, he will be forced to play away from the basket. Wants to be like Kevin Garnett and play on the perimeter, but has very underdeveloped ball skills. Doesn’t always display maximum effort. A jump straight to the pros looks likely, his body and mind are not ready for a 40 game season much less an 82 game one.
Your Choices: Pick Player E, Pick Player F, 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 #2
Most voters went with G, which was wise. Passing on both I believe was incorrect.
B. Eddy Curry (2002 #4). Report 1. Report 2. Widely regarded as a bust. Drafted into the same post-apocalyptic Bulls crapshow as Chandler (in the same year as Kwame Brown!!) Didn’t break into the Bulls starting lineup until his third year. He managed to stick in the league for 7 total years of playing a lot of minutes for bad teams at around a replacement level (~ 0.0 Value Over Replacement Player). His weight was a constant issue and in 2009, he had some terrible personal tragedies which he described in a heart-rending Players Tribune article. These knocked out his faltering NBA hopes.