Talent evaluation is an inexact science. However, over the last 15 years, because of advances in technology and the ability to see prospects more, be it live on TV or through the Internet, we now know more about players on every level. However, what a college evaluator looks for and what an NBA talent evaluator sees differ.
Context is a big deal for NBA evaluators. In the Association, there aren’t 6-foot-2 shooting guards and sub 6-foot point guards had best be special talents. A 6-11 forward is likely to play facing the basket and 6-7 college power forwards find themselves having to transition to the wing in many situations. The NBA is a man’s game where strength and athleticism trump your collegiate production numbers. Size, length and measurable are tantalizing because of the largesse of the players on each NBA roster.
Sit NBA scouts in a gym at a major shoe camp or postseason all-star game and they’re more likely to see physical traits than the bigger picture with a player. Each year at the McDonald’s All American Game, you try and download the NBA scouts for what they’ve seen. A lot of times they become enamored with the biggest, fastest and most-upside laced players. A long, non-scoring seven-footer could carve out a role as a runner/rebounder (see Tyson Chandler) better than a 6-foot-3, 20 point per game score in college. It’s simply a different game on the NBA level played by giants at their position.
The NBA is a man’s league where size, length, athleticism and speed can trump basketball IQ and what your high school or college resume looked like. An NBA talent evaluator is more apt to see the physical abilities and how it translates to his league. While fans are enamored with the overall legacy of Tyler Hansbrough, an NBA scout sees the ceiling. He’s more intrigued by Roy Hibbert who owns a lesser resume but more NBA quantifiable attributes like length and size.
If an NBA general manager were to crank out the 10 most physically intriguing prospects in the senior class his list might look something like this.