Big Dance, bigger mistakes

NBA teams that pay too much attention to the NCAA tourney get burned on draft day

Originally Published: March 18, 2009
By Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine

With the NCAA tournament upon us, prepare to hear about the NBA draft stock of various players rising and falling with each shocking upset or overwhelming victory. It sounds crazy, right? NBA teams track star players through dozens of high school, AAU and earlier collegiate games. Then teams interview everyone and anyone near and dear to the players while also administering workouts and medical exams. Yet somehow, a few one-and-done contests against what are usually wholly unfamiliar opponents could determine players' professional futures.

"We talk about this a lot," said one Western Conference front-office source. "We joke, 'He's 20th, now he's 17th ... "