Going against the grain

Updated: January 6, 2010, 4:45 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

The NBA is a league in where teams try hard to get a superstar -- or two -- to anchor a roster. The reality is that some teams are lucky to have even one. What that means is that most of the guys in the league are role players; imperfect performers who can help in specific areas.

This is a key point to consider when it comes to identifying NBA draft talent. In particular, in sorting through the massive number of players who don't rise to the level of a superstar, scouts are looking at two key factors. First, a player needs to have a discernable NBA skill that will allow him to be an effective role player, whether that's a picture-perfect jump shot or relentless energy on the boards. Second, a player should be able to guard his position or he will expose his team's defense.

Not everybody finds those players at the top of every draft. Guys do fall through the cracks and become quality NBA players who help teams win -- there is a long list of guys who fit that description. And while it's still early in the college season, scouts are in the process of forming a general consensus of where a player will be drafted come June. As I'm watching games, I'm looking at the same stuff, and in some cases I have a different take on a player's value -- too low or too high -- based on what I've seen. Note that I'm not attempting to project where a player will be drafted (Chad Ford has that covered with his tireless work chatting up scouts and GMs), but where he should be drafted. For reference, I've included their current ranking on the Big Board.

Too Low