Strategy session: Ranking draft prospects by tiers
- Every time I put up a new mock draft (look for our newest one on Tuesday), I get a lot of feedback from readers who wonder how I put it together and how it differs from the Top 100. This is how it works: Both pieces are reported pieces. In other words, I talk with NBA scouts and executives to get a sense of:A. Which teams like which players (mock draft). B. What the consensus is among all 30 NBA teams about who the best players in the draft are (Top 100). I use the word consensus lightly. Often, even NBA GMs and scouts employed by the same team can't agree on their internal rankings of players. "I fight with my scouts constantly," one prominent GM told me. "Everyone has their own ideas, their own preferences, their own methodology. There really is no consensus and, I hate to say it, I'm not sure there's even any real right or wrong." Obviously both lists are imperfect because the draft is a bit of an inexact science. NBA teams do more than just watch prospects play games. They work out players, give them psychological tests, do background checks and conduct personal interviews. All of this factors into the process and could change opinions. Factor in the ranking wars with another age-old debate -- do you draft for need or for the best player available -- and it's no surprise that the draft can be so volatile. Many teams take into account holes at certain positions (i.e. the team has no small forward) or coaching/system preferences (i.e. the Suns draft players who can fit into Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo shoot-first-ask-questions-later system) when making their decisions. To make sense of disparate rankings and debates over team needs, several teams who have been very successful in the draft employ what I call a "Tier System" of ranking players. Instead of getting an exact order from one to 60 of the best players in the draft, they group players, based on overall talent level, into tiers. Then, the team ranks the players inside each tier based on team need. This system allows teams to draft not only the best player available, but also the player who best fits a team's individual needs. So what do the tiers look like this year? After talking to several NBA GMs and scouts who employ this system for their teams, I've put together these tiers. (Because the teams do not want to divulge their draft rankings publicly, the teams have been left anonymous.)Brian Spurlock/US PresswireThere's a lot for scouts to like about Greg Oden's game.
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Check out our full coverage of the 2007 NBA Draft.
• Ford: Pick-by-pick analysis
• Ford: Team-by-team draft grades
• Sheridan: Night belongs to Oden, Durant
• Blazers make Oden the No. 1 pick
• TrueHoop's draft coverage
• Katz: Upperclassmen the hip pick this year
• Dickie V's draft thoughts
• Updated list: Draft day trades
• Fantasy: Draft night advice
• SportsNation: Draft night poll
• Zoom Gallery: Draft night fashion
• Mock Draft, Version 6.2 -- Picks: 1-14 | 15-30
• Ford: Is Yi worth the risk? ... The tier system
MORE DRAFT COVERAGE
• Hollinger: Rating pro potential of college players
• Official list: Who's in/out
• Ford's Top 100 prospects
• Sports Guy's lottery picks
• Ford: 10 int'l players to watch
• Ford: Oden No. 1? Or Durant?
• 2007 NBA Draft Index
• Ford: Prospects to watch in '08
• Ford: Five who could be drafted in '07
• Durant workout impresses Blazers
• Odom so-so in Portland session
• Oden's wrist, and other red flags
• Draft notes and rumors
• Is Durant's stock slipping?
• Combine results: Who's the best athlete?
• Ford: Draft rumors
• Ford: Day 1 | Day 2 | Wrap-up
• Podcast: Kevin Pritchard, Dominique Wilkins
• Poll: Who should Blazers pick?
• TrueHoop: Secaucus heaven Blazer bliss
• Katz: Oden wowed Unhappy C's scene
• Broussard: Nice Trail mix
• Ford's blog: Lottery aftermath
• Conversation: Blazers | Sonics | C's | NBA
• Greg Oden -- is he Mr. Upside?
• Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, Carl Landry
• Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, Alando Tucker
• China's Yi Jianlian | No. 3 pick? | Rock star
• Florida's Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah
• Nick Young, Jason Smith, Bobby Brown