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Can someone post the Chad Ford ESPN insider article on tiers?

Discussion in '2021 NBA Draft' started by jogo, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. jogo

    jogo Member

    Oct 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Pretty please.
  2. smoothie

    smoothie Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2001
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    Every time I put up a new mock draft (Mock Draft 5.0 came out 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 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 last year. "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 can 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 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 Jazz draft players who can fit into Jerry Sloan's system) when making their decisions.

    To make sense of disparate rankings and debates over team needs, last year I chronicled a draft ranking system employed by several teams that have been very successful in the draft -- what I call a tier system. Instead of developing an exact order from one to 60 of the best players in the draft, these teams group players, based on overall talent, into tiers. Then, the teams rank 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 GMs and scouts whose teams employ this system, I put together these tiers. (Because the teams do not want to divulge their draft rankings publicly, the teams will remain anonymous.)

    Players are listed alphabetically in each tier.

    Tier 1
    Michael Beasley
    Derrick Rose
    Note: There seems to be a clear preference for Beasley on talent and for Rose on position. In other words, most of the folks I spoke with think Beasley is the more talented of the two but believe Rose's combination of size and athleticism at his position makes him the better choice.

    Tier 2
    Jerryd Bayless
    O.J. Mayo
    Note: Virtually every team I spoke with has Mayo and Bayless as the No. 3 and No. 4 picks in the draft, regardless of team need. A few teams argued that Mayo should be in Tier 1, but for now, I left him in Tier 2.

    Tier 3
    Joe Alexander
    D.J. Augustin
    Danilo Gallinari
    Eric Gordon
    Brook Lopez
    Kevin Love
    Anthony Randolph
    Russell Westbrook
    Note: Unlike last year, it is very difficult to get a consensus for this tier. Every team I spoke with has Randolph and Westbrook in this tier. Gallinari was almost a unanimous pick. And there was some debate about Augustin and Alexander, but enough of a consensus to put them here instead of Tier 4.

    Tier 4
    Darrell Arthur
    Donte Greene
    DeAndre Jordan
    Kosta Koufos
    Brandon Rush
    Note: There was a lot of debate about Jordan and Greene. A few teams have them in Tier 5. Koufos is gaining momentum at the moment and, along with Rush, has worked himself into this group.

    Tier 5
    Alexis Ajinca
    Nicolas Batum
    Mario Chalmers
    Roy Hibbert
    J.J. Hickson
    Serge Ibaka
    Courtney Lee
    Robin Lopez
    JaVale McGee
    Marreese Speights
    Ante Tomic
    Note: This is what I call the upside group -- a group of young, athletic, inexperienced players who have big upsides but significant risks. A few teams have Ajinca and Lopez in Tier 4.

    Tier 6
    Ryan Anderson
    Chris Douglas-Roberts
    Jamont Gordon
    Nathan Jawai
    Jason Thompson
    Bill Walker
    D.J. White
    Note: If you do the math, there are 35 players on the list. Why 35 guys for 30 slots? In Tier 6, I included every player a team has told me is in its top 30. I suspect that, had I polled every team, this number would have expanded to about 40.

    So how does the tier system work?

    A team ranks individual players inside each tier according to team need. So, if point guard is the team's biggest need, Russell Westbrook is ranked No. 1 in Tier 3. If power forward is the biggest need, Kevin Love or Anthony Randolph is ranked No. 1, depending on the team's preference. (See the table for an example.)

    TEAM B
    1. PF
    2. SF
    3. PG
    4. C

    Tier 3
    1. Kevin Love
    2. Anthony Randolph
    3. Danilo Gallinari
    4. Joe Alexander
    5. Russell Westbrook
    6. D.J. Augustin
    7. Brook Lopez
    8. Eric Gordon

    TEAM A
    1. PG
    2. SG
    3. PF
    4. C

    Tier 3
    1. Russell Westbrook
    2. D.J. Augustin
    3. Eric Gordon
    4. Anthony Randolph
    5. Kevin Love
    6. Brook Lopez
    7. Danilo Gallinari
    8. Joe Alexander

    The rules are pretty simple. You always draft the highest-ranked player in a given tier. So, for example, if the Warriors are drafting at No. 14 (Tier 4 territory) and Joe Alexander (a Tier 3 player) is on the board, they take him regardless of position. You never take a player from a lower tier if one from a higher tier is available. So if the Warriors have Darrell Arthur ranked No. 1 in Tier 4, they still take Alexander, even though power forward is a more pressing need.


    Team needs
    1. PF
    2. PG
    3. SG

    Tier 3
    7. Joe Alexander
    8. Brook Lopez

    Tier 4
    1. Darrell Arthur
    2. Brandon Rush
    3. Kosta Koufos
    This system protects teams from overreaching based on team need. The Warriors won't pass on a clearly superior player like Alexander to fill a need with Arthur. However, the system also protects teams from passing on a player who fits a need just because he is ranked one or two spots lower overall.
    Let me give you an example from the worst-drafting team over the past few years, the Hawks. Former Hawks GM Billy Knight said in the past that he takes the best player on the board, regardless of team need. He proved that in the past few years by taking Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2005, and taking Shelden Williams ahead of a point guard like Rajon Rondo in 2006.

    A source formerly with Atlanta's front office told me the Hawks had Marvin Williams ranked No. 1, Andrew Bogut ranked No. 2, Deron Williams ranked No. 3 and Paul ranked No. 4 in 2005. So on draft night, Knight took Marvin Williams with the No. 2 pick after the Bucks selected Bogut No. 1 overall.

    In a tier system, however, the source conceded that all four players, at least in his mind, would have been Tier 1 players -- in other words, the Hawks thought all four had equal long-term impact potential. If the Hawks had employed a tier system, they would have ranked inside the tier based on team need and fit, rather than just ranking the prospects from 1 to 30.

    In that case, the Hawks likely would have ranked either Bogut (they needed a center) or Deron Williams (they still need a point guard) No. 1. Marvin Williams actually would have been ranked No. 4 under that scenario.

    In any case, like every draft system, the tier system isn't perfect. But the teams that use it have found success with it. It has allowed them to get help through the draft without overreaching. Compared to traditional top-30 lists or mock drafts, it seems like a much more precise tool of gauging which players a team should draft.
  3. smoothie

    smoothie Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Likes Received:
    also -

    i printed this out and took it with me to the draft last year (ive been to the draft the past 5 years or so...whenever kwame was the first pick) and this thing was right on the money.

    if one team drafts unexpectedly for whatever reason (impending trade, or just because they're dumb), and the whole draft order is messed up, turn to the tier and you can predict the next few picks.

    it's pretty fun.
  4. jogo

    jogo Member

    Oct 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Thanks smoothie. I appreciate it.

    I love watching the draft and any extra info I have makes it more fun.

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