Early Returns: 2020 Draft Class
The work never ends on draft night. For scouts, following these guys into their NBA careers is the validation or invalidation of the entire process. An unbiased eye and examination of their performances when they get to the NBA not only shows which players we got right or wrong, but informs what traits or characteristics we perhaps have overlooked.
It's early. Most of these guys have played ten games or less. These are snap judgments that likely won't mirror how this class always turns out. There are guys who come out of the woodwork late, who need time to develop, and an instant-reaction analysis like this doesn't take them into consideration.
Regardless, we can glean a few areas where we're clearly wrong or clearly right already. I'll attempt to balance all those factors in a quick analysis below:
This past year, ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz put forth a series of film sessions with draft prospects. The series was designed to mimic the basketball version of Jon Gruden's Quarterback Camp, an ESPN segment that was wildly popular among football fans. Schmitz doesn't bring the heat or turn out the humor in the way Gruden does, instead opting for conversation, analysis driven by fixing mistakes and highlighting positives and giving the prospects an opportunity to let their IQ and personality shine.
The final point is a big one. In QB Camps with Gruden, he was the dominant voice in the room. Schmitz does a great job laying out and letting these hoopers be the focal point. It makes for much better conversation and, to be honest, makes them more comfortable.
While this was likely a series done during the pandemic as a means of creating content, I hope ESPN continues with it. Mike is great in this role and these are genuinely useful videos.
The question is: how?
When watching these interviews, what are teams/ scouts trying to get from it? After seeing a great deal of them this past summer, I'll attempt to frame the conversation around what key takeaways should be focused on when viewing.
Adam Spinella, Head Boys Basketball Coach, Boys' Latin School (MD)