2020 Draft Grades & Fits
Let's get one thing out of the way: draft grades are as subjective as The Oscars. There may be criteria which are considered, but selecting between the nominees comes down to personal interest and gut feeling. There's enough proof and video footage to slant arguments towards any path the arguer would choose. You're reading this to be lead down the path I'm staring at.
Instant reaction to the draft places players in situations where I either feel they'll succeed, fail or fall somewhere in the middle, not living up to their best potential. A Big Board is a listing of players whose styles, upside and apparent talent intrigue me most. A post-draft recap would look at the surroundings and see how those might change based on the roles they'll play with new teams, the track record of development around them and the blockage or commitment to minutes where they'd be wise.
I'm all for being proven wrong, and generally am optimistic that every player is where they are for a reason. Only a handful of teams scored poor grades on draft night; the real answer for all 30 teams is "incomplete", as these are instant-reaction, way-too-soon judgments that writers get suckered into writing. As much as I try to stay above the fold, I can't help myself but to shake the crystal ball and believe I can see the writing more clearly than someone else. Hubris is not short in that regard.
Before going into the subjective rankings, I thought a fun project would be to look at the total overall grades from a statistical perspective: where the player was ranked in my Top 100 vs. their draft position. The difference (either positive or negative) would lead to each team getting a "net grade", then listing them in order of best to worst.
We're about 10 days away from the NBA Draft, and I'm ready to remove myself from overthinking, pull away from consensus and set my big board. It's been a one-of-a-kind scouting year, with nearly five months tacked onto the pre-draft process thanks to a global pandemic. The extra time has afforded scouts time to dive deeper into more prospects and get a clear view of the whole field. It's also afforded them the opportunity to over-fixate on certain details.
Some prospects have blossomed with the time off, rising their stock. Guys like RJ Hampton (working on his jump shot), Tyrell Terry (seeing massive weight gain and improving his body) or Den Avdija (playing in Israel and quelling some doubts about his shooting) have used the summer productively and could see boosts in their draft stock. There's been need for flexibility and re-visiting the prospects throughout.
But ten days before the draft, it's time to set our final big board. 100 Players and over 130 video scouting reports later, we're ready to fit our Top 100 in a large, all-encompassing piece below.
Before we dive in, a few reminders about what this big board really is and is not. This is, by our estimation, a calculation of the upside, downside and an averaging of the likelihood of hitting either. This is not a look at which players should, or will, be taken in what order. This version of the big board, our last, traditionally breaks hardest from consensus and puts players in the spots we believe they'll settle into. It's a look at, when all is said and done, who will have the best careers from this class.
There are ten tiers, with played labeled in order from tier to overall rank. So "3.8" means third overall tier, eighth overall on the big board. For a complete look at articles and videos on these prospects, please check out the Spreadsheet version of our Big Board.
Adam Spinella is a Division III basketball coach using what he's learned about scouting and skill development and applying it to the NBA Draft