Can someone post Chad Ford's trade buzz & draft tiers articles? Thanks
I second this request!
for some reason it's not letting me post it. I'll keep trying though.
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Every time I put up a new mock draft (Mock Draft 5.0 came out Wednesday), 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 rankings of players.
I had a very interesting conversation in Treviso, Italy, last week with a number of NBA executives and scouts about just how subjective this process is, how many backroom fights go on and how, from time to time, teams literally don't make up their minds until they are on the clock. They gave me a lot of funny examples (off the record). The point was that every team does things a little differently, and even within a team, there often isn't much consensus.
Obviously, both the mock draft and Top 100 are imperfect because the draft is an inexact science. NBA teams do more than 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 Knicks draft players who can fit into coach Mike D'Antoni's system) when making their decisions.
To make sense of disparate rankings and debates over team needs, the past few years I've 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 in 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.
Note: This category is usually reserved for guys who are surefire All-Stars/franchise players. Last year, John Wall was the only guy in this tier. In 2009, Blake Griffin was the guy here. This year, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams are at the top of the draft, but neither guy is projected as a franchise player or a surefire All-Star.
Note: Irving and Williams are the top two players on the boards of the teams I spoke with, regardless of team needs. Both players are projected to be starters and potential All-Stars. While it looks like Irving has the best shot of going No. 1, there's still an outside chance it could be Williams.
Note: This is a larger-than-usual Tier 3, and it says something about how NBA GMs are seeing this draft. They believe the six players above all have NBA All-Star potential, but all six have significant weaknesses that could keep them from living up to it. All six players were consensus top-10 picks. Leonard and Walker barely squeaked into this tier. A number of teams have them in Tier 4. Some teams believe Knight, Kanter and Valanciunas could all end up as Tier 2, or even Tier 1, players over time.
Note: This is a smaller-than-usual tier, and it was difficult to find a real consensus. Teams are saying that these seven players likely will fill out the rest of the lottery. This is where the real depth of the draft is. Biyombo, Burks, Singleton and both Thompsons each got one or two Tier 5 votes. Since we've listed 15 players, one of these eight likely will slip out of the lottery.
Davis Bertans (17 to 29)
Marshon Brooks (13 to 20)
Kenneth Faried (13 to 21)
Jordan Hamilton (11 to 19)
Tobias Harris (14 to 22)
Tyler Honeycutt (18 to 30)
Reggie Jackson (17 to 31)
Nikola Mirotic (20 to 30)
Darius Morris (21 to 35)
Markieff Morris (13 to 19)
Donatas Motiejunas (12 to 20)
Josh Selby (17 to 28)
Nikola Vucevic (14 to 21)
Note: These players look like locks for the first round but most likely won't make the lottery. A few teams had Brooks, Harris, Markieff Morris and Vucevic in Tier 4 but not quite enough for them to make the cut; they were very close, though. Bertans, Honeycutt, Jackson, Mirotic and Darius Morris were borderline picks here. Every one of these players dropped out of the top 30 on at least one NBA team's draft board.
Tier 6 (All First-Round Bubble)
Jon Leuer Shelvin Mack
Note: This is what I would call the first-round bubble group, and this is where the consensus started to break down. A few teams had Harper, Jenkins and Tyler in Tier 5, but many did not. Overall, there are just two spaces left in the first round ... so most of the players on this list are falling to the second round.
So how does the tier system work?
A team ranks players in each tier according to team need. So, in Tier 4, if point guard is the biggest need, a player like Fredette is ranked No. 1. If shooting guard is the biggest need, Alec Burks or Klay Thompson is ranked No. 1.
The rules are pretty simple. A team always drafts its highest-ranked player in a given tier. Also, a team never takes a player from a lower tier if one from a higher tier is available. So, for example, the Bucks are drafting No. 10 (Tier 4 territory); if Kawhi Leonard (a Tier 3 player) is on the board, they take him regardless of positional need. If the Bucks have Klay Thompson ranked No. 1 in Tier 4, they still take Leonard, even though shooting guard is a more pressing need.
This system protects teams from overreaching based on team need. The Bucks won't pass on a clearly superior player like Leonard to fill a need with Thompson. However, the system also protects a team from passing on a player who fits a need just because he might be ranked one or two spots lower overall.
Last year, I gave you my favorite historical example from the Atlanta Hawks. Because of team positional needs, former GM Billy Knight took Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2005 and Shelden Williams ahead of guards such as Brandon Roy and Rajon Rondo in 2006.
Here's another one: The Raptors selected Rafael Araujo with the eighth pick in the 2004 NBA draft because they needed a center desperately. Most teams had Araujo as a Tier 4 player, but the Raptors selected him in a Tier 2 category because there were no centers available in their tier.
If the Raptors 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 1-30.
In that case, the Raptors likely would have grabbed a player like Andre Iguodala instead.
Like every draft system, the tier system isn't perfect. But the teams that run it have found success with it. The system 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.
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With the NBA draft less than a week away, the rumors are beginning to fly. Not only are GMs speculating about who will draft whom, but there's also quite a bit of buzz about potential trades.
Normally at this time of year, we see a number of big trades before and during the draft. This year is more complicated. With the league on the verge of a lockout, teams are unsure what the future holds. Typically a number of trades have to be completed after July 1, when teams get players off the books and have cap space to facilitate deals. This year, with a lockout that could go on for months, such future trades will be virtually nonexistent because teams are unsure how much cap space they'll actually have and whether handshake deals can last for months instead of just days.
Still, there is plenty of chatter about teams exploring deals that they could complete immediately.
It starts at No. 2, where the Minnesota Timberwolves continue to listen to offers for their pick. Although they continue to maintain that they are comfortable taking Derrick Williams at No. 2, their preference is to begin adding veterans to the team. If they draft Williams, they'll look to move Michael Beasley and possibly Anthony Randolph. But neither player has the same trade value that the No. 2 pick has. Potential trade partners include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
For weeks, the most realistic partner appeared to be the Wizards if they were willing to part with JaVale McGee. However, sources in Washington claim that they don't want to trade McGee. The center is a talent, albeit an immature one. But finding young 7-footers is hard to do, and the Wizards wouldn't have a natural replacement for him if they traded him.
Another realistic trade scenario involves the Suns. Phoenix is in hot pursuit of Williams and may have interest in a deal that would send Minnesota center Marcin Gortat and the No. 13 pick for the No. 2 pick and Nikola Pekovic.
The Cavs are also aggressively out there. As I reported in my Mock Draft 5.0, the Cavs have been heavily shopping both Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions around the league in anticipation of drafting Kyrie Irving at No. 1. You can add J.J. Hickson to that list as well, according to sources. The team is willing to package one or more of them with the fourth pick to get the No. 2 pick or a younger veteran to put on the floor with Irving.
The Jazz also will explore options to move down in the draft if they get the right offer. They like the No. 3 pick but don't sound wedded to it.
I've got my eye on the Bucks as well. For the past two years they've made big trades on draft night. They kept their pick both times, but this year might be different. The Bucks think that they're a 45 to-50-win ballclub if they're healthy. Adding another veteran to the mix might help push that along.
The Rockets continue to be aggressive as well, looking around the league for help ... any help. From what I can gather, no one in Houston is safe. The team especially would like to add a center, and there aren't a lot of great options at No. 14.
The Sixers are another team to watch. As ESPN's Chris Broussard has reported, Andre Iguodala is available and the Sixers are looking for size in return. Chris Kaman could be an option. But getting up into the top five in the draft could do it as well if the Sixers are OK moving forward at a slower pace. Is coach Doug Collins willing to risk sliding a bit to shore up the team for the future?
Finally, the Blazers have been aggressive, according to a number of GMs. They are out there looking for a starting point guard and would like to move way up in the draft to get one.
• Jimmer Fredette had his big workout in Utah on Wednesday. The word is that Fredette had an excellent workout, shot the ball well and even played some defense. The question du jour is whether he'll land with the Jazz at No. 12.
Two big obstacles remain in the way, Jazz fans. The first is the No. 3 pick. If the Jazz take Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker (who I hear is also strongly in the mix at No. 3), it's unlikely. If they take Enes Kanter or Jan Vesely instead, I think drafting Fredette at No. 12 becomes a strong possibility.
The second obstacle is the Kings. Although other teams are intrigued by Fredette, I don't think they'll take him. The Bucks were the one team that could've been in the mix, but sources say they're going to pass.
So would the Kings take a player at No. 7 whom most have as a late lottery pick? Yes and no. It's complicated.
Fredette isn't the top-rated guard on their board -- Brandon Knight is. Kemba Walker also has fans in the organization, but it's much closer between the two players. The Kings may feel that a bigger need is at the 3, and either Kawhi Leonard or Jan Vesely should be on the board there.
But that's half the story. The other half is the Maloofs, who are getting more involved in the Kings' front office. I'm told the owners are the ones who are pushing hard for Jimmer, and they may get their way.
I'm not sure they're wrong in pushing for him. Although it might be "high" for Fredette, he would be a good fit in Sacramento with Tyreke Evans. If you believe he can play the point, the Kings could have one of the most lethal scoring backcourts in the NBA down the road.
• A month ago, Boston College's Reggie Jackson was one of the hottest names in the draft. Now? He's disappeared. Jackson had a knee injury right before the Chicago pre-draft combine and had a minor procedure done that was supposed to keep him out of workouts for three weeks.
Jackson had scheduled workouts with the Pacers, Bobcats, Blazers and Bulls for the last week before the draft. Earlier this week, all four teams learned that Jackson would not come. They were told Jackson was still injured and wasn't able to work out.
Fair enough. But when the teams were also told that he wouldn't be coming in for interviews and that his team wouldn't be releasing medical information, everyone got suspicious. It sounds as though a team that has promised to draft Jackson in return for not cooperating with other teams has shut him down. It happens every year, and it seems it has happened again.
I don't know who has promised him. Three rumored teams -- the Blazers, Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets -- all say they haven't. The Blazers and Celtics don't make sense anyway. Both drafted similar players (Elliot Williams and Avery Bradley) last year with their first-round picks.
I would be shocked if he slides past the Heat at No. 31. Miami has loved him all season, and he'd be a great fit there.
• Big man Bismack Biyombo may be facing a bit of a backlash after a disastrous workout in Treviso, Italy, at the Adidas Eurocamp. Although the teams I spoke with sounded as though they had things in proper perspective (what do you think would happen if Biyombo shot for 30 minutes?), his camp may be getting nervous.
The NBA released its preliminary list of 12 prospects who will be invited to attend the draft and sit in a special green room. Biyombo wasn't on it.
The original plan was for Biyombo to show up in New York a day or two before the draft. He had refused all personal workouts. He would come just for the draft.
Now it sounds as though the plan has changed. Biyombo's people have reached out to at least two teams offering a private workout. One of the teams, the Pistons, still doesn't have a workout confirmed. Another team, the Knicks, will work him out early next week.
Biyombo is in an interesting situation. His draft range is still pretty wide. It starts at No. 8 with the Pistons, but I'm not sure he has a floor yet. If the Pistons pass, where would he land? The Bucks, Warriors, Jazz, Rockets, Sixers and Knicks are all possibilities. But none of them is a lock, either. He needs to find that backstop.
• The closer we get to the end of the first round, the more the draft consensus seems to be falling apart. I've spent the past two days talking to teams, and a number of people not in our first-round mock are getting serious looks in the first round. Our new Draft Tier Rankings has all of them listed as Tier 6 players. But they could make the first-round cut.
Cleveland State's Norris Cole and Georgia Tech's Iman Shumpert seem to be generating the most buzz. Both players have had great workouts. So has UCLA's Malcolm Lee, who I'm told was excellent in Utah's workout versus Jimmer Fredette and Kemba Walker. Florida's Chandler Parsons and Croatia's Bojan Bogdanovic also have some first-round buzz.
Cole has wowed with his athletic ability and his ability to get to the basket. I've had a couple of teams tell me he's the fourth-ranked point guard on their board behind Knight, Walker and Fredette. He could go as high as No. 21 to the Blazers.
Shumpert's athleticism, defense and size are all standing out as well. He's also been shooting the ball better, a big plus for him. The Knicks and Nuggets are both looking at him.
Parsons is coming off a terrific workout in Denver, where he and E'Twaun Moore sound like they stole the show. Parsons has drawn praise wherever he's gone. He has NBA size and an NBA skill set. If he can prove to teams he has the toughness to make it in the league, he may be a good pick.
Bogdanovic already has worked out in New Jersey and Houston. He will visit the Thunder on Friday and has the Spurs, Wolves and Celtics also lined up before the draft.
All six teams are real possibilities for him in the first round. Bogdanovic was the second-leading scorer in the Euroleague this season at 18 points per game. However, he's under contract for the next few years with his new team, Fenerbahce, and teams will have to patient. But he'd be a good late-first-round pick from a talent perspective. If he had no contract issues, he'd be a mid-first-round pick.
ignore all that other jibberish. Enjoy fellas
I think Jimmer should be in Tier 3. Could be an all-star if everything clicks. ... given how deep the point guard talent is in the league right now I think it will be a stretch if ANY of these point guards makes the all-star team, but I think Jimmer has a good a chance of any of these guys, especially if he starts on a team like the Kings who could get him tons of open looks and some good opportunities for assists.
I am thinking that if the Cavs take Derrick Williams at number 1 then there is a chance that Kyrie Irving will still be there at number 4 (and they are assured that a good point guard will be there or Kanter will be there), whereas if they pick Kyrie Irving 1st, Derrick Williams won't be there at 4 and Kanter (the second best big player) might not be there either. Jonas is a project and a bit of a stretch at 4. Kawhi Leonard might be more of a role player than a cornerstone. If I were the Cavs I would shop the number 1 pick to teams who are in desperate need of a point guard to see what they think of Kyrie Irving. If the demand isn't there they might need to rethink their own draft plans.
Wings and big men are the best option for rebuilding teams to build around, so they really need to get either Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter. If they can get both, great. They can put Kanter at center and let Williams play the 3 and some 4. On a good day Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions are very good point guards. Baron Davis and Sessions are both guys who could put contending teams over the top (i.e., Heat, Lakers) if they play up to their potential. So at this point, point guard really isn't their most pressing need. I would rather have a front line of Williams, Kanter, and Hickson going into getting a mid-lotto pick next year than going into the next draft with a top 7-10 point guard (Irving) and a slightly above average center prospect in Jonas. At the end of the day, a 38 year old point guard won a championship ring this year, an ancient point guard started on the other Finals team, and Chris Paul didn't get out of the first round, losing to a team that started Derek Fisher at point guard and who then got swept by the Mavs. Chris Paul's team won one more game than his former backup did (Darren Collison's Pacers lost 4-1 to the Bulls).
"Last year, I gave you my favorite historical example from the Atlanta Hawks. Because of team positional needs, former GM Billy Knight took Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2005 and Shelden Williams ahead of guards such as Brandon Roy and Rajon Rondo in 2006."
I seriously think this is a bad example. The Hawks biggest need at the time was a PG and a C. They had Joe Johnson, Josh Childress (who was solid), Josh Smith at the 2005 draft. They had bigger holes in PG and C.
I always thought they would draft Chris Paul there as he's the best player and the best fit for the Hawks at the time. Chris Paul was compared to Isiah Thomas at the time, so he's surely a tier 1 playr. Billy Knight is a complete idiot to draft Marvin Williams who was a 6th man and an unproven player at the time although he had high potential (which now proven to be not much). If the Hawks had a PG, then I could understand, but they didn't.
Billy Knight then somehow "redeemed" himself by drafting for "need" in 2006 and took Shelden Williams while he's widely considered as a teen pick at best (same mistake as Raptors in 2004). In 2006, the biggest holes for Atlanta was still PG and C. They tried to address the need in C and failed.
imagine cp3 runnin with j smooth and jj been very nice