NBA Teams Should be Able to Scout High Schoolers

Thu, 08/25/2011 - 5:40am

Since 2005, NBA scouts have been barred from attending high school events.

Commissioner Stern seemed troubled over the influx of direct tickets from high school to pro, and eliminated NBA personnel completely from high school gyms.

Andre Drummond / Photo: Icon SMIAndre Drummond / Photo: Icon SMIBut now that five-year high school guys like Andre Drummond, Mitch McGary and Steven Adams are potentially eligible, the NBA should reevaluate their ridiculous rule that prohibits scouts from doing their jobs. If the new CBA remains the same and allows the trio to enter in 2012, how are teams supposed to scout these prospects? YouTube mixtapes and individual workouts?

You're telling me the NBA has three potential lottery picks for next year and they are going to keep teams from evaluating these kids, and this is a good thing?

No wonder the NBA is having financial problems right now. Just another example of a bad business decision.

Is Stern worried about adding pressure to high school prospects? I hope not. Pressure at a young age is good for most of these kids. Maybe the fear is about NBA voices chirping in their ears too early. Now, instead of experienced and insightful scouts providing valuable feedback, kids have their unqualified Uncle Mo giving reckless advice on how to approach their future.

From a scouting perspective, the rule makes it awfully difficult to construct a proper evaluation.

Brandon Jennings played a year abroad instead of playing in college. Scouts had to evaluate this 19-year-old kid in limited minutes against professional men at a slower pace. That’s like trying to decide if a girl sitting in a car has a good figure.

Even though Jennings was selected 10th overall, very few teams had him that high on their boards. Had Milwaukee not selected him at 10, Jennings would have slipped into the 20s in 2009, and everyone would have been blamed for missing the boat on him.

It’s a rule that benefits nobody. It stinks for scouts who can’t make proper assessments, and therefore choose Marvin Williams 2nd overall. It stinks for players like Jrue Holliday, who after playing robotic basketball as a freshman get passed on 16 times in the draft.

So if high schools are off limits to NBA scouts, why can they attend U16 tournaments in Europe? You're telling me these 16 year olds in Europe are professionals any more than their American counterparts? Where’s the consistency?

Frequently prospects are thrown into imperfect college situations that impede their progression due to clogged rotations or clashing styles of play. Being able to assess a player’s growth curve at age 16,17 and 18 is essential when attempting to evaluate them for the near future. It’s a lot harder to critique a film if you’ve missed the first 40 minutes.

Even when high school events were open to the NBA, few scouts took advantage. Most were vacationing in the Caribbean sipping overpriced drinks through a straw. It’s not as if high school games became NBA showcases. The ban in turn punished franchises that did their homework and spent time and money on high school scouting.

It’s easy to understand why someone like Drummond would want to avoid college. Just look at Josh Selby. A highly touted high school recruit, Selby looked to impress in an awkward fit playing limited minutes as a freshman. That one-year triggered many sour faces, leading to his eventual downfall from projected first rounder to mid second rounder.

It would be a concerning trend to see high school recruits think of college as a deathtrap. Players would feel more inclined to find loopholes, eliminating the possibility of being scouted in an environment that isn’t suited for them to flourish in.

By allowing scouts at camps and AAU events, it would give them a larger window for evaluation. Players would benefit from more appropriate feedback, and scouts have a more relevant perspective to give it to them.

The only person it doesn’t directly benefit is Stern, who sits smugly in his power chair pressing “image control” buttons like a kid in an elevator. With the CBA awaiting ratification, labor negotiations should have a new topic to address.

Registered User
Joined: 08/26/2011
Points: 3
Re:NBA Teams Should be Able to Scout High Schoolers

I agree that this double standard against American high schoolers has to stop.

It's an inconsistent message that's being sent to young talented players - one the one hand their sport is highly valued in the economy, but yet the players can't study and prepare for their future profession in school - it's treated like an extra-curricular activity, not an academic discipline. But yet, you get grades for phys-ed, and you can study sports management in university. What gives?

Our school-based North American basketball industry seem exploitative, because no one wants to admit that it's an industry, with real jobs and real money being generated!

It creates confusion among the fans and the players. If everybody (including the media) is getting paid, but the players can't get paid, then is basketball an industry, an extra-curricular activity, both, or neither?

Someone needs to make up their mind on this, and treat these talented kids the same as society treats talented child actors and singers.

Then the NBA could get back into the high-school gyms as they see fit. If you're good enough, you get drafted, if you can't play, then you can watch the NBA on TV like the rest of us.

Registered User
Joined: 05/29/2011
Posts: 941
Points: 1919
imiru... I couldn't agree

imiru... I couldn't agree more.

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