Monday, June 17, 2019
Mock Draft Monday: Inside the 2019 mock draft process
The 2019 NBA Draft is on Thursday at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN, which means it is the time of year in which I am scrambling to get my mock draft done in time. It's a hectic process, but a lot of fun at the same time. In this blog post, I would like to quickly address how I go about compiling my mock draft so as to give everyone a better understanding of the process that I undertake.
#1. I get the picks figured out before the analysis: In years past, I used to laboriously write analysis pick by pick, which made the whole mock draft much more stressful. Some of the following fears used to cross my mind: What if I don't get it done in time? What if I crap out at pick #50?
Those fears have subsided as I first take care of the full mock draft without analysis. This way, I know that if worse comes to absolute worse, I at least have a mock draft to show everyone even if it's light on the analysis.
By the way, for those that are curious, I do have a rough draft mock draft completed with all 60 picks. I won't give it all away right now, but I will tell you that I have Zion Williamson going #1 overall to the New Orleans Pelicans, Ja Morant going #2 overall to the Memphis Grizzlies, and R.J. Barrett going #3 overall to the New York Knicks. #60 to the Sacramento Kings is Nevada shooting guard Caleb Martin. Picks 4 through 59 you'll have to wait until late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning to find out what those are!
#2. I pay attention to other mock drafts: The main NBA draft site I go to for information, big boards, and mock drafts is NBADraft.net. I help them out with some analysis of prospects and in general I've always been a big fan of the site. While I don't copy my mock draft from them or anywhere else, I do want to make sure that my selections are within the window of relative probability. E.g. I don't want to have a guy projected to go in the top 25 slide into the mid 40s on my mock.
#3. I first focus on what a team needs. If an immediate need isn't obvious, I roll with best available: When thinking about which player to peg where, I look at each team's roster and see what they most need. For example, if a team has a young point guard that is excelling, but is in need of a wing, I'll have them select a wing over a point guard provided the wing is within the window of being picked in that slot. If there isn't such a player that fits a pressing need, then I have the team take the best player available even if they already have a talented young player at that position. I know I said I wouldn't give away any more secrets, but this is exactly how I approached the draft selection of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They don't need a point guard given the presence of Collin Sexton and I think there are other positions of need that they can adequately address with the #5 overall pick.
Quickly touching more on best available, this usually means highest rated player, but sometimes it can mean the guy who I feel has the most potential. Oregon center Bol Bol for example is a bit of project, but he has a ton of potential due to his physical tools and natural gifts. I'm going to factor that into the "best available" equation in addition to who is the best player right now. Remember, the draft is all about projecting who will be the best in five years and beyond. Some teams have an immediate need, but others can be more patient and see how guys pan out.
Also, if a team has multiple picks, I might be a little more liberal in them rolling the dice on a guy who has very high odds to either boom or bust. If a team has just one pick in the first round for example, I figure they'll probably be more conservative with their selection.
#4. I don't try to predict trades: Predicting trades is impossible to do even if you sense one. E.g. The Lakers trading the #4 overall pick to get Anthony Davis. I operate under the assumption that the team in the slot will make that pick and then if a trade happens, it is what it is. That said, I do try to wait until Wednesday night to post my mock draft to account for as many trades as possible, but at the end of the day, trades are a monkey wrench in the mock draft that you just have to accept.
#5. The mid-late second round is a total crap shoot: There are probably 35-40 players in any given draft that you know are going to get picked, it's just a matter of where. Some could go late first round, others could do early second round, but you know with about 90-95% certainty that they're going to get picked somewhere.
Outside of those 35-40 guys, it's anyone's guess who gets picked with picks #41-60. Rather than going off the big board or sticking to the script, I have some fun with these picks and see what sticks to the wall and what doesn't. I don't give it too much thought because the late second round typically is pretty random. Remember Chukwudiebere Maduabum going #56 to the Lakers (traded to Denver) in 2011?
#6. I'm not afraid to make my mock draft unique: Why have a mock draft if it's just like every other mock draft? This doesn't mean you ignore projections, data, and scouting reports, but if you're going to do a mock draft, make it your own. Have some fun. You never know what prediction you have will come true and it's more fun to have a unique take that nobody else has (provided you have sound reasoning to back it up).
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