FromCollegetoPros.com does not produce your ordinary NBA scouting report. We will not emphasize on standard scouting report criteria such as athleticism, defense, rebounding, and NBA readiness. Instead, FromCollegetoPros.com will attempt to formulate new criteria as part of the evaluation process. Below are the criteria I have developed so far. Additionally, this site will make a prediction on the outcome of the player’s career even before the player starts their NBA Career.
This will be defined as the player’s tendency to take matters into their own hands or to defer to teammates. Does the player attack the basket? Does the player take a significant amount of shots? If the player doesn’t take a lot of shots, does the player at least create shots for others? The reason I like aggressive young players is because they will tend to develop faster since they get more live game repetitions.
However, not all aggressiveness can be good. An aggressive player with low basketball IQ will result into poor decision making specifically displayed by turnovers and poor shot selection. Additionally, the combination of aggressiveness and poor shot selection will lead to an inefficient player that just hurts the team.
Low aggression does not necessarily mean that a young player will be a bust. It just means they will not fulfill their highest potential. Some players are just too talented that they are great despite not reaching their ceiling. A good example is Lebron James. It is in my opinion that Lebron James is the most talented player to ever pick up a basketball. Not only is he one of the most physically gifted basketball players ever but he has a great basketball IQ. He is an aggressive player for most of the game but not at the end of the game. If he was, he would have won a title in Cleveland. If he was more aggressive in closing out games, we would probably be on his way to surpassing Michael Jordan. As incredible as he is, I hold the opinion that he has not achieved his fullest potential.
2) Ability to create shots
off the dribble (for guards and wing players)
off the post or face up (for big men)
I definite the ability to create shots for oneself and for others. I value this criteria highly because players that can create shots are player worth building an offense around. They make other players better directly or indirectly. When the game is played at the highest level such as the playoffs, defenses tighten up and players who are able to create shots become more valuable.
For guards and wing players, there are two types of dribble-drive skills, the ball-handling and aggression dribble drive. See further definitions and examples here. Both skills are useful but the ball-handling dribble-drive is the more superior of the two.
If a player doesn’t possess a high ability in creating shots, it means that the player is likely at most the second best player on the team or an overrated star. An overrated star can happen when the player plays with a very good point guard and rarely has to create his own shot. A great player does not need a very good point guard. See Jordan and Kobe. However, the player is still one heck of a player and even a borderline All-star, just not a superstar or franchise player.
3) Performance against the best teams and players
When I evaluate a player, I like to look at how the player has done against top talent and the best teams. It answers two questions, 1) “does the player rise to the occasion?” and 2) “does the player have enough talent to compete with the best?” I look at not just one game but how the players does over numerous big games. Often, players that is a yes in both occasions are more likely to fulfill their potential.
4) Mental Make-up
How tough mentally is the player? It’s not about being a tough player. It’s about how the player will deal with adversity. How will a player respond to rough stretches? How will a player respond when he realizes that he possibly isn’t the best player on the floor? How will the player deal with coaching issues? How will a player react when he realizes that he is in trade discussions?
To me, this is the most difficult criteria to evaluate for a couple of reasons. 1) A young player is still young. We might not have seen the player ever have to deal with a tough situation. For the highly talented high school or college players, they usually are the best players on their team and have rarely seen players that are better than them. We also might not have seen how the player will handle tough coaching. 2) We are not close to and don’t have the complete understanding of the situation. With today’s media coverage, it is far easier to get information of a player’s mental make up. However, we also do see a lot of articles attempting to explain or provide an excuse surrounding the player’s questionable mental make-up. To me, the fact that those questions even arise is a telling sign itself.
It is my opinion that players that have significant issues as it relates to mental make-up will likely not achieve their full potential. See examples of players with questionable mental make-up in DeMarcus Cousins and Lamar Odom.