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View Full Version : Are March Madness performances overrated when evaluating draft picks?



CraigInSanJose
03-22-2010, 04:30 AM
It's a good question to ask. While watching games and looking at box scores the past few days this thought ran through my mind. Sure, he tournament is compelling and we all love to see guys rise to the occasion and gives us something we can remember for a while; a young player coming into his own on the grandest stage in college basketball.

However, after the dust settles, regardless of how a player's team finishes, as long as that player did well for himself he will almost surely improve his draft stock. As fans we are excited to see what a player can do for our NBA franchise and we are even more excited since we have just seen him go off in the tournament and think about that all the way up to the draft.

This has lead to many, many teams making great errors in judgement on many players though. Sure while the dance is about players being players in clutch moments, but how many guys, while talented, got lucky and have some of these great moments at the most publicly viewed time and therefore almost trick us into believing they are better than what they really are?

When you think about it, the best gauge for a player's talent is actually the regular season. College basketball's regular season is balanced for most teams between the cake squads and teams that will challenge you and everything in between. It is a grinding schedule at times involving a high level of travel and playing well the whole time knowing that even just a few losses are the difference between making the dance and going to the NIT. How different is this than the road to the NBA playoffs?

If anything the dance just shows us who can be a clutch player in the right moment, but replicating that intensity and focus is near impossible to do on a nightly basis. To me it shows more character when a guy can stay focused and lead his team all season long while playing teams that are barely in Division 1 to the ACC powerhouses than if he can pull a rabbit out of his hat for a few weekends.

Every year there seems to be at least one, if not more player, who plays his way into the lottery because of an impressive tournament when in fact he was considered a fringe first rounder with sketchy potential and numerous question marks before hand into this goliath of a prospect with untapped potential and holes in his game that can be ignored.

Don't believe it? Let's talk about 2009.

How many folks wondered if Tyler Hansbrough would be a 1st rounder? Go ahead and raise your hands. After leading UNC to a nationial championship though he's a lottery pick. Was it the only reason? No, he had a long and storied college career. Would he have been drafted that high had they been out in the second round though? I have a hard time believing yes.

Hasheem Thabeet? He got DESTROYED by Dejuan Blair during the regular season, but he was able to pick on smaller guys on televised games during the tournament and everyone was convinced he was the next big thing even if he was a bit of a project.

Stephen Curry? Can you HONESTLY tell me that you would consider this kid even a first rounder if Davidson didn't go on the run they did in 2008? Would you have even known who Davidson was? Some people might lie and say yes, and hey some might actually be telling the truth. For most of you I have this to say, look at ANY college season and see that one of, if not the top scorers, in the nation is from a school you have probably heard of once or twice and the player is someone you don't even know. Sure Curry has a better bloodline, but if Davidson doesn't have a good tournament then Steph Curry isn't even talked about. Don't believe me? Then why aren't Aubrey Coleman-Houston, Marquez Haynes-TX Arlington, Devan Downey-S. Carolina, Adnan Hodzic-Lipscomb and Adrian Oliver-San Jose State being talked about as first round picks? Those are 5 of the top 7 scorers in college basketball and maybe half of them will get drafted at some point.

Now these 3 guys aren't terrible players in their young careers, heck Curry is possibly the ROY. However, it is ridiculous to say that the dance didn't IMMENSELY help their draft stock. Sometimes, in the case of Curry especially, that's not a bad thing. Too many players get overlooked because of who they play of where their school is. There are so many talented players that don't get recruited by big schools because of how small their HS is, where their HS is or because their stats aren't as gaudy because their team wasn't as good and they were being double or triple teamed all game because opponents didn't have to worry about their teammates scoring. I feel sorry for those guys because they will never get the exposure of players at UNC, Duke, Kansas or Kentucky unless they do something borderline AMAZING.

However, for every Stephen Curry there is a Tyruns Thomas, Patrick O'Bryant, Joe Alexander, Corey Brewer, Adam Morrison, Shelden Williams, Marvin Williams, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Rafael Araujo, Luke Jackson and Kirk Snyder among others to follow those who got drafted much higher because of what they did during tournament time or in some rarer cases nationally televised games that got huge exposure.

Many of them end up being good or even great players who were worthy of being drafted as high as they were, many deserve to be picked even higher, and that is not my argument.

I think the best gauge of how good a player is looking at their regular season numbers, regardless of conference as long as the competition he is playing against is solid more often than not. The comparisons to an NCAA regular season and the NBA's can't be overlooked. From the traveling, playing on short rest, going to other school's home crowds and being heckled, staying focused while playing easier squads and even more focused while playing the tougher opponents; these are all things NBA players do during the season and that to me means more than a couple of games in March. No matter how special they play during that stretch or how many memories they give us.

Sure what a player does all season long does go most of the way in deciding his draft value. However, is it fair to say that what we see over a few weeks in March that has us dreaming of the possibility of a player being as clutch as he is and elevating his game to amazing levels of play all season cause us to overrate his draft position?

I think so.

Feel free to add your thoughts.

Hawkeye15
03-22-2010, 06:42 AM
simply put, yes. Tyrus Thomas. Nuff said (and that is one example, there are many)

alencp3
03-22-2010, 07:43 AM
Long post i dont read too much

NY Till I Die
03-22-2010, 08:09 AM
Yes in the NBA your individual talent is what matters the most. Then your ability to play team ball under a certain system. Perfect examples of players who stock rose while playing in the NCAA tournament. Caron Butler - aside from off the court issues he had and a knee injury that scared teams like the Knicks away from drafting him, his stock rose after dominating in the tournament.

Chris Paul, Richard Hamilton, Rey Allen are some others to name a few.

DLeeicious
03-22-2010, 11:55 AM
tl,dr. But, yes it's a small sample size, period. You can see how someone will do under pressure I guess but it's in no way an indicator of how they will be at the next level, just seeing a few games in a tournament.

Draco
03-22-2010, 12:07 PM
Everyone thought Thabeet was going to be the next big thing?

GMs making 'errors in judgment' is, in most cases, probably the result of not having a lot of information to go on rather than GMs weighting a tournament performance more than a regular season performance. The fact is no one know exactly how GMs come to their decisions... As far as lack of information, since Thabeet's a three year college player, Heisley/owner/whoever's calling the shots in Memphis might be one exception.

hans dolo
03-22-2010, 12:15 PM
everyone thought thabeet was going to be the next big thing?

Gms making 'errors in judgment' is, in most cases, probably the result of not having a lot of information to go on rather than gms weighting a tournament performance more than a regular season performance. The fact is no one know exactly how gms come to their decisions... As far as lack of information, since thabeet's a three year college player, heisley/owner/whoever's calling the shots in memphis might be one exception.

+1

Raph12
03-22-2010, 12:38 PM
Mario Chalmers... Nuff said.

29$JerZ
03-22-2010, 01:18 PM
Each GM has a different way to evaluate talent, the scouting staff also plays a big part.

A Big tournament performance does help evaluate talent, Steph Curry went from being a nodody to a possible last 1st rounder that 1 year he helped Davidson and now he was the 7th pick.

It goes both ways but to say it doesn't do much good is wrong imo

DaBUU
03-22-2010, 01:21 PM
Ben Gordon had a great NCAA run, then was taken #3 overall. 'nuff said

Hawkeye15
03-22-2010, 01:23 PM
McHale let it effect him, hence Corey Brewer and Randy Foye.

29$JerZ
03-22-2010, 01:25 PM
McHale let it effect him, hence Corey Brewer and Randy Foye.

I understood the Brewer pick at the time, strictly for defense.
The Foye pick I never understood.

Chronz
03-22-2010, 01:31 PM
Yea Corey Brewer exemplifies everything that is wrong with scouting based on winning tradition. The guy was a role player on a college team big whoop, that alone should send red flags. McHale was really lazy on that pick.

So yes its overrated, the smart GM's dont focus on that but on your individual and athletic markers. Thats not to say winning doesnt matter, but like in the pros, people make too much of it.

Anyone know why Ty Lawson went so late?

Buckwheat
03-22-2010, 01:36 PM
Yes in the NBA your individual talent is what matters the most. Then your ability to play team ball under a certain system. Perfect examples of players who stock rose while playing in the NCAA tournament. Caron Butler - aside from off the court issues he had and a knee injury that scared teams like the Knicks away from drafting him, his stock rose after dominating in the tournament.

Chris Paul, Richard Hamilton, Rey Allen are some others to name a few.

This post gives me a headache.. You say too much stock is put into it but Caron Butler, Chris Paul, Rip, and Ray Allen were all guys who had high stock because of the tourney.. Didn't they become successful NBA players? Maybe I'm just not understanding what you're trying to say.

Iodine
03-22-2010, 01:38 PM
Oh god its not even funny how overrated this is. I mean Corey Brewer is a good example but my personal fave is Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Eagles4Lyfe
03-22-2010, 01:51 PM
this year jordan crawford is looking nice

juggla53
03-22-2010, 01:52 PM
Each GM has a different way to evaluate talent, the scouting staff also plays a big part.

A Big tournament performance does help evaluate talent, Steph Curry went from being a nodody to a possible last 1st rounder that 1 year he helped Davidson and now he was the 7th pick.

It goes both ways but to say it doesn't do much good is wrong imo


Carmello Anthony and D-wade benefited from great tournaments as well, they would've been 1st round picks regardless but great tournaments deffinatley helped raise their stock.

kingofmyworld
03-22-2010, 02:22 PM
The answeer is simply YES! and way too much
Coming from a Warriors fan and I'm sure I can speak for all Warriors fans look back at the 06 draft and tell me that Patrick O'Bryant would even be a first rounder if it wasnt for him leading Bradley to the Sweet 16.
Other examples are Adam Morrison (not right even being a first rounder)
Mike Dunleavy, Okafor, Felton, May, I could keep going but I'll just stop and simply say unfortunately yes

sargon21
03-22-2010, 10:56 PM
no, the good players come through, sure not everyone that plays well when it counts in march madness, but enough players do, to make it mean something