Jump for Part II!
Golden State of Mind: Do you envision Bay Area hoops product Jeremy Lin getting selected somewhere in the 2010 NBA Draft? What can Lin do to improve his draft stock?
Aran Smith (NBADraft.net): I could see it but I don't think it will happen. Lin is an inspirational story and could find a spot with a team but he's got some major obstacles considering he doesn't really fit a position right now. I see him as more of a 2, and at 6-4 he's undersized. If he can show that he can run the point guard position and defend top level athletes, it would help his stock. He has a fearless mentality and is a good scorer, plus the marketing possibilities, but still dominating the Ivy League isn't the same as dominating the Big East. Plus the seniors are getting squeezed out by all the underclassmen leaving prematurely.
Golden State of Mind: Sites like yours have become the standard that we judge NBA GM's in many ways. You could say you have some part in who we all think is a "safe pick" at a certain spot. Do you feel that you have had some influence on draft night over the years?
Aran Smith (NBADraft.net): I've had scouts tell me that the site does. And yes I do think we have
an influence. How much, exactly, is tough to say. We get a lot of feedback from teams on where we rate players before and after the draft, and we attempt to show both where that general consensus is on players and where we defer from it. Sometimes teams make picks that are well received by their fan bases and sometimes they go out on a limb based on the general consensus. We probably have just as much influence on how picks are perceived or will be perceived by team's fan bases and that in turn factors into a team's decision making.
Straying from the consensus and missing looks a lot worse than going with the consensus and missing in the eyes of a team's fan base. So that has to factor into the decision making process for a GM without job security. Teams respect our work and many (I believe) use our projections as a base, or at minimum their scouts use the site as a
reference point, particularly as the NBA season winds down and the focus shifts toward the draft. I like to think we do a good job of projecting how players will turn out. That's where the real scouting comes in. To me that's a lot more rewarding than projecting how a draft will turn out. We've been projecting the draft with a 2 round
format with mock drafts for the current and following year since the year 2000. In 2003 we projected 16 of the first round picks correctly.
Golden State of Mind: How do you personally judge the quality of a draft class? Is it depth of legit NBA players? Most potential all-stars? Number of potential superstars?
Aran Smith (NBADraft.net): I think it's a combination of those things. Obviously you want to have a one or two potential hall of famers or at least superstars and then more all star level players and non-busts as possible. Having 4-5 or more quality second rounders helps too.... I would take a draft with lots of quality and few busts over one with 2-3 hall of famers and little else, so I guess my preference is depth when comparing drafts. But obviously you need some star power too.
All of us at GSoM wanted to thank Aran for fielding our questions. Hopefully we can grab him for a hot minute when things get even more hectic in draft land come May and June.
Make sure to keep close tabs on NBADraft.net. The future of the NBA has already been scouted.