There are so many different details that go into who the Phoenix Suns will ultimately pick in the draft. One thing all teams use as a reference on draft day, combines all the research and resources accumulated from their staff. That is the draft board.
Now just a day before the draft, the analytics team, International scouts, local scouts and members of the front office all convene and contribute to organize this draft bible or how Suns general manager Lance Blanks sees it, a pie chart. With the Suns picking 13, they are creating a board of anywhere from 12 to 16 players (or maybe more), which ranks all the top players in the eyes of the Suns and creates about every contingency plan possible depending on how the draft goes.
“There’s a percentage of your evaluation, every team I’m sure is different, that is just based on a season and how a guy might have played,” Blanks explained to the media on Monday when describing the draft board. “Some teams may not need the other data or information. A percentage may go on in Chicago (site of the NBA draft combine), the postseason, interviews and the actual workout in your city.”
The Suns themselves held seven organized workouts consisting of 30 players over the last few weeks as potential draftee’s were hosted in Phoenix. That is on top of the fact that scouts have been following a lot of these players for months, maybe even years. With so many factors that go into making one selection, it is very important to understand what will fit with the team and what will not.
“I think part of this process is knowing what to toss out and what to accept as reality,” Blanks mentioned. “We cross-reference our information, if we feel confident in the sources that we have with the information. Just because it’s said, we don’t take it for face value. I know just from being on this side of it so often, there are things out there that couldn’t be further from the truth, and sometimes it is very accurate.”
There may not be a set formula or an exact theory to go about this draft. However one thing is certain, Blanks and his staff will not alter their thinking and stay true to their draft board. Anthony Davis will go number one. There is also a guarantee that unexpected selections will occur and Suns will have to be ready.
“There’s a guy that you probably can’t see who slips in, and there’s a guy you don’t know of who falls off or a team ultimately passes on him, and then that just throws the whole thing in a tailspin. Which is why you really need to know the talent pool and what makes sense for your team,” said Blanks
Times have changed. In the internet and social media world that exists, people have access to far more information than ever. That is also the case for NBA front offices in scouting and gathering information for the draft. It is something that Blanks and his staff are rolling with and taking advantage of.
“When it first started, you didn’t have quite the amount of information that you had today with guys tweeting, representatives of theirs sharing information, the Internet,” Blanks stated. “It’s a different world in that regard from an information standpoint.”
All the hard work and countless hours put into creating this draft board will be brought to fruition on Thursday when the Suns draft with the 13th overall pick.
For more on the Suns draft, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.