Mock Draft Rewind 2012

One of the fun parts of this gig is trying to figure out where players will fall and how teams value certain prospects. In reality it’s a far from perfect system where the best Mock Draft nets eight correct first round picks (Jeff Goodman) and that is, good?

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Not a knock on the great CBS writer, NDI had six correct first round picks, but counting Anthony Davis feels like cheating.

That is the fun part. Speculation and chatter are just that at the end of the day because some teams may have a second round prospect ranked in the lottery and services like NDI can not project that. Correctly determining exactly where Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, and Fab Melo landed is not the priority in scouting talent. The priority is assessing which players are talented enough to make it in the NBA.

The Big Board and Mock Draft’s are a good way to assess that.

So instead of prematurely grading a team on a player they drafted to a team that is still being assembled and that the player has yet to play a single game on, I am going to grade NDI.

The first aspect to consider is that a lot of prospects that were once considered to be first round talents decided to go back to school. The likes of Patric Young, Cody Zeller, Tony Mitchell (North Texas), James McAdoo, and Myck Kabongo were graded as first round prospects in January, but obviously chose to stay in college another year.

With adjusting the Mock Draft and Big Board by taking the players who did not declare for the 2012 Draft out from January 17th (the first edition of the Mock due of the Lockout) here is how things turned out.

In terms of first round picks NDI had 25/30 first round picks in the Mock (24/30 graded as first round talents). Players that rose higher over time to draft night were Dion Waiters (Big Board 38, Mock 27), Damian Lillard (30,28), Moe Harkless (66,NA), Royce White (NA,NA), and Evan Fournier (33,NA). Waiters had a meteoric rise from the Combine (where he didn’t participate) and workouts (where he did nothing at all) to Draft Night.

Those misses are not completely out of bounds as White had yet to burst on the scene as the NCAA Tournament riser for the NBA Draft.

The other four were good prospects in January that were on the fence of actually declaring (like White) for the draft. Lillard, a small school prospect was the most likely to go pro and surged up draft boards between February and the Chicago Combine. Harkless, as a freshman very easily could have returned to continue learning the game.

Those were the players that five months before the draft were rated lower than they eventually went, back in January. Overall, more hits than misses though.

Focusing only on the first round like with the misses the players “nailed” were Davis (January Mock 1, Actual Draft 1), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (5,2), Thomas Robinson (3,5), Harrison Barnes (6,7), Rivers (10,10), Meyers Leonard (13,11), Jeremy Lamb (9,12), John Henson (12,14), Tyler Zeller (16,17), Terrence Jones (15,18), and John Jenkins (20,23) all went within three of the January Mock.

Others that were close, but not right on the money were Beal (8,3), Drummond (4,9), and Andrew Nicholson (23,19) all within five draft slots in January to today.

On the Final Mock Draft (51/60) and Big Board (55/60) NDI had much more success, then again it was posted two hours before the draft. Again, that is the fun part. Speculation with the guidance of very “helpful” sources like player agents and team officials leads the direction of Mock Drafts, which is why they are traditionally not a great representations of the actual draft.

The Big Board is the scouting tool that ranks players against each other on skill and NBA potential. People often ask, “What is the difference between a Mock and a Big Board?” Well, hopefully this explains it in some capacity.

Here is the 2013 Big Board (keep in mind this is the most raw and infantile version of it ALL YEAR. By January there should be some solidarity on the prospects and a clearer message).

Overall NDI had another solid year in evaluating and look forward to getting better in 2013 with the crop of talent. That is what this is about, evaluating talent. Not Mocking the Draft with guesses despite how fun the guessing is.

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