We are extremely honored to be a part of the TPG Pro Scout School for the past two years. This year’s was once again a truly remarkable learning experience.
Here are the Top 10 things to know about scouting and talent evaluation:
- Identify – Quickly survey the player’s body type. Knowing what to look for in a player’s body and having the ability to recognize the positives and negatives of what will translate is important. Being able to see a player and get a good idea of his measurables is a key skill for evaluating talent. Recognize positional size, length, hands, feet and overall body type for a projected “NBA position.”
- What Translates – What are the translatable skills for his position? Beyond positional size, what skillset does the player possess that will translate? Understanding that each position has different characteristics that are more important is key. Versatility is extremely important in today’s league. Can he defend multiple positions? A player’s position is usually determined by whom he can defend.
- Good Information – “Good info wins” is a very common saying within NBA circles. The better the info the better chance you have to getting a decision correct. There is information and then there is good information. Ensuring that your information is coming from the right people and in a timely fashion is key to being successful in the league. This goes back to the importance of healthy/trusting relationships in order to get “good information.”
- Efficient Travel – One of the hardest things to do in scouting is preparing a great schedule for maximum coverage. Scouts need to make sure they are spending their time as wisely as possible. Any wasted time could result in missing out on vital information. Taking the time to come up with the most efficient schedule will prove worthwhile.
- Research – Daily research is a staple in scouting. Articles, stats, game info, injury reports and general information are all important. Collecting information is one of the most important things in this business. Scouts need to constantly keep up with all of the news and proceed accordingly
- Background Info – No matter the level, it is always important to find out what makes a player tick. Everyone has seen examples of players with plenty of talent who were mentally weak or who continuously make bad decisions. Retrieving background information on prospects is vital for communicating to an organization that everything checks out.
- Agents – Having a good relationship with many of the power brokers is essential for knowing the market. Getting information from agents before most others helps keep scouts informed and ahead of the game. It’s a good way to find out what agent’s clients are thinking and planning, and also any other news within the market. The relationship is also important for workouts, draft status and free agency.
- Go Early / Stay Late – Since scouts are in the business of collecting information, it’s always beneficial to be one of the first ones to arrive everywhere and the last to leave. This allows ample opportunity to see as much as possible and talk to as many people as possible. The most important information could come when least expected, so it’s smart to always be prepared and in the right spot.
- Communication – Staying in constant communication with the rest of the organization keeps everyone on the same page and helps the team run successfully. From the GM to the Advance Scout, everyone should communicate. One person might have collected information that could help someone else in the department, so passing that information on ensures nothing is being overlooked. This is another reason why relationships are so important in the league.
- Too High / Too Low – Be able to identify a real talent whether the player has the game of his life or the worst showing ever. Don’t get fooled by one or two outliers. Focus more on the player and how his game can translate to the pros instead of the actual game itself. Just because a guy can create his own shot in college doesn’t mean he is going to be able to do the same in the NBA. Don’t get too high or too low after a game. Always remember that the NBA game has different rules, different spacing and different rotations which means that specific things translate.
Bonus: Don’t ever think you have it figured out. Your eye will continue to get better.