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Examining the Varied Approaches of NBA Scouts Honing Their Craft

With the NBA Draft and Summer League approaching, scouts go about finding talent in different ways.


Though the Heat and Spurs are two squads currently in the thick of a heated NBA Finals matchup, neither team has turned its back on player development in recent weeks.

Both teams, like all the other squads sent off to play golf earlier this offseason, have been keeping an eye on promising and intriguing talented youngsters with the NBA Draft forthcoming and Summer League soon to follow after that.

Of course, it's easy to point a finger towards some of the more well known potential draftees that everyone has been talking about as of late. But how exactly does one spot a diamond in the rough? How can such rare talents be discovered? What goes into each individual scout honing the craft?

The fact of the matter is, each respective team staffer appears to go about scouting in their own way. There are varied methods to each team employee's madness.

Upon heading out for scouting trips or getting ready to attend a workout, some scouts like to familiarize themselves with the players on display beforehand. It makes sense to get to know what each young gun is all about. Where did they go to school? What were some of their strengths and/or weaknesses? What should the scout look out for?

Such questions would appear to be sensible ones to ask when entering a similar situation. Isn't that what scouting is all about? One would need to do thorough research beforehand, as well as after. How else could "scouting" be done?

Simply put, it could instead (also) be accomplished by not asking any questions at all, actually. Talk about a culture shock.

In today's world, the spread of information (or better yet, the available access to it, rather) is quick, efficient, and vast. Research can be done in an array of different ways.

But instead of doing research beforehand, some scouts prefer to rely upon their otherwise proven eye for recognizing talent and/or potential. In such cases, the name of a player and/or their respective background becomes irrelevant. The scout does not need to have seen such a youngster before. Instead, the question becomes, can they play? Does a player stand out above the rest of the prospects being evaluated?

If the answer to that question happens to be yes, that's when the research aspect of things comes into play. Once a scout comes to the realization that a certain athletic specimen catches their eye, further research is done as a way of confirming what they happened to discover on the court earlier.

It'd be way too easy to suggest one respective approach is utilized by younger staffers, and that the other is utilized by more experienced ones, respectively, in a battle of new school vs. old school strategies. Still, after further review, that appears to be the case.

The up and coming scouts attempt to grab onto and utilize all the tools at their disposal. On the other hand, more experienced scouts appear to have the luxury of relying upon their eyes and the proven success they've had over the years as proof that such instincts are still good enough anyway.