[ADVICE] DRAFT TIER RANKING SYSTEM

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[ADVICE] DRAFT TIER RANKING SYSTEM

Postby Ben - Pioneers GM » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 am

Here's some draft advice I found useful (copy and pasted because it's from ESPN's Insider subscription service).

How draft tier system is used

Jun 12, 2014
Chad Ford, ESPN Senior Writer


Every time I put up a new mock draft (Mock Draft 7.0 is the latest in the series), I get a lot of feedback from readers who wonder how I put it together and how it differs from the Big Board (edition 11.0 was recently updated) and Top 100.

This is how it works: Both pieces are reported pieces. In other words, I talk with NBA scouts and executives to get a sense of:

• A. Which teams like which players (mock draft).

• B. What the consensus is among all 30 NBA teams about who the best players in the draft are (Big Board and Top 100).

To make sense of disparate rankings and debates over team needs versus best player available, the past few years I've chronicled a draft ranking system employed by several teams that have been very successful in the draft, what I call a tier system.

Instead of developing an exact order from 1 to 60 of the best players in the draft, these teams group players, based on overall talent, into tiers. Then the teams rank the players in each tier based on team need.

This system allows teams to draft not only the best player available but also the player who best fits a team's individual needs.

So how does the tier system work?

A team ranks players in each tier according to team need. So in Tier 3, if shooting guard is the biggest need, a shooting guard is ranked No. 1. If center is the biggest need, center is ranked No. 1.

The rules are pretty simple. You always draft the highest-ranked player in a given tier. Also, you never take a player from a lower tier if one from a higher tier is available.

For example, in the 2012 NBA draft, if the Detroit Pistons are drafting No. 9 (Tier 3 territory) and Damian Lillard (a Tier 2 player) is on the board, they take him regardless of positional need. If they have a center ranked No. 1 in Tier 4, they still take Lillard even though center is a more pressing need.

This system protects teams from overreaching based on team need. However, the system also protects a team from passing on a player who fits a need just because he might be ranked one or two spots lower overall. Let me give you an example of how using draft tiers would've prevented a horrific draft mistake in the 2005 NBA draft.

Former Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight stated every year that he took the best player on the board, regardless of team need. He took Marvin Williams ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2005, and Shelden Williams ahead of a point guard such as Rajon Rondo in 2006.

A source formerly with Atlanta's front office told me that the Hawks had Marvin Williams ranked No. 1, Andrew Bogut ranked No. 2, Deron Williams ranked No. 3 and Paul ranked No. 4 in 2005. So on draft night, Knight took Marvin Williams with the No. 2 pick after the Bucks selected Bogut No. 1 overall.

In a tier system, however, the source conceded that all four players, in his mind at least, would have been Tier 1 players -- in other words, the Hawks thought all four had equal long-term impact potential. If the Hawks had employed a tier system, they would have ranked inside the tier based on team need and fit, rather than just ranking the prospects from 1 to 30.

In that case, the Hawks likely would have ranked either Bogut (they needed a center) or Deron Williams (they still need a point guard) No. 1. Marvin Williams actually would have been ranked No. 4 under that scenario. The Pistons actually followed this model in 2012 draft. While the consensus was that they needed a big, when Brandon Knight -- a player they had ranked in a higher tier -- fell, they took him anyway.

Like every draft system, the tier system isn't perfect. But the teams that run it have found success with it. It has allowed them to get help through the draft without overreaching. Compared to traditional top-30 lists or mock drafts, it seems like a much more precise tool for gauging which players a team should draft.


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Tier 1: Superstar - This tier is usually reserved for guys who are sure-fire All-Stars or franchise players. You have to be more than good to get here. You have to be elite.

Tier 2: All Star - Tier 2 is reserved for players with All-Star potential. However, players in Tier 2 often have weaknesses that some teams feel will keep them from being superstars.

Tier 3: Starter - This tier is typically reserved for players who are projected as NBA starters.

Tier 4: Borderline Starter - Players in this tier project to be borderline starters or high-level rotation players. In an average draft, Tier 4 typically makes up selections Nos. 10-20.

Tier 5: Journeyman - This area of the draft is typically reserved for useful rotation players, players who are unlikely to start for good teams but could be solid role players off the bench.

Tier 6: Specialist - This tier has the players who are likely second-round picks and minor rotation players, players with at least one legitimate pro skill / role -- or even more than one -- balanced with serious flaws or weaknesses.

Tier 7: Semi-professional - This tier is for players who most likely are career D-Leaguers; at best they might be called up to round out the bottom of a roster as a practice player.
Ben Johnson
Kansas City Pioneers GM

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Re: [ADVICE] DRAFT TIER RANKING SYSTEM

Postby Ben - Pioneers GM » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:30 am

As an example, here's my tiered draft board heading into the 2019 draft:

Tier 1
Timothy Adler*

Tier 2
Joe Spurlock*
Andrew Jackson*
Jose Owens*
David Watts*
Marvin Marshall*

Tier 3
Troy Benson*
Dennis Pichardo*
Jesse Yoshida*
Herbert Hoang*
Lucas Williams*
Tuan Bunch*
Forrest Valentine*
Johnnie Bechtel*
Terrance Solorzano+

Tier 4
Jose McCrea*
James Willhite*
Long Foote*
Thomas Grundy*
David Diaz*
Arthur Bechtel*
Dong Mancini+
Derrick Chick*
James Wakefield*
Jose Peters*

Tier 5
Daniel Herb*
Monty Music*
Kobe Maxwell
David Bouchard*
Miguel Pointer*
Lyndon Wesley*
Chris Cahoon*
Jason Geary
Tyron Sloan*
Julius Cowart*
Arnulfo Brown*
Andrew Bray*
Fredrick Gerard*
Antwan Hyden*
Konstantin Malakhov*
Chris Pettis*
Reuben Smith*
Mustafa Ranby*
Rory Jones*
Nelson Jones*
Darin Watson*
James Philips*
Lonnie Bosley*
Timothy O'Connor*
Kevin Meunier
Benton Leal*
Jason Byrne*

Tier 6
James Pooler
Jeremiah Curtis
Eldridge Kucera
Quinton Mikesell*
Eric Thomas
Alan Jones
Vincent Everhart*
Micheal Sterling*
Norman Chavis
Courtney Shriver
Arnulfo Christopherson*
Lynn Jones
Jan Ferris
Albert Hanrahan
Carl Lorenzen
Daron Gingras*
Wilbur Koons
Scott Hartle*
Steven Copenhaver
Herb Ginn
Brenton Renz
James Aguilar
Jerry Moorefield
Steven Hall
Clifford Lowell*
Graig Flournoy
Brian Cruz
Todd Eldridge
Romeo Hodges
Johnnie Fallon
Walther Troutman
Edward Martin
Antoine Carter
Sebastian Stark

Tier 7
Scotty Herren
David Martin
William Duarte
David Lafountain
Troy Gonzalesw
Chris Cleary
Lloyd Ingle
Andrew Webber
Pete McMinn
Efrain June
Cecil Grieco
Derek York
Kirk Cage
Joshua Gallup
Ben Johnson
Kansas City Pioneers GM

OBWL GM of the Year (2017)
GM Choice Executive of The Year (2013, 2014)
14-time Division Champion (2011-2015, 2017-2022, 2024-2026)
7-time Conference Champion (2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2021, 2025)
3-time Heikkinen Cup Winner (2011, 2012, 2021)


Regular Season: 1,071-289 (.788)
Playoffs: 186-115 (.618)
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Re: [ADVICE] DRAFT TIER RANKING SYSTEM

Postby tritonsgm » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:58 pm

great stuff
thank you Ben!
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Tampa Bay Tritons GM

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