HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In the seemingly endless search for an edge in the Draft process, teams are willing to go to great lengths to find theirs.
The Charlotte Bobcats, whose draft missteps of the recent past have been well documented (Sean May, Adam Morrison, etc.), have come up with a remedy for what has ailed them over the years. And they’ve found it in an original system designed by general manager Rich Cho, whose cutting-edge system has helped Michael Jordan‘s Bobcats completely rework their scouting process.
The first real chance the Bobcats will have to test it out comes Thursday night, when they’ll use it to assist them when they have the No. 2 pick (and No. 31, the first pick in the second round). Cho’s system involves a radically different approach to what the league is used to, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer details:
Cho’s system has all the basics you’d expect: Player contracts, statistics that can be used to compare Bobcats players’ development to others’, any potential bonuses that could complicate trade discussions. But beyond that, this is a function of Cho’s self-description as “a big information hound.”
Call it nosey if you like. To Cho, it’s being forewarned. You can see both the engineer and the lawyer in Cho’s concept.
He tells the scouting staff to be perceptive with their “eyes” (in writing scouting reports), their “ears” (dig deep in background checks: Is a player a leader or a follower? Does he smoke or drink? Does he care about others?) and through “numbers” (a wealth of statistics that can be collated a variety of ways for apples-to-apples comparison).
Beyond that, Cho asks the team’s scouting staff for two things: Look ahead, not behind, and develop a consistency in evaluating players’ development.
There’s a quote from hockey great Wayne Gretzky that Cho likes, repeated throughout these web pages like a mantra: “When everyone else is looking where the puck is, I’m looking at where the puck will be.”
It will probably be years before anyone knows exactly how effective Cho’s system really is, and it’s clear that every team has its own system in place (the Mavericks, for example in the video above, have their own distinct approach to the Draft process).
But when a franchise has struggled the way the Bobcats have the past two seasons, a radical approach, is probably exactly what is needed.