More From The Chad Ford Q&A
In today’s editions of The Oklahoman I did a Q&A with Chad Ford, who covers the NBA Draft for ESPN.com. Here’s more of what Ford had to say.
Q: What’s your approach to covering the draft?
A: I don’t really think the fans care so much what I think about a particular player. I, like everybody, have opinions about who I like and who I don’t like in the draft. But what I want to try to capture for them is what NBA scouts and NBA GMs think about the draft. Who they like and why? Why sometimes a great college player doesn’t translate to the pros? Or why sometimes a mediocre college player gets ranked so high? And what I try to do in my top 100 is build a consensus from all the scouts and front office people that I’ve talked to to try to get a look at overall who are the best players in the draft.
Q: Do you look forward to this time of the year, sort of like a child looks forward to Christmas?
A: I love it. From 2001-05 I covered the entire NBA. The draft was just a part of what I did. When I moved to Hawaii and became a professor, the one piece that I couldn’t give up was the draft. I’ve always loved it. I loved it since I was a kid, and it is Christmas. I don’t care how much work it is. The last two days I probably won’t sleep a minute talking to people through the night and then writing from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. and then doing ESPN Radio starting right after that. But I love it, and I think I’ve got the best job in the world.
Q: Is it true you spend 11 months out of the year in Hawaii and come here and hit the circuit from the period between the draft lottery and the draft?
A: Yeah about 10 months out of the year in Hawaii. Then I’m traveling around in May and June and a little bit of April.
Q: How do you sift through all the smokescreens this time of year and decipher what’s real?
A: That’s hard. And, listen, I get stuff wrong. I have two criteria. I try to get multiple people for confirmation on something or more than one person telling me the same thing who didn’t hear it from the other guy who told me. The second thing is just about relationships. I know these guys over time. I know the people who tend to mislead me when it comes to the draft. I’ve definitely been burned on more than one occasion by a number of guys in the league. I take their reputation with me into account when sifting through things. But it’s a dicey business because, especially right now, there is very little that an NBA GM or agent will tell you that isn’t self-serving. If they are leaking something it’s because it’s in their best interest.
Q: Has Sam Presti done enough to earn the trust he’s established as a talent evaluator?
A: Yeah. I think so. Kevin Durant was an obvious choice. I’m not sure we can pat him too much on the back for that pick. But I think he was more right than wrong on Jeff Green. I think that was a solid pick. I think the Russell Westbrook pick was the pick that a lot of people raised their eyebrows at and criticized. A lot of people had him lower on their draft boards. I liked the pick. I had him ranked No. 4 as well. But there wasn’t a lot of company there for him. He stuck his neck out on a kid who didn’t put up huge numbers at UCLA. He didn’t even play the position that he was going to play in college. And I think he struck gold. I also think that his trades have been excellent. He understands the cap. He’s understood how to create assets. All of that I think are underrated qualities in GMs. And he’s got all that going for him.
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