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Watching NCAA Basketball with an NBA Scout

David Friedman spent some quality time with Pacers scout Kevin Mackey. His two-part article is up now at ProBasketballNews.

You know who should read this? All those young men who e-mail me wondering if I can help them get an agent. I'm not kidding. It has been happening more and more. In Friedman's article you can get a good feel for what teams are really looking for. For example:

After watching the game for about 10 minutes, Mackey says that the four guys he is looking at are limited and that his highest projection for players in this game would be the CBA or the NBDL.

The best of the bunch, relatively speaking, is a player who has NBA size and is a good open shooter. The problem is that he is not tough -- he doesn’t fight through screens on defense. Still, after he makes a few shots, Mackey says that he “shoots the deep ball. That’s an NBA talent.” Because of his build and his ability to shoot, there is a slight possibility that he could develop into a useful NBA player.

Mackey dismisses the most athletic player of this quartet with the acronym “JAG” -- just another guy. Playing the devil’s advocate, I point out that his team runs no plays for him. Mackey agrees, but says that how well a player rebounds tells you a lot because that is based solely on the player’s effort, drive and toughness.

“You don’t need your mother or your coach or your teammates” to help you get rebounds, Mackey says. This player has obvious physical gifts but he is not doing much and is having little impact on the game. Later, when we look at a halftime box score, Mackey circles the number of rebounds by this player’s name and shakes his head. If a reasonably athletic player is not dominating the boards against college players, what chance does he have to succeed in the NBA?