Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo was among the sports executives to appear at Tuesday's Prime Time Sports conference in Toronto, and made some interesting comments about Toronto's scouting techniques, this year's draft, and a number of other topics, as Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star outlines. Here are a few of the highlights from the Raptors GM:
On whether the Raptors rely on analytics or traditional scouting:
"I find myself in the middle, between the old-school way of scouting and the new-school way of looking at things. We, the Raptors, put about $250K a year into the process. We dumb things down for the purpose of evaluation process of prospects and in terms of applying it to a game. I do believe analytics is a huge component to what we’re doing. We’ve even got a camera system — six cameras installed above.... The cameras take 24 shots per second. The amount of data mined from this camera data is incredible. If you look at a boxscore, you’re looking at about 800 points of data. We’re looking at 800,000 points of data per game. We’re one of 12 teams with the system in place."
On picking eighth overall in this year's draft:
"Picking eighth, I passed on somebody I consider a top-five talent in the draft because we felt like he didn’t have the right mental makeup. I passed on someone we thought was a top-three physical specimen because we felt he wasn’t the right fit for our team and didn’t have the right mental makeup."
On the NBA draft combine:
"Our combine has really become somewhat of a joke. Not all the players show up. The agents have controlled the process. It’s gotten worse each year. The most important thing for us is talking to the players, going face-to-face, get them to show their personalities. I had one player tell me he wanted to fix computers, which is stunning given what his god-given talents were."
On how much a poor draft pick costs a team:
"Clearly the new CBA has put more importance on retaining your draft picks, but also making the right selections. We’re in a business of instant gratification. You can’t judge the success of the draft on draft night.... If you do this long enough, you’re going to have your share of mistakes. What you want to avoid is the major mistake: the Michael Jordan vs. Sam Bowie. Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant. It’s Ryan Leaf vs. Peyton Manning. Those are the ones that are catastrophic to an organization."