Like many of you on here, I am fervently against drafting any of the European players. It is not because I am a racist xenophobe who hosts a late night television show on Fox News, or because I harbor a vendetta against the former Soviet-bloc. Rather, I prefer college players over foreign players simply because I have seen (most) college players play and can reasonably estimate what they can contribute. But with regards to foreign players, I have to rely on heavily edited youtube clips with unbearable background music. We need better draft intel.
All youth basketball camps start out the exact same way. Whether its ankle biters or 5th-year-seniors, the campers spend Monday morning scrimmaging and running through standard drills. This gives the camp coaches a chance to scout the players they will be coaching the rest of the week. Then, just before lunch, the coaches draft their team for the week.
Why can't this work in the NBA? Say the NBA invites 96 players to a draft camp held the week before the draft. These 96 players are the ONLY players eligible to be drafted. So, if you want to get drafted, you have to 1) get invited to the camp, and 2) attend the camp.
The NBA can get 12 people, be it former coaches, players, announcers, (basically, anyone impartial) to serve as camp coaches. These 12 coaches will then each draft an 8-person team. The teams would then spend the rest of the week playing games and running through the drills. On Thursday or Friday, the playoffs would start with all the regular rules associated with a camp tournament. The main goal is to expose players as much as possible.
In my opinion, the benefits of such a system would be countless:
1) We would be able to compare players in a 5-on-5 context. Ricky Rubio never wanted to workout with Brandon Jennings or Jrue Holiday because he knew his skills would not translate to a 1-on-1 game. By playing 5-on-5, a player's intangibles are much easier to quantify. (Conversely, we would be able to tell that Rubio was overrated, while Jennings and Holiday were underrated.)
2) A player's body language, temperament and comprehension skills would be on display. It would be easier to tell if a player was thoroughly uncoachable, a bad teammate, a clown, a "fiery competitor," etc.
3) A camp would limit the ability of the agents to micromanage the scouting process. Agents limit teams' ability to adequately scout players by setting terms and conditions on the player's workout routine. For example, Donald Fegan did not allow YI Jianlian to workout against anyone. Thus, we were left with the hilarious video of YI Jianlian posting up a chair. A mandatory predraft camp would eliminate agents from the scouting process, giving scouts/coaches/generalmanagers unfeathered access to raw basketball.
4) Level of competition problems would be eliminated. Evaluators would no longer have to discount a player's ability for their level of competition. So, rather than estimating what Jimmer Fredette would have done in the Big East and what Kemba Walker would do in the WCC, we can just have Fredette and Walker play against each other in camp.
5) Equalizing the level of information. By limiting the eligible players to only the 96 guys invited to camp, the league puts all teams on an even playing field regarding scouts. If Milwaukee had scouts in Germany as good as the Mavericks, I doubt they trade Robert Traylor for Dirk Nowitzki. (Although some people may counter that this only penalizes well-managed teams who do the work; the free-rider problem.)
6) Best of all, the camp can be televised on NBATV. Easy revenue for the league during the summer time.
What do people think of this idea?