Blog

Caliper’s Impact on the 2016 NBA Draft

by Eric Baker
on 2016-07-05

Imagine you are the General Manager of an NBA team, sweating at the draft table. Several top-ranked college basketball players have similar performance records and physical attributes, but you are well aware that not all of them are destined to be all-stars. Some will rise up, win championships, and become household names; others will flame out. You are under considerable pressure not to waste a precious draft pick on the wrong athlete.

This scenario is why many NBA teams have turned to Caliper in recent years for a competitive advantage. Looking for more substantial measurements than commonplace points and rebounds statistics, team scouts are inviting potential draftees to prospect camps and asking Caliper to assess and report on the athletes from a psychometrics standpoint.

“We evaluated over half of the players selected in the 2016 NBA draft,” says Ricardo Roman, Vice President of Caliper Sports, “including over one-third of athletes selected in the first round.”

A scientifically validated psychometrics instrument like the Caliper Profile can help predict athletic performance in ways that traditional performance data cannot. The use of this tool, coupled with our extensive (and exclusive) data on current and past NBA stars, enables Caliper to see through potentially misleading stats and uncover the personality dynamics that often make the difference between success and disappointment in professional sports.

Specifically, our research supports a link between personality dynamics and performance indicators in basketball such as field-goal accuracy, free-throw percentage, assists, points scored, and turnover rate. Those key personality dynamics include self-discipline, resilience, level-headedness, and analytical ability. That is, athletes who display high levels of such attributes tend to sustain strong performance in the aforementioned statistical areas over time, which is often what separates star athletes from would-be star athletes.

Non-disclosure and privacy agreements prevent us from naming current and past NBA draft picks we have evaluated, but if you’re wondering: the tools we use to assess future basketball stars are the same ones we use to assist our business clients across all major industries in hiring and developing future leaders and key individual contributors.

Did any trends emerge leading up to this year’s NBA draft?

“We assessed players in every position, but teams were especially interested in the Power Forward and Center positions this time around,” says Roman.

We’re not sure if that means the Point Guard role is diminishing or if the change in focus is a temporary blip, but one thing is certain: Caliper will continue to help teams draft the future stars who dazzle fans at arenas and on TV screens across the country.