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Business - Written by on Friday, July 3, 2009 7:13 - 1 Comment

Denis Hancock
If you’re an NBA team owner, would you fire your scouting staff?

As I continue my ongoing research about prosumerism, one of the recurring themes is that “the wisdom of crowds” isn’t usually the dominant story. Rather, it’s often about finding a particular uniquely qualified mind, somewhere in the world, to solve a particular problem. But there are situations where the wisdom of crowds seem to really work, and as I watched last week’s NBA draft I realized that it might be just such a situation- and that a team looking to save money might do well to fire their scouting staff all together.

The reason is simple – there is an extraordinary network of bright people following the preparations of players for the draft. Many of them share information regularly. Over time, you start to see a general consensus emerge through all the collaboration taking place – which is highlighted by the striking similarity of many mock drafts. And lo and behold, when I watched the draft it was remarkable how similar the results were to most people’s projections.

Not only that, but the little “surprises” weren’t really scouting stories, at least early on. When Rubio dropped to #5, many fans knew exactly why (contract buyout questions and what teams he’d happily play for in particular). And perhaps there still might be a case that a great scouting staff can locate a good player late in the draft, as San Antonio was once known to do – but I’m not convinced this is the case anymore. I’ve noticed over the last few seasons that many of the players that were noted as the late round “sleepers”, and turned out to be just that, were pegged by many, many mock drafts in advance.

So frankly, that’s what I might do if I was an owner right now caught in a cash crunch – fire most of my scouting staff, and redirect the money to making sure I have a great GM. Long suffering Clippers and Timberwolves fans, among others, will tell you the importance of having a uniquely qualified mind in that spot…



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The Memphis Grizzlies (gulp!) are trying my prosumer experiment « Marketing, Economics, and the Web 2.0
Aug 4, 2009 11:34

[...] 4, 2009 · Leave a Comment In early July I published a post on the wikinomics site arguing that if you are an NBA owner looking to save money, you should consider firing your [...]

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