One of the jobs that has arisen on modern sports broadcasting is the “draft expert” (like Mel Kiper) who come out of the woodwork for a few months each year to give their analysis of the top players to be drafted by professional teams out of college. In this case, we have a guy named Chad Ford who does mock NBA drafts for ESPN. Only, it seems that someone changed some of his old draft boards to make it look like he had been more accurate in his analysis.
Here’s more on the story from The Big Lead:
As discovered by a sleuth at Reddit’s NBA page, and confirmed by Deadspin, several years of Chad Ford’s lists of the top 100 NBA draft prospects appear to have been later altered to partially reflect how players wound up performing as professionals. (And, as we’ll get to, they’ve since been changed back.) It’s amusing on a couple levels. First: Who really cares how accurate these things are?
Beyond that, Ford writes that he compiles the Top 100 list after speaking with NBA scouts and general managers. Therefore, it’s not even his personal analysis that was getting scrubbed over, it was theirs. But players’ immediate successes and failures do not even necessarily mean that their rankings were right or wrong! This isn’t tennis or boxing where they’re competing one-on-one. Players can be a good fit for a particular head coach and/or set of teammates, but may flame out in other spots.
Below is an example of a board that was changed and has since been changed back. (You’d think ESPN would find a way to lock those things down, wouldn’t you?)
Interestingly, ESPN has since changed them back, but doesn’t seem to know why this happened. Hmmmm. Here’s their statement:
After reviewing the post on Reddit today, we have found that changes were made manually to Chad Ford’s NBA Draft prospects rankings. We have not been able to determine who made the changes, or when. We have talked to Chad Ford, who strongly denies any involvement, and based on his past work and professionalism, we believe him. Our review will continue but it is unclear at this time if we will be able to ascertain who was responsible.