OT-ESPN/NBA Chad Ford (Insider) Mock Drafts Retconned

Submitted by West German Judge on January 26th, 2015 at 7:09 AM

This is pretty interesting.  You may or may not know Chad Ford, but for quite some time he has been the Mock Draft ~expert~ for ESPN, cousins with the NCAAFB's and NFL's Mel Kiper/Todd McShay duo.  Pistons fans remember him from such works as "the flagrant overhyping of Darko Milicic: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?id=1490974.  This actually did contribute to Darko being selected #2 overall, as Joe Dumars took the media's word for it when it came to the largely unknown prospect.  

The tl;dr of it is, the credibility of Chad Ford (ESPN Insider)) and ESPN are at stake when it was shown that former Mock Drafts were altered to appear more accurate and conveniently fit the contemporary narrative.  Players that are performingly well today were boosted in the *final* versions of mocks, and players that have been underperforming have slid.  

The discrepancy was uncovered on Reddit, which may be confusing as a source to a crowd that largely shies away from Twitter, but here's the source nonetheless: http://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/2tk9xa/chad_ford_changes_his_draft_boards_years_after/

Here's DeadSpin quickly running with the story: http://deadspin.com/espns-chad-ford-has-been-retroactively-editing-draft-bo-1681631642

ESPN then quickly reversed the edits: http://deadspin.com/espns-chad-ford-has-been-retroactively-editing-draft-bo-1681631642/1681658049/+bubbaprog

and then released this statement: http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2015/01/statement-on-changes-to-chad-fords-nba-draft-prospect-rankings/
"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."

I'm interested in hearing what you all think about the lack of integrity shown by this low low low low low  form of media.



January 26th, 2015 at 7:13 AM ^

Not shocked. But why do it? Who goes back through these excercises in futility and determines how good you are? Seems absolutely stupid to go back and change them


January 26th, 2015 at 8:45 AM ^

Can be used as references in a resume or as leverage in contract negotiations for pay raises.

He could also just be an egotistic prick who can't handle being wrong. Either way, there's plenty of reasons to do it outside of trying to show off to the few people who take these things seriously enough to go back and look at past ones.


January 26th, 2015 at 7:17 AM ^

FIrst off, no one can project draft picks, in any sport, at 100%. If that were the case, MJ would have been the first draftee in 1984 (or 2nd cuz The Dream was legit too/Stockton would have gone way higher), Charlotte would not have traded Kobe, and JJ Watt wouldn't have been a 2-star recruit. 

How insecure do you have to be to do this? 

West German Judge

January 26th, 2015 at 7:22 AM ^

Chad Ford has a mitigating and aggravating factor rolled into one; he purports to only mock up the draft as he projects them to be selected, not as he himself would draft, for he is neither a scout nor an analyst.  He blurs the line of journalism/reporting while simultaneously claiming insider sources and also having the benefit of the doubt of politics/gaming/smokescreens that NBA front offices may put out there pre-draft.  He couldn't do much wrong as long as he came close to the final result and things more or less lined up for him.

This is akin to altering power rankings for the NBA or NFL, instantaneous subjectove snapshots.  It makes me sad.

Yostbound and Down

January 26th, 2015 at 7:28 AM ^

I have no doubt his sources primarily contain agents trying to push their guys' stocks higher. Even stupider that this is a guy whose analysis they charge for as he is part of the Insider subscription.

Between this and the Dumars-Wojnarowski thing from a few months ago, the line at least in the NBA between editorial and reporting is blurry.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


January 26th, 2015 at 8:17 AM ^

You see it depends on how you prepare your Mock Drafts - apparently if you prepare them to the right tackiness in a certain way, they may appear retroactively modified as conditions change.

[Edit:] /s   some sarcasm meters are not amused this morning ...


January 26th, 2015 at 7:44 AM ^

And the thing is, the moves up or down typically weren't big moves. Maybe 1-4 spots either way. Does it really make you more credible if you had a guy that turned into a star at #5 instead of #8? Why risk your credibility on something that stupid?


January 26th, 2015 at 8:34 AM ^

Sounds like the journalistic (in a loose sense of the word) equivalent of SEC dipshits who make fake Twitter accounts and harangue recruits pretending to be fans of other teams.  

In other words, proof that you take the monster you created way too friggin' seriously.


January 26th, 2015 at 8:36 AM ^

at any company I've worked for, an employee has to logon to access the network/server/intranet.  And whenever anything is edited/changed, it is noted, and IT could go back and know exactly when the changes were made, and by who.


This shouldn't be a tough investigation by ESPN --- my gut instinct on this one is that Ford did it but he was ALSO urged to do so by some higher-ups ("hey, look how awesome our draft insider is vs. the competition!  Pay us $$$!").  But if that's the truth, that's a truth ESPN would not want to be made public.


January 26th, 2015 at 8:38 AM ^

I mean doesn't he like 8 mock drafts? How do they know which ones were altered? He updates his big board and mock draft the closer it's gets to the draft.


January 26th, 2015 at 11:47 AM ^

someone didn't click the links. :-)

they used his "final mock draft", the one usually put out early the day of the draft and compared today's version of them against archived versions from back when he first posted them. 

a different board i frequent noticed this last year while generally discussed the NBA. he's (or someone) has been doing it for a while, nothing drastic, just tighens up his final big boards. drops bad players a few, raises good players a few. never the top few picks.


January 26th, 2015 at 9:33 AM ^

something has always seemed fishy about Chad Ford to me. He isn't on TV nearly as much as his NFL Draft  counterparts and it's been my view that his mocks aren't very accurate. Well I guess my skepticism was justified 


January 26th, 2015 at 9:37 AM ^

"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." - from ESPN's statement

It surely must be the other Chad Ford at ESPN who also analyzes and predicts NBA draft prospects and their draft order. They might do well to ask him, I guess. 


January 26th, 2015 at 9:59 AM ^

It's far from obvious that "the media" influenced Dumars.  He has scouts and so do other teams and it was nearly universally accepted that Darko was a top 4 prospect. Consensus was Darko at #2 was the right pick. 

If anything the media tend to be skeptical of people they hadn't seen relative to guys who shine in the NCAA tournament.


January 26th, 2015 at 10:01 AM ^

It definitely looks shady, but in the end I don't know how it much matters.  I never put much stock in any of those pre-draft lists, and the fact a guy was so self-conscious that he (or a staff member) retroactively made his mostly-right picks look even better doesn't get my blood going any more than a team maybe/maybe not deflating some footballs.   

snarling wolverine

January 26th, 2015 at 11:52 AM ^

This actually did contribute to Darko being selected #2 overall, as Joe Dumars took the media's word for it when it came to the largely unknown prospect.

That's not true. Darko put on some great workouts and all the scouts that watched him (not just from the Pistons) thought he was a stud.  There was also plenty of film on him from Europe.  It's not like he was playing behind the Iron Curtain.  


January 26th, 2015 at 12:13 PM ^

"Dumars took the media's word for it"

There are many things one can legitimately criticize Dumars for, but that statement is simply ridiculous.

West German Judge

January 26th, 2015 at 12:58 PM ^

Responding to you because you think I deserve ridicule.


Read this.

Joe Dumars saw Darko workout once in an empty gym and then fell victim to the hearsay circle jerk that was most certainly perpetrated by the media that was looking for the *next* Dirk, the ~next~ Pau Gasol.  You better believe that the media frenzy of "sources" claiming that Darko was the second coming helped cement Joe's bias and reinforce his tunnel vision.


January 26th, 2015 at 3:19 PM ^

this link suggests that Dumars didn't do enough due diligence on Darko.  We can all agree on that. But the article does not say that Dumars based his decision on media reports.  Darko was worked out by the Pistons--at least twice.  Suggesting that Dumars selected Darko based on media reports is at best disingenuous and likely an exaggeration for effect.  And as the link affirms, Dumars was far from the only GM enamored of Darko--Jerry West apparently being the most vocal skeptic.