Commentary

New and improved: Draft prospect cards

Check out our updated, player-by-player draft prospect reports, now with more info

Updated: May 19, 2011, 10:51 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

NBA Recruit Player CardESPN.comWe're introducing player traits for the top NBA prospects on our new draft cards (lower left). Read on.

Play Chad Ford's Lottery + Mock Draft: More than 2,000 scenarios

As you might have seen, our draft cards have had a new look this season, with new, improved information -- we now have each player's wingspan, standing reach and player efficiency rating plus additional notes, an analysis tab with in-depth reports from throughout the season, large photos and much more.

And now we've added another new feature: player traits.

There are 12 player traits that we've keyed on, and we've identified up to three elite traits per player. For instance, for Kyrie Irving, we've focused on his elite abilities to penetrate, his basketball IQ and his court vision. Irving has other traits as well, but we tried to emphasize traits that we believe are truly special. A merely solid shooter doesn't get a shooting designation. A good but not great rebounder doesn't get the rebounding icon.

Here are the 12 traits, with perhaps other traits to be added in the future:


SHOOTING
We're talking about perimeter shooting here, not overall shooting percentage, which tends to favor interior players. These are guys who can let it rip from long distance or have sweet midrange games.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Jimmer Fredette, BYU; Jordan Hamilton, Texas; Klay Thompson, Washington State.


PENETRATING
The ability to get into the paint and create a shot for yourself or a teammate is a major plus in the NBA. These players have the ability to take their men off the dribble and get to the hole or the line.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Derrick Williams; Arizona; Kemba Walker, UConn; Alec Burks, Colorado.


DEFENDING
These lockdown defenders protect the paint or the perimeter. Blocked shots, steals, length, lateral quickness and toughness all play a role.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Patric Young, Florida; Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt; Chris Singleton, Florida State.


BASKETBALL IQ
"Basketball IQ" is a term often used as shorthand for having a deep, instinctual understanding of how to play the game, a fundamentally sound skill set and/or the leadership ability and discipline to make the right decisions at the right time.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina; Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; Enes Kanter, Turkey.


REBOUNDING
This one is pretty straightforward. Rebounding seems to be a statistic that translates more than others at the next level, and these players excel at it -- either on the offensive or defensive end, or both.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State; Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State; Jordan Williams, Maryland.


SPEED
One of the first things NBA rookies tell you is that the pro game is the college game on fast forward. Quickness and speed are especially potent attributes for guards. These guys have it at an elite level.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Kemba Walker, UConn; Reggie Jackson, Boston College; Nolan Smith, Duke.


BALLHANDLING
These players have super glue on their hands, the ability to handle pressure and, in some cases such as Jimmer Fredette, a killer crossover.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Kemba Walker, UConn; Jimmer Fredette, BYU; Darius Morris, Michigan.


LEAPING
There are few things that scouts drool over more than explosive athletic ability. These guys can jump out of the gym.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Perry Jones, Baylor; Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt; Travis Leslie, Georgia


SIZE
Size matters in the NBA. These guys make this list by virtue of being 7-footers, having crazy long wingspans or being unusually tall for the position they play.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Perry Jones, Baylor; Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania; Tyler Zeller, North Carolina.


COURT VISION
These players are the orchestra conductors. They see the floor, they see two plays ahead and they're always making the players around them better.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Kyrie Irving, Duke; Darius Morris, Michigan; Kendall Marshall, North Carolina.


PASSING
Guards usually take the designation of court vision. But big men can pass, too. Here are some point forwards and bigs who can dish the rock.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Enes Kanter, Turkey; Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA; Chandler Parsons, Florida.


MOTOR
Playing with energy, toughness and hustle is recognized as a skill in its own right. These guys give it their all on every play.

Top examples from our 2011 Big Board: Tristan Thompson, Texas; Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State; Kenneth Faried, Morehead State.

Check out our new-and-improved draft cards »


Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider