The New York Knicks are heading towards another losing season and prepare for another draft. Let’s take a look at the Athletic IQ test used to scout prospects for the 2020 NBA draft.
By the time draft day rolls around every NBA team, not just the New York Knicks, know the eligible players inside and out. Stats on height, wing span, quickness, agility, explosiveness and other physical measurable have been recorded and distributed to executives and media.
Only the results of one test remain a tightly held secret, the IQ test. This is not the test used by MENSA, it is a test tailored for a particular sport, in this case, basketball.
The test in current use is the AIQ (Athletic Intelligence Quotient) which has replaced the Wonderlic version. We, the fans, cannot judge its usefulness by comparing scores of elite, average and below average players. You can read about the AIQ and the specifics of it’s sections at the Athletic Intelligence Measures website here.
NBA execs have this information, and use it in varying degrees when they fill out their draft board. The Mel Kipers of the world probably have these scores as well.
A high basketball IQ is as important as the other measurable in determining the ratings of draftees. It would be surprising if Elfrid Payton‘s AIQ wasn’t the highest on the New York Knicks. It is likely that Dennis Smith jr. or Julius Randle have the highest scores, if skills are quantified with a score, in the categories that emphasize athleticism. It would not be that surprising if Mitchell Robinson or RJ Barrett had the best combination of scores across the board.
The most important trait in the very elite players is character. A competitor who has an indomitable will and an unselfish approach, who puts the team and winning first, has the character to lead and inspire others. They may not be loved by their teammates in the moment, but they will always be respected. George Karl‘s description of Carmelo Anthony‘s lack of leadership in Kristian Winfield 2016 piece rings true.
“He (Melo) really lit my fuse with his low demand of himself on defense,” he (Karl) continued. “He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to.”
It takes a lot of smarts and a bit of luck to be continually successful in the draft. It also takes draft picks. The Nuggets have done a fine job of building their team through the draft, in part by using the #1 they received in the Melo trade to draft Jamal Murray. Let’s hope the New York Knicks can do the same.