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Thread: Best Available versus Needs

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    Super Moderator divvydan's Avatar
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    Best Available versus Needs

    In that special time between the end of trading week and the boring ramblings of Andrew Demetriou that opens the National Draft, there is always debate amongst supporters about who to draft and why.

    Apart from the "pick by most impressive youtube video group", most supporters tend to either advocate for picking the best available or addressing needs at the club.

    However, I think for the most part, they're arguing the same thing.

    There's been an assumption that 'best available' means lining them up schoolyard style and picking the best player for your team and needs being choosing, for example, a tall forward, an inside midfielder, a rebounding defender and a developing ruckman by whatever means you can best do so.

    In my opinion though, clubs when drafting already execute (for the most part) a hybrid approach where they all pick the best available but they rank players from best to worst, not purely by their individual ability/likelihood of success/etc, but by the relative advantage that player would have over the player currently playing that role in the team, whether it be as soon as next season or maybe in three seasons time.

    At the top end of the draft, this makes minimal difference to most teams as the ability of the top end players is very high (relatively speaking) and if you're getting an early pick, it's likely that you have problems all over the field. As you go further into the draft though, 'best available' is determined as much by the needs of the club in question as it is the ability of the player themselves.

    There have, of course, been notable exceptions such as Peter Rhode telling Scott Clayton that he must draft a KPF with pick 4 in the 2002 draft (thanks Pete) but these would be few and far between.

    Of course, what becomes critical at this point, is being able to accurately assess your own list, the gameplan you're implementing over the foreseeable future and the ability of draftees to perform in expected positions that you have in mind when drafting them.


    I realise this is probably just a ramble but I have an exam tomorrow morning and I'm trying really hard to sabotage that.

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    FFC General Manager Crow-mo's Avatar
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    Any strategy that doesn't embrace 100% best available is madness.

    The probabilities and long lead times make drafting for need a pointless exercise.

    If you have 2 evenly matched choices then sure look at list balance, but not beforehand
    TEX WALKER. that is all.

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    FFC Senior Assistant Coach Drewy_GFC's Avatar
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    Re: Best Available versus Needs

    I think there is a balance to be had. If your team has a deficiency then of course you should look to fill it via the draft. Obviously you don't want to be 'reaching' too much on a particular player, and overlooking a much better player simply on the basis you need someone in a certain position, but it would be poor list management, say for Geelong to come out and draft a bunch of midfielders and not pick up a defender in this draft.
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    FFC General Manager Crow-mo's Avatar
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    It takes about 5 years for a draftable player to really contribute as a front line player, which when combined with the potential fail rate, I think means its hard to address specific needs through the draft
    TEX WALKER. that is all.

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    FFC Senior Assistant Coach Drewy_GFC's Avatar
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    Re: Best Available versus Needs

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow-mo View Post
    It takes about 5 years for a draftable player to really contribute as a front line player, which when combined with the potential fail rate, I think means its hard to address specific needs through the draft
    I see where you are coming from, but it is not always right. What about Geelong taking Harry Taylor when Egan went down back in 07? His injury left us with a massive hole at CHB. So to address that we used our first round pick on him and he slotted in beautifully.
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    Re: Best Available versus Needs

    I think its abit of both when drafting players but it does depends on where your list is at. Past couple of years with GCS taking all the best available players and now this year it will be GWS. Teams will look to take the best kids available when it comes their turn but also to fix a need for their list. I feel that alot of the time there is many mature players who teams won't look at to feel a need for their and your really not sure if your club is keen on them too but its only speculation from supporters saying "yeah we should get Isaac Smith" etc but most of the time mature players slide down the list and teams will try and get them for a late pick to compliment their list going foward - there is risk in doing this but if it pays off then that is a bonus for the club.

    I also feel that the top teams know they have a good list and a good setup so all they will do is top up on a mature ager or go for some hidden talent that no one will notice who they can develop and put them on the rookie list so they can build them up. Most of the top teams can't get the best available in the draft unless they do some magic during the trade period to get a better pick in the process.

    Harry Taylor was a great pick for the Cats in the WAFL and there are many others like Barlow, Puopulo, Duigan, PODS, Curnow, Pedersen etc

    There is no doubt though in this draft that a team like the Crows have been hurt badly but losing Bock and Davis to the new teams and they would be probably looking to get the best tall defender that they could in this draft or do they go out and recruit a key defender who is mature age to feel a need. This is the exact thing that Geelong did when they took PODS so they could keep developing Hawkins/Brown and then you have Mooney who was getting older at the time.
    Matt Crouch is my boy for 2016 season, can he dominate 2016? time will tell....................

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