The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

Denver Nuggets Analytics Manager Tommy Balcetis reveals what he looks for when evaluating NBA prospects.

Gary Harris and Shabazz Napier

Bleacher Report recently interviewed Denver Nuggets Analytics Manager Tommy Balcetis, who is in charge of evaluating college prospects in preparation for the NBA draft. Balcetis said he takes into account much more than just numbers when he decides whether a player is NBA-worthy.

1. Your Particular Strong Suit

Balcetis notes how, among the current crop of prospects, Clint Capela is "raw offensively," Julis Randle "has the toughness and mentality of a winner," and Dante Exum "has that amazing upside." This year's prospects have "something elite about each and every one of them," he said. In other words, to stand out, take what you're best at and work to get even better at it.

2. Your Body

Need incentive to eat healthy and get in those extra workouts? Balcetis evaluates individual body composition stats, such as wingspan and body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat relative to your height and weight.

3. Mental Preparation and Capacity

"All that talent can go out the window if you don't have the right mentality," Balcetis says. He emphasizes the importance of being "extremely well-spoken, [and] understand[ing] the value of hard work."

4. Your Program Background

Balcetis named Jabari Parker as his hypothetical no. 1 pick. Besides the fact that Parker is an all-around gifted player, Balcetis noted as a huge positive that Parker went through the well-respected and renowned Duke basketball program.

You may not have a basketball scholarship to Duke, but if, for example, you've attended numerous summer development camps, played on several teams, or had a particular coach who is important to you, it could be beneficial to make those key details known to potential recruiters.

5. The "Hustle Stat"

In contrast to something like 3-point shooting—the range is different from college to the NBA—Balcetis confidently asserts that rebounding is a skill that translates extremely well across all levels. He affectionately calls it the "hustle stat," which implies that anyone, regardless of height, can increase their rebound count.

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