Among his responsibilities at ESPN, Chad Ford tracks upcoming NBA prospects (you can see his current Top 100 here). Obviously, no one cares about your rankings unless you’re doing a good job picking who’s going to do well as a pro. Well, it turns out someone might be looking back at Ford’s history and thinking it needs a little improving, as Reddit user sharpinator discovered.
Here’s a screenshot of that same list (well, the Top 20 at least) today: link
And here they are side by side (2013 at left, 2015 at right):
You’ll notice that players like Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo have moved up (9→7, 17→9, respectively) while players like Cody Zeller have moved down (11→13).
This trend continues for other years, as you can see in the original thread.
It’s unlikely we’ll ever know who really did this (Was it Ford himself? Someone at ESPN who just wanted the predictions to look better? A “rogue” employee, aka scapegoat?), but it’s a pretty nifty piece of detective work nonetheless.
The real question, though, is why? Are that many people looking back to see who Chad Ford was right and wrong on? Isn’t predraft analysis (hype) just something to keep people busy while they wait for the season to begin? Aren’t pundits like Ford or Mel Kiper, Jr. etc really just meteorologists for sports? Either way, it’s a curious affair indeed.
UPDATE: ESPN has released a statement saying that the changes were made manually, but that they believe Mr. Ford at his word that he is not responsible. It’s unlikely we’ll ever know exactly what happened here.