Let’s face it, not all of us are going to grow up to 6’5″ or have the opportunity to become as talented as the average NBA player. However, there are still some ways that most of us regular folks can get into the league without playing the game at the highest level. One of those ways is to become a basketball scout.
But how does one pursue this career path, and is it even worth it to become one?
The Role of NBA Scouts
As someone who loves basketball, you may have wondered what it takes to become an NBA scout. After all, getting paid to watch games is a dream job for almost every basketball fan.
Scouts are responsible for identifying and evaluating talent for their respective teams. And at times, it may seem like an easy task because the box scores can already tell you essential information such as points, rebounds, and assists. In addition, you can even easily derive advanced stats and metrics from this single sheet of paper.
However, being a good scout is about more than just the stats. There are other aspects to a basketball player’s on-court performance that you just can’t quantify. So, if you’re looking to become a basketball scout because it’s easy, think again.
To become an NBA scout, you must develop a deep understanding of basketball. It’s a feeling to the game that you can only get from either playing as much basketball as you can or by studying thousands of hours of professional basketball footage.
Most NBA scouts start out working in college or the G-League. Scouting in these leagues allows them to get a feel for the type of talent out there and develop relationships with players and coaches. Once they have gained experience, they can move on to working for an NBA team.
Types of Basketball Scouts
There are four types of scouts in the NBA: advanced, international, college, and pros. And each of them requires different skillsets and knowledge.
As one of the most underrated members of a basketball organization, advance scouts provide an invaluable service to the team’s day-to-day operations.
They focus on upcoming opponents and provide information to coaches about specific players. As such, they travel ahead of the team to check on their opponents and explore opportunities for winning the matchup. Because of this, they’re among the most impactful staff members on a team’s overall win-loss column.
A college scout’s most important job is finding talent from upcoming rookies. They identify potential stars and help the team decide which players are worth drafting.
In addition to talent evaluation, college scouts also provide information on a player’s character. This is important because a player’s character can impact their fit into a team’s culture.
With the game expanding globally, international scouts are becoming more critical. They are responsible for finding talent in other countries and evaluating how well those players would fit into the league.
International scouts often have a more difficult job than college scouts because they have to evaluate a player’s talent and cultural fit. This part of the job can be tricky and requires more finesse and skill, but it plays a vital role in finding the best players from around the world.
The ones tasked with finding talent from within the league, including other professional and semi-professional tournaments, are the Pro Scouts. They evaluate upcoming free agents, players from other clubs, and players with professional experience.
They’re looking for players that will be a good fit for the team, the city, and the fans. It can be challenging to find players that meet all of these criteria, but it is crucial to find the best players to bring in more team success.
How to Become an NBA Scout
There is no one specific path to becoming an NBA scout. However, there are a few things that will help you on your way. To help you out, here are some of the recommended qualifications:
1. Bachelor’s degree in sports management, coaching, or a related field.
2. A minimum of five years of professional experience in scouting or player evaluation.
3. Expertise in sports analytics, performance metrics, and statistics.
4. Strong networking and relationship-building skills.
5. Excellent communication and organizational skills.
6. Ability to travel extensively.
7. Ability to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the NBA.
8. Ability to work independently and in a team setting.
9. Strong knowledge of the NBA rules and regulations.
10. Ability to evaluate talent and make decisions quickly and accurately.
The most important of all these is a prospective scout’s deep understanding and knowledge of basketball. Scouts can gain this through years of playing experience, coaching experience, or both. You also need to be able to evaluate players objectively and have a keen eye for spotting talent.
In terms of formal education, most NBA teams hire scouts with at least a bachelor’s degree. Many scouts also have a master’s degree in sports management or a related field.
It is also helpful to have some experience working in the scouting department of an NBA team or another professional basketball league. These experiences will give you a better understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a scout and how they fit into the larger operations of a team.
If you want to become an NBA scout, the best thing you can do is start making connections in the basketball world. Get involved with summer leagues, AAU teams, or any other organization where you can interact with players, coaches, and other front-office personnel. Attend as many games as possible, both live and on TV, and take plenty of notes. The more exposure you have to the game at all levels, the better positioned you will be to make it as an NBA scout eventually.
How Much Does an NBA Scout Make
The average NBA scout earns between $45,000 and $60,000 a year, although some scouts with more experience can earn up to $100,000 yearly. In addition to their salary, scouts may also receive benefits such as health insurance and a pension plan. After all, they’re permanent employees of the team they work for.
Are there Travel Benefits?
While stats are essential metrics in scouting players, some aspects of the game just can’t be seen in the numbers. For example, intangibles like character and work ethic are things scouts need to see with their own eyes before they judge a player’s fit with the team’s system and culture.
For this reason, another one of the benefits of NBA scouts is the travel opportunities. Many scouts travel extensively throughout their region and worldwide, which can make for an exciting job. However, it’s not all business class, and 5-star hotels like the players. Scouts have a more modest budget allocation for their travel expenses.
Do Scouts Get a Commission?
So, with organizations being worth billions of dollars, knowing that scouts can only earn a small fraction, you may be inclined to ask: do they get a commission when they do their job well?
The answer is no. NBA scouts do not receive commissions for spotting talent, so the only reward for a successful scouting trip is the satisfaction of knowing that you helped your team find the right player.
However, they do get bonuses based on the success of the team and the players they have scouted. So if a team improves significantly and makes it to the playoffs or even wins a championship, scouts can receive bonuses from their organization.
Becoming an NBA scout is not easy; it takes many years of hard work and dedication to the game of basketball. However, it can be an enriching career for those who love the sport and are passionate about finding the next great player.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do NBA Scouts Make
As we’ve seen, becoming an NBA scout is challenging and takes many years of hard work and dedication to the game of basketball. However, for those who love the sport and have a passion for finding the next great player, it can be a very rewarding career. As long, of course, you’re okay with the grueling travel that comes along with it.
So, how much do NBA scouts make? The average NBA scout earns between $45,000 and $60,000 a year. Although, some scouts who have already earned a name in the industry can earn up to $100,000 a year.
So, for those who are passionate about basketball and are dedicated to working hard, becoming an NBA scout is an excellent career choice. If you have what it takes to become a scout, don’t let anything stop you from reaching your goals.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.