The scout is one of the most important roles in any sports organization, regardless of sport. While most professional leagues in North America have more than seven rounds in each draft, NBA teams only have two rounds and around 60 picks to work with.
Making the NBA scout, one of the most important roles in any NBA organization, teams can’t really afford to miss a pick. You would think that with such an important role, a big salary would come as well, but you would be very surprised.
What does an NBA scout do?
NBA scouts travel around North America scouting young talent to see if they would be worth drafting or signing in free agency after the draft. There are a multitude of different scouts, but college scouts and international scouts are the ones who make the draft rankings.
Some big things NBA scouts look for in players are vertical, lateral speed, dibble speed, and work ethic. Coachability is a massive factor in a players draft stock as well.
How much do NBA scouts make?
Unlike most government or corporate jobs, NBA scouts do not have a set pay, there is an average. The salary range of NBA scouts is anywhere between $17,000 to $71,000 a year. The median salary for an NBA scout is around $30,000 a year.
This salary varies on so many different things such as experience, team budget, and success. There are also different types of scouts for the NBA such as Advance Scouts, International Scouts, and college scouts.
Advance Scouts help their teams prepare to play against other pro teams and learn their tendencies and game plans in advance of the game itself. Advance Scouts are more like pro scouts and not so much prospect scouts.
Instead of watching players to see how they would work in their team’s system, they watch to see how their team’s system can work against the other. It is reported that the salary for an Advance Scout is around $60,000 a year.
These are scouts who scout prospects overseas. NBA teams spend a fortune sending scouts to look at players who might be a fit for their franchise, and still make about the same as average NBA scouts.
They make salary wise about the same as other NBA scouts, just getting to travel in more exotic places.
College scouts do exactly what you would think they do, scout college athletes who could possibly be drafted to the NBA. These scouts will travel to watch in person and watch game films of prospects.
These scouts are within the same salary range as other scouts, just with the comfort of staying in the United States.
These scouts draft players already in the NBA or G-League, to see if these players may be underutilized with their currents teams. These scouts travel the United States and Toronto to see if any teams have a diamond in the rough that could be better served on their team.
Furthermore, these scouts, again, make the within the already discussed salary average.
Do NBA scouts travel a lot?
Yes, they absolutely do. Some scouts travel more often and further depending on what their role is. International scouts put way more miles on their suitcase than a college scout does.
The life of an NBA scout is often lonely, spending months on the road away from home and family.
Sure, you get to go to some awesome places and watch the sport you love, but I am not sure if I would be built for it. Scouts can travel up to 300 days a year.
How do you become an NBA scout?
There is no clear path on how to become an NBA scout. Like scouts for most sports, they are former athletes or coaches, people who know the game of basketball inside and out.
The hardest part of being an NBA scout is looking at someone in their early twenties and judging what kind of athlete they will be in the future.
You don’t need a particular education to be an NBA scout, but you do need to know the game, and you can only get that from being a part of it. There is no easy answer to this question, unfortunately.
Some NBA scouts do have degrees in studies such as sports management.
NBA scouts have an almost unenviable job, as they constantly travel and are away from home. The salary of an NBA scout can vary depending on experience and role, but the salary generally falls between $17,000 to $71,000 a year, that could be adjusted for inflation.
Scouts can travel up to 300 days a year, but the job itself is a full time, 365 day a year job. It is also a hard role to crack into, but if you love basketball and have an interest in where a team’s future is going, it is definitely the roll for you.