By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Givony has an eye for talent. He also had a big idea almost a decade ago and now he is a factor in the draft process. So, here is how all this happened. After the first part of his interview and his opinion about Euros and the draft, this is the second part, about him and his extremely successful website.
- How it all started?
“Ιt was December 2003. It’s not ten years, but you know almost nine years. You visit at events, you meet people and you stay in touch and you create a network and you take a lot of interest at the NBA Draft too, so that makes it a little bit easier”.
- So, basically, in these ten years you have been everywhere, to watch much more than once every player and to have his file ready…
“Me and the people they help me did all these things. I had people that worked for my website and that helped me a lot. We were three or four people in the beginning. And we are still five or six. No more. It’s not a big website. I don’t believe in 100 articles a day. I think we need to make few articles every week, but very high quality ones. And we need to cover all the players. We don’t write like “OK, yesterday Navarro had 18 points”. What we do have is “this is the season that Navarro had” more of a report of what progress has he made. Obviously not for Navarro, cause we are writing about young players, who are under 22. Those are our main focus. So when everybody is saying what happened yesterday, we are saying what happened all last year, for every player. And we try to write about every interesting guy, at least once a year, for players are going to the draft”.
- How you came up with the idea?
“We kind of looked around on the internet, for information we couldn’t find. We wanted to have information about the players. Who is good, who is not, who might enter into the draft and we weren’t satisfied with what he found. So, so we decided to open up our own thing and try to improve this”.
- And what about the competition you gained, during the years?
“What’s good is, there is not a lot of competition, in the market. It’s not easy what we are doing. You can’t just decide one day to wake up and say “I m gonna start to write about the NBA draft”. It takes a little time to understand the players, you can’t watch them once, or twice. You need to follow them, from when they are 16, 17 years old, to see how they are evolving”.
- Five years from now who will be the TOP5 of the best players?
“To be honest, you guys know more than me concerning young players here in Europe. I only now start to know them and this is why I come to junior tournaments and to Kaunas, for under 17 world championship, to watch young players. We really focus on guys who are eligible for the draft and that would be for players at 22, so these guys are a little younger. Maybe I have heard their names but I haven’t an opinion. I need to study them, I don’t remember their names. It is hard to watch players at 16 or 17 and tell how they are going to be. You cannot know how they are going to react. I am not that smart to do that now. My job is easier than your job…”
- Is there any secret to you success?
“I love basketball and anybody who is competitive, wants to be the best. Everything came through hard work, I guess. How hard? I work normal day. About 10-12 hours. And I’ m always traveling.
- You remember where… is your house, right?
“Yeap. I know where my house is, though I don’t sleep to my bed as much I like to, unfortunately”.
- It was OKC GM Sam Presti, who said “Draft Εxpress is the Wall Street Journal of the NBA”. How you did reach the point where every NBA team check to your website for information?
“I am happy about this. This website is for them. They are the audience more than everybody, so if I can make their job a little bit easier, I will try to do it”.
- How many calls, texts, e-mails you receive each day, from people who need information about the players?
“I don’t open my phone for the whole world. There is people who are friends of mine, they are in my network and they can reach me whenever they want. We are in a business. I can spend the whole day on the phone, talking to people, but I don’t want to do this. The good think is as I say quite often “my web site has more information than it is in my head. So everything is on the website. Go on there”.
- When you are not on the road, you watch films with players?
“Yes, I do that a lot. I watch more films than I watch in person. That’s the secret. Watching players on tape, that’s the best way to learn about a player”.
- What are you looking for?
“There are three main things I am looking for. One is their physical characteristics, two is their skill level and three is their mentality. If a player is fantastic at all three, he has a chance to be a great player. You watch hundreds and thousands of players, you start to see the differences between them, how they can grow. Υou have to look at them all the time, to keep an open mind, to see how they are changing, cause some of them get better, others get worse”.