CHICAGO – Watch the narrative on the Draft begin to change, one general manager predicted.
Watch some front offices, in other words, suddenly talk up the Draft that for months has been universally regarded as weak, in an attempt to push more of a positive vibe for picks heading toward June 27. Part will be making the most of a bad situation, part simply focusing on the positives that do exist rather than continuing to lament the lack of star power, lack of depth and the lack of healthy top prospects. Or as one veteran executive put it rhetorically:
“Would you want a top pick this year?”
All of which makes the pre-Draft camp that opens here today and moves to the gym Thursday and Friday particularly intriguing, because of the greater chance than normal for dramatic shifts in stock. The swooning of past years, at least over a single prospect — like Anthony Davis last year — being as close to a sure thing in an otherwise-understated draft does not exist. A good showing at workouts at a private facility, along with individual interviews with teams, though, could mean a significant bump.
As always, many players projected for the lottery (and in some cases, with a chance for the top 12 or 14) will skip the basketball portion of this NBA job fair rather than risk hurting their stock. Most of those prospects will show for the interviews and the physicals, leave and choose spots for individual workouts after the lottery order is set May 21.
The twist this time is that three players in the top 10 in the latest NBA.com rankings won’t be able to take complete physicals either because of injuries that will also keep them out of tryouts leading to the Draft and Summer League after that: Kentucky power forward Nerlens Noel (No. 2), UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett (3) and Maryland center Alex Len (9).
Sixty-three players are on the latest (so-called) participant list for the largest annual gathering of team representatives, from top executives to scouts to coaches and medical staffs, and prospects, to be followed in the coming weeks by large workouts hosted by the Nets and Timberwolves. The primary event for international prospects, the adidas Eurocamp, will be June 8-10 in Treviso, Italy.