Nothing is like it used to be in 2020, and that includes the NBA draft — it will be virtual and take place Nov. 18.
The in-person workouts for the draft are different as well: Players will pick a city and do an individual workout there, and teams can send a scout/GM to that city to watch the workout and do a 1-on-1 interview (although the interview is not guaranteed). Teams don’t get to see the player in an individual workout on their terms, it’s more pro-day style. Not every team is down with this, reports Marc Berman at the New York Post.
Some teams are deciding not to partake in the loosening up of draft-preparation guidelines that will allow scouts to fly to a designated city with other clubs and watch a Pro Day-like live workout. Usually those Pro Days feature meaningless 1-on-0 drills…
Some teams believe the COVID-19 risk outweighs the reward. New York has protocols that require two-week quarantines after returning from many states. One executive from a club that won’t attend told The Post the best intel is watching a prospect at his college practice. “Doing your own homework and own background checks are more important,’’ the executive said.
What teams want is less the workout and more the interview, the chance to get a sense of the player. That can be done via Zoom, but as we have all found out during the pandemic, those online interviews do not give you the same sense of a person you get in person.
Front offices around the league spent the pandemic doing a lot of NBA draft prep — watching videos from games and practices, calling coaches and associates, and doing their background research. That hasn’t always helped in a draft with no clear No. 1 pick and wide-ranging opinions on other players, but teas have done the work.
Missing an in-person workout at this point is not that big a deal, but those workouts could add a piece of the puzzle for some players.