Posted May 18 2011 12:50PM
The annual exercise in frustration and occasional insight for NBA front offices returns today as dozens of pro prospects and several representatives from every team meet in Chicago for the largest of the workouts heading into the June 23 draft, workouts being something of a subjective term.
Fifty-four candidates, mostly from U.S. colleges, are scheduled to attend, but not all will participate. As has been the case with maddening regularity for talent evaluators, most of the top players, some of whom might not even make the top half of the first round, sit out on the advice of agents rather than risk a bad showing that could jeopardize a high selection. What is usually swept aside is that a good showing could move someone up the board.
It is left to the projected second-round picks, and those hopeful to go that high, to take part in the pickup games Thursday and Friday organized to the point the coaches will get them to run through plays. The bigger names will limit themselves to the mandatory skills tests -- if you're looking to draft the guy with the best talent to dribble one-on-none around pylons, this is the place to be -- and physicals.
The physicals at least have the chance of being interesting, the way scouts and executives hope for the new truth after laughing at some of the heights and weights distributed by colleges in an attempt to make players look good. This year, for example, the measurements of Connecticut's Kemba Walker, bound for the top 10, will draw interest, to see if he is more 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11 than the 6-feet that had been generously listed. The same goes for Kenneth Faried, who will need to play power forward in the NBA after being listed by Morehead State at 6-foot-8.
But if nothing else, teams get official physicals, the chance for some of their medical and training staff to examine players, and the opportunity for basketball-operations staffers to meet with players to gauge personalities. That can be valuable interaction as well, joined with information from background checks.
All teams will then hold smaller workouts in the weeks leading to June 23, with another large gathering set for next week in Minneapolis. The top-tier prospects will skip that one outright, with no mandatory appearances for the physicals or informal interviews.
The 54 who will be in Chicago, according to the NBA:
Keith Benson (Oakland), Marshon Brooks (Providence), Alec Burks (Colorado), Jimmy Butler (Marquette), Norris Cole (Cleveland State, Faried, Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston), Jordan Hamilton (Texas), Ben Hansbrough (Notre Dame), Justin Harper (Richmond), Tobias Harris (Tennessee), Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA), Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Kyrie Irving (Duke), Reggie Jackson (Boston College), Rick Jackson (Syracuse), Charles Jenkins (Hofstra), JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), Cory Joseph (Texas), Enes Kanter (Turkey), Brandon Knight (Kentucky), Malcolm Lee (UCLA), Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State), Travis Leslie (Georgia), Jon Leuer (Wisconsin), DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), David Lighty (Ohio State), Shelvin Mack (Butler), Demetri McCamey (Illinois), E'Twaun Moore (Purdue), Darius Morris (Michigan), Marcus Morris (Kansas), Markieff Morris (Kansas), Lucas Nogueira (Spain), Chandler Parsons (Florida), Jereme Richmond (Illinois), Josh Selby (Kansas), Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech), Kyle Singler (Duke), Chris Singleton (Florida State), Jamie Skeen (VCU), Greg Smith (Fresno State), Nolan Smith (Duke), Isaiah Thomas (Washington), Malcolm Thomas (San Diego State), Trey Thompkins (Georgia), Klay Thompson (Washington State), Tristan Thompson (Texas), Jeremy Tyler (San Diego High School and pro teams in Israel and Japan), Nikola Vucevic (USC), Walker, Derrick Williams (Arizona) and Jordan Williams (Maryland).
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