Despite no-shows, pre-draft camp still beneficial
During the first night of the NBA pre-draft camp at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, the players ran drills and scrimmaged without keeping score. The next three days they will play for keeps. But even without and official score, the defensive intensity was first rate.
That’s another question as playes consistently had trouble hitting open jump shots.
The buzz around the camp is that there is very little buzz, at least from the standpoint of attracting potential first-round picks.
It appears as if there won’t be more than that number from this year’s camp.
The NBA decision-makers are resigned to the fact that any prospect who feels he will be a first-round pick is bypassing the camp. This year, a number of players who will end up in the second round also decided not to show up, probably because they have a higher opinion of their draft status than NBA general managers.
“We’re in an era where individual team workouts are the predominant tool for postseason evaluations,” Boston Celtics general manager Chris Wallace said. “That is the way it is and has been going on for a number of years and I don’t think anything will radically change that.”
Another NBA executive called this year’s pre-draft camp “a weak group. Too many players have decided not to come.”
Of course, the NBA had hoped for the opposite when it instituted a rule this season that teams couldn’t conduct individual workouts until June 5.
That hasn’t been a deterrent, especially since it gives teams enough time before the June 28 draft. Some teams might even conduct double-sessions, taking advantage of every last day.
So with that as a backdrop, those evaluating the talent realize that there will be few if any future stars but it is still a beneficial gathering.
Teams will be talking to one another, setting the groundwork for what could be a busy draft day of trades.
“I think there will be a significant number of teams looking to make a deal,” Wallace said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see things radically altered due to trades, the night of the draft.”
Even though they didn’t keep score on Tuesday, one person who stood out was somebody who is used to performing in big-game settings – point guard Taurean Green of two-time defending NCAA champion Florida..
At Florida, his statistics weren’t overwhelming, although he did average 13.3 points in each of the last two seasons. As a junior, he averaged 3.7 assists and 2.7 turnovers, but he knew how to run a team and get everybody involved in the offense. For all its high-profile players, Florida truly played like a team and much of that success goes to Green, the floor general.
Green did the same thing in his first night at the pre-draft camp. He was in total control and looked the most relaxed of all the players on the court.
“I tried to run the team, get guys the ball and hit open jump shot and play defense,” Green said.
Most of all, he didn’t looked awed at being part of what could be an intimidating situation, with many of the NBA decision-makers in attendance.
“I think I show a lot of confidence and you can’t be scared,” Green said. “You can’t come here and be nervous and play. You have one shot . One shot and have to show your stuff.”
Green showed his in the first day.
Here is the list of participants in the pre-draft camp.
Mohamed Abukar, 6-10 F, San Diego State
Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
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