NBA Rumor: Draft Combine

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NBA announces new format for Draft Combine

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“NBA Draft Combine is an essential part of the pre-draft evaluation process,” said Byron Spruell, President, NBA League Operations. “While the circumstances surrounding this Combine are unique, we’re excited to creatively deliver a valuable experience for our teams, who have remained flexible through the process, and for prospective draftees who are just beginning their NBA journeys.” NBA Draft Combine 2020 will give players the opportunity to participate in league and team interviews, both conducted via videoconference from Sept. 28 through Oct. 16. Players will also take part in an individual on-court program consisting of strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, shooting drills and a “Pro Day” video, all conducted in October at the NBA team facility nearest to a player’s home or interim residence. Medical testing and examinations will be performed by NBA-affiliated physicians in the same market.

In what’s likely to become one of the most wide open draft processes in years, prospective players would attend selected regional team facilities throughout the country, sources said. The plan would include team doctors administering physicals at local hospitals and league officials to recording body measurables and putting players through physical testing at team facilities, sources said. The NBA still hasn’t made a final determination on the location or format for the October 16 draft event, sources said.

As the NBA continues to ramp up its restart inside the bubble on the campus of the Walt Disney World Resort, the league continues to move toward the resumption of its offseason. The memo informed teams of the 105 players that received the most votes to be included in the league’s annual combine — a number that will eventually be whittled down to the 70 players who will take part in it. The combine, which typically takes place in Chicago in mid-May in concert with the draft lottery, still hasn’t been officially re-scheduled, but the league said in the memo that it is still evaluating potential dates and formats to hold the event.

Speaking of the combine, league sources have characterized the possibilities for the combine as fluid. The feeling is that the league does want to have some sort of in-person combine. Particularly, the league itself and team personnel want access to players’ medical information. That has always been the most important part of the combine, but it’s heightened even more this year because teams are unlikely to have players into their own facilities. In a memo the league released in early April, NBA team personnel may not conduct or attend any workout of any draft-eligible player in any location until further notice.

Per league sources, there’s an ongoing push within the NBA to hold some iteration of the draft combine, which would take place after the Aug. 25 lottery, most likely some time in September. The event is held annually in Chicago, a convenient central location for teams and players, and could still take place there, pending shifting health and safety circumstances amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing has been set in stone yet, with the league’s primary focus having centered on the initial return to play. Given how complicated it’s been for the NBA to set up and negotiate the logistics for the Orlando site, it’s kind of hard to see the combine taking place within that bubble. That situation is still evolving. But there are some feasible pathways to safely conducting a limited version of the combine, while minimizing close-quarters contact and still benefitting all parties.

The road to being an NBA standout has been far from easy for Covington, as he recently discussed on an episode of Next Level Leaders with Dr. Joseph Walker, III. “There were so many people that told me I couldn’t do this that it made me want to do it even more because I wanted to prove them wrong,” said Covington. “I didn’t get invited [to the NBA Draft Combine] at first. I found out through Twitter that I had gotten invited because some people had dropped out. I ended up going to the combine and that’s where I started to turn heads. I put my name right back out there.”

While the league also indefinitely postponed the combine, it is still moving forward with the hopes of holding it at some point later this year, sources said. Last week, it sent a memo to teams asking them to vote for up to 70 players from a provided list of potential invites to the combine, just as they have in the past. In the memo, which was seen by ESPN, the league said that once it does decide on a scheduled format, player will then be invited to participate.

Draft Combine taking place in Las Vegas or Orlando?

With the NBA increasingly optimistic about a return to play this summer, the NBA Draft Combine could potentially take place in Las Vegas or Orlando, sources said. Chicago is also an option, sources said. The NBA on May 1 announced the postponement of NBA Draft Lottery 2020 and NBA Draft Combine 2020, both of which were scheduled to take place in Chicago. “If there is a combine it will probably be in Chicago or Las Vegas or Orlando if that is where they are going to have the teams play if there is a season,” one NBA executive said.

It should come as little surprise, then, that LaVar Ball began laying the groundwork for LaMelo to sit out of the combine. In an interview with Forbes’ Pat Benson, LaVar was non-committal when asked if LaMelo would take part in the Draft Combine. “I don’t know if he’s going to do the draft combine because I think he’s done enough. He’s proved enough on the court already. Now it’s just finding a good team, actually, a good coach who’s going to believe in him. That’s the main thing.”

Coaching is an avenue that Perkins has been considering since retiring from the NBA one year ago, and Thursday’s experience only reinforced his desire. “Whenever you’re able to drop knowledge on young kids that are trying to fulfill a lifelong dream, it’s always a pleasure,” Perkins said Thursday evening after wrapping up Day 1 of the Combine. “But I’m just trying to get my feet wet as far as with the coaching and trying to get as much experience as I can, and I think it’s turning out well.”

The entire list of advancing players: Iowa State’s Marial Shayok, Ole Miss’s Terence Davis, Tulsa’s Dequan Jeffries, Nevada’s Cody Martin, Miami’s Dewan Hernandez, UCF’s Tacko Fall, Auburn’s Jared Harper, Iowa’s Tyler Cook, Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry and Brissett.

That swish from the left corner was Huerter’s first of 15 straight made three-pointers in an individual drill. Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton, Starbucks coffee in hand, stopped mid-stride to watch Huerter move around the arc. Peja Stojakovic, one of the best shooters in NBA history and now the director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings, paused a conversation to do the same. A Western Conference scout tracked Huerter’s shots on a chart, and when it was only makes and no misses he picked up his pencil and mouthed a single word: Wow.
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September 24, 2020 | 12:47 pm EDT Update
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When Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren came on the Tampering podcast with Denver general manager Tim Connelly in early September, the two executives discussed the unavoidable reality that front office executives will always miss the mark on some prospects. And the Celtics, Zarren explained, were still stinging from that choice to take Johnson over Butler. One is a five-time All-Star who has transformed this Heat team after signing with Miami in free agency in the summer of 2019, and the other played 36 games as a rookie (2011-12) before eventually heading overseas (he currently plays for Bayern Munich in the EuroLeague).
“JaJuan Johnson had a tremendous college career,” Butler, who was taken by Chicago at No. 30 in that 2011 draft, told me when I asked if he was aware of the Celtics’ regret. “He probably did more in college than I ever dreamt of doing, and I hope he’s having a healthy career, wherever he is. But I don’t look at it like that, man. You don’t know. I got lucky. I fell into Chicago and turned into a player, and maybe if I’m (with the Celtics) I don’t pan out to be the player that I am. It’s funny how things work together to make something happen like that. I’m grateful for where I am, and I’m grateful for who did take me in the draft.”
September 24, 2020 | 12:10 pm EDT Update
Some are more skeptical that the interest is a two-way street. Multiple league sources who spoke with PhillyVoice have questioned whether D’Antoni is genuinely interested in the job or whether it’s a leverage play to get a better deal elsewhere. There are other teams, most notably the Pacers and Pelicans, with rosters that better suit his style of basketball.
Storyline: 76ers Coaching Search
The Celtics were very much enamored with the 20-year-old leading up to last June’s draft, aware that there was a shot that he might be on the board when it was their turn to select at No. 14. But in came Heat team president Pat Riley, sticking it to the Celtics again by not only taking a player Boston had a major interest in selecting but also developing him into a difference-maker whose play may very well spell the end of the Celtics’ season.