NBA teams have been given rules about the allowed pre-draft process they can implement this year. All the restrictions caused by COVID-19 left teams in uncharted territory, so the league set some boundaries.
Teams are limited to four hours of virtual meetings with each prospect, and also can’t meet for more than two hours with a prospect in any given week. During none of that time can teams ask a player to perform any sort of workout. This part of the year is always crazy for an NBA front office, and this year is even more insane.
“Teams are talking to you about trades. Agents want daily updates on what you think about their clients. You’re trying to find out who is declaring and who likes who. And in the middle of it, you have people hitting you up about free agency and trades. It’s non-stop.”via Keith Smith, NBC Sports
Well run teams already have most of the scouting done. They watched most of the tape, done their research, and the time around NCAA tournament is just icing on the cake. A lot of teams put in a conscientious effort not to overrate what happens at the NCAA tournament compared to someone’s full body of work.
Two things have a much more significant impact. A red flag on your medical report can kick you off someone’s draft board, and teams have their doctors examining each potential pick. This is now off the table, as agents will be providing medical reports.
The other major part is judging someone’s character. Four hours of Zoom can’t come close to half a day or a whole day in a practice facility and over dinner. How people act, communicate with others, react in unknown situations – not going to happen this year.
“People laugh about going against a chair and shooting in an empty, but it’s our chance to see the guy. And you talk all throughout. We had one guy come in and bomb our shooting drill. He demanded we let him go again. That’s the competitive spirit we want to see.”via Keith Smith, NBC Sports
The NCAA tournament can be misleading. Someone has two or three good games and shoots up in rankings when they shouldn’t. GM’s have a much better understanding of what regressing to the mean is, but owners don’t. That’s why a lot of GM’s won’t miss the NCAA tournament a lot.
“I’m also not really upset the NCAA tournament got canceled. Every year our owner falls in love with a couple of kids who have a big tournament. Every year we need to talk him down. I’m glad not to have that hassle this year.”via Keith Smith, NBC Sports
With all the limitations the following weeks will have, we’ll find out which front offices do their work all year round, and which don’t. 2020 isn’t considered to be a great draft year, but there’s always a diamond in the rough out there. Things are about to get wild.