What You Learn At The Chicago Pre-Draft Camp
By caseyholdahl Posted in: 2010draft
You could argue the NBA's pre-draft camp, once held in Orlando and since moved to Chicago, has outlived its usefulness. With most players declining to participate in on-court workouts, what was once a chance to see the best draft prospects compete head-to-head has turned into not much more than an opportunity to get heights, weights, wingspans and other measurables deemed necessary when contemplating draftability.
But while the Chicago pre-draft camp might not be the best venue to gauge whether a potential draftee can play, it is the best place to begin discussions with other NBA teams regarding which players teams are leaning toward selecting and potential trades that may take place on draft night and beyond.
"I would say there's a lot of interaction amongst all the teams," said Trail Blazers Director of College Scouting Chad Buchanan, who is in Chicago for the camp. "It's kind of the start of the draft process as far as the whole league. From here you start to have conversations about potential moves that might take place between now and the draft. Just kind of feeling all of the other 29 teams out."
While there's little that would resemble an actual basketball game taking place in Tim Grover's expansive Attack Athletics gym where the pre-draft camp takes place, Buchanan says there is value in getting a chance to compare firsthand things like footwork, shooting form and speed up and down the court. But in the long run, the discussions held in Chicago between the guys in suits might end up being more useful than knowing the vertical leap of the guys in shorts.
"It's a great opportunity to get out there and talk to other teams," said Buchanan, "see where they're at with their team and communicate with them where we're at with our team. It's a chance to kind of get the ball rolling on some discussions."
That opportunity can be a mixed blessing. One one hand, it's helpful to have an idea of where other teams are at in terms of their draft plan. The flip side is that it's it's often hard to tell what is real and what isn't as teams partake in subterfuge in attempt to advance a their own agenda.
"Obviously team are in initial stages and you're not going to show your best hand right away," said Buchanan, "but there can be things that develop (in Chicago) this far out from the draft.
"There's definitely some concrete things that pan out. It's kind of the initial stages here for teams. Obviously a lot of teams aren't going to throw out there best offer right away, but there are going to be some things that really get kick started this week."
It's impossible to know if any of the discussions taking place in Chicago will result in moves made by the Trail Blazers or other teams on draft day. After all, plenty can and will happen between now and when teams phone in their picks to the NBA league office on June 24. But the fact that all 30 teams are talking amongst each other under one roof is reason enough to keep the Chicago pre-draft camp afloat, even if the activity on the court has taken a backseat to the activity on the sidelines.