Danny Ainge and the Celtics scouting staff has spent all year watching, researching, and breaking down film on players that are eligible to be drafted next month. So what could we possibly learn from a few drills and facetime? Not a lot usually, but it is something.
"We spend some time trying to think of the scenarios and drills that can hopefully duplicate playing," Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said. The Celtics often try to bring in players with similar positions and talent levels, which allows Boston to create 3-on-3 games that simulate game action and allows players to distinguish themselves against their draft class peers. For instance, Boston appears to have a wing-heavy workout scheduled for June 3 consisting of players who are likely to be available in the mid-to-late first round where Boston has the No. 17 pick via last summer's swap with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics will also look at most of the guys that figure to be available with the 6th pick (though not the top 4 guys).
Lottery-caliber players that the Celtics plan to work out: Randle, Vonleh, Smart, Gordon, Harris, McDermott, Stauskas.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) May 28, 2014
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid & Dante Exum all won't work out for Celtics. They all expect to be gone by the 6th overall pick.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) May 28, 2014
So will there be any surprises in the workouts? Not likely, but it has happened.
And while the workouts make up just part of the overall process in overall player assessment, there have been times when Ainge was blown away by a player's workout. "I wouldn't say that on our current roster, but it has happened," Ainge told CSNNE.com. When Ainge was the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, they brought in this scrawny kid from UNLV with a funky-looking release on his shot. His name was Shawn Marion, a four-time all-star.
Note that one of the players that Aaron Gordon has been compared to often is Shawn Marion.
I would say that typically you won't learn a ton about a player on the court, but you can get a better feel for them off the court, which can be very important. Before now, NBA people haven't been able to have contact with the players.
Q: What are the qualities you look for in a prospective player?
A: A baseline level of talent, then you’re looking for guys that are into the team. Their presence in the locker room raises everybody else on the court. There are a few teams that just exude that. And there are a lot of us who are striving to get to the point where you have that perfect mix.
Right now there seems to be little separation between the guys projected between 5 and 10. Every little piece of information is important when it comes to ranking them and setting up a draft board.
The workouts are just one piece in the puzzle, but that could be an important piece.