The pre-draft workout period began for the Thunder last Friday, and with its arrival came the next opportunity for Oklahoma City to evaluate prospects leading up to the June 25 NBA Draft.
Over the next six weeks, through brisk 60-minute workout sessions, the Thunder’s coaching staff and front office executives will try to answer any remaining questions they have about draft-eligible players. Picture a beefed-up version of the NFL Combine, with players thrust into similar athletic testing that includes sprints, vertical jump measurements and agility drills. But the NBA’s version also engages players in shooting drills and competitive games of 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 3-on-3. NBA rules permit teams to conduct workouts with up to six prospects per session, which limits the scope of the assessment but provides enough substance to form a more complete analysis. "Overall, it’s a small amount of information that you get,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. "But it’s another piece to putting together the total evaluation of each player.” Pre-draft workouts have caused players to shoot up draft boards or plummet on draft day. Presti, however, sounds like a GM who refuses to put too much stock into a workout, no matter how well or poorly the player might perform. Instead, since NBA teams are not permitted to talk to players during their college seasons, the Thunder typically will place just as much emphasis on getting to know a player — who he is, where he’s from and what’s his family background. "The No. 1 thing is having an opportunity to sit down with the players and have them interact with your staff and for them to get to know the organization and the people within the organization,” Presti said.