The Portland Trail Blazers held another pre-Draft workout on Monday, hosting six 2012 NBA Draft prospects. There were no projected first round picks in the group. As has been the custom, the workout was essentially closed to the media and the Blazers refused to discuss any individual prospects.
Here's the list of participants.
- Missouri guard Kim English | DraftExpress Profile | No. 55 in DX Top 100
- Iona guard Scott Machado | DraftExpresseProfile | No. 49 in DX Top 100
- Norfolk State forward/center Kyle O'Quinn | DraftExpress Profile | No. 41 in DX Top 100
- Georgetown center Henry Sims | DraftExpress Profile | No. 65 in DX Top 100
- Villanova guard Maalik Wayns | DraftExpress Profile | No. 77 in DX Top 100
- South Dakota guard Charlie Westbrook | DraftExpress Profile | No. 87 in DX Top 10
Here's a transcript of Blazers GM Neil Olshey's press comments following the workout.
It was a competitive group with a lot of good guys. They're four year guys, we've scouted them a ton. But just getting them in the gym, there's some guys here who have the ability to do more than you would find based on their role with their teams.
Depth in the Draft
In most Drafts you're going to find a lot of tiers, the depth is a relative issue. If you're looking for role players that might be one Draft. Star quality in others. It depends. I think there are a lot of four year guys in this Draft that can help teams by being role or rotation caliber players.
Questions prospects are asking you
Some of the guys, they're pretty intuitive, they want to know where they would fit on the team, what their role would be, what the roster looks like. Clearly we have four Draft picks and we've got some returning players so guys want to know what kind of opportunity would be here. These second round guys, whether or not they can make the team. Style of play. Things like that. For the most part, they want to get drafted.
We over-analyze it, all the mock Drafts and the blogs. It's really not that complicated, they want to get drafted a place they can make the team. You're going to have guys who would rather go to a situation where there are more roster spots than a place that could tell them what their role would be if they made the team.
How's pre-Draft process progressing?
We've still got a couple more workouts. Jason Filippi got here today, he's our international scout. We'll dig into Treviso and our international prospects and start factoring those guys into our Draft projections.
We're leaving on Friday to go down to Houston Joel Freeland is in town with the Great Britain national team, they've got a couple of scrimmages so we're going to watch Joel practice on Friday night, Saturday and spend some time with him in between. They play Lithuania Saturday night. It's a good chance to get a tactile relationship with Joel. Get a feeling for what his thoughts are and his goals would be as far as joining the roster next year. See if we can make some progress in working something out there.
We have a big workout here on Wednesday. We have a bunch more guys in the Lottery range on Wednesday. We've still got some guys, based on scheduling conflicts, that will be more early in the week of the Draft to see them.
How many more workouts before Draft?
We've got at least two. There could be more. Right now you've got a lot of guys scrambling. Agents end up seeing ghosts and they want guys to go back the second time to teams they think are hot spots for their players. Teams start panicking that they haven't found their guy, their target. They want to get new players in. Steve Rosenberry has done a great job, he's gotten in everybody we wanted to see, he's had competitive workouts. We feel pretty good right now with where we are with both picks.
Right now we have one scheduled for the week of the Draft. There could be more based on scheduling conflicts. If we can't really hone in on a guy criteria-wise and there's some question marks that we haven't answered yet, we might ask some guys to come back who are in our range.
Do you believe in psychological testing?
It's definitely a factor. You want to close the loop. You've got live scouting, you've got film, you've got analytics, you've got workouts, you've got interviews, you've got background checks, you've got off-court intel, you've got the psychological. It all works together. You're setting up a system of checks and balances. As you go down your priority list, you go see the guys live, you reconcile that with film, you bring them in to workout and if there are red flags from the psychological or intel or background standpoint, you have to factor that in. Your risk tolerance increases the later you get in the Draft, in terms of how much the psychological and off-court factor into your decision.
I think it's great. It's not that unlike where we were with the Clippers a few years ago. We were transitioning. We were transitioning from a veteran roster and a veteran coach to uncharted waters in terms of asset acquisition and rebuilding up the depth of the roster so you can get into deal-making situations.
I'm excited by it. It's great. I spent a lot of time this weekend with my wife, looking at houses and visiting with friends, the excitement level is fantastic. We can't handle a Draft, hire a coach and handle free agency on our time frame. There's a chronology and a calendar that you follow. Right now, the ultimate priority is the Draft.
When we close up that part of the loop we'll get deeper into the coaching search. We're comfortable with where we are in terms of the guys we're looking at, the candidates, and the fact they'll still be available when we get into a more substantive roster composition, so we know what we're interviewing guys for. We have a great free agency strategy right now, all of these things could go right out the window. All of these could go into a state of flux, you walk into a Draft room and two minutes later the phone rings and a deal you thought was dead comes back to life. The entire roster composition could change.
Fluidity, flexibility, those are kind of the buzzwords for us. We want to be prepared for every single scenario. That's one of the great things about having a deep staff and having diverse personalities on it. Every time we think we've closed the door on one scenario, someone brings something else to the table. We're going to be open-minded. All we want to do is come out with the absolute best roster competition by July 15 for sustainable success. We want to build it so it can sustain a successful level for a long period of time, not a one hit wonder.
Interactions with Blazers fans
It's great. It's terrific. I was completely anonymous in Los Angeles. You get it more in email form with the Clippers. Season ticket holder townhall events. You go out to dinner here and it's great, everything is positive. Everybody realizes this is a transitional period and everyone is really excited. I think they just want it to happen at a more accelerated pace. Once we get into mid-July, late-July, everyone is going to be really happy with the free agents we've added, the Draft we're going to have, the coach we're going to hire, I think people will be very pleased.
Coaches won't be taken after Draft?
We're pretty comfortable right now with the guys we're targeting. I don't want to get into specifics but we feel pretty good. The available talent pool is what we're looking at right now. It's open right now. It's going to be exhaustive, a lot of the search -- just so you guys know and you're getting to know me a little bit -- it's going to happen behind the scenes. It's not going to play out in the media. It's not going to become a war of the three or four agents who actually represent coaches, seeing what blogger or what reporter they have a better relationship with to blow up everybody else and pump up their guy. That's not productive. While you guys may not see all of it, it may not be available to all of you guys through the media, it's going on. I'd rather work in a professional basis where it was between us and the coaches and not in a war of Internet hits.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter