Dan Grunfeld Draft Diary Part One
Now that most NBA teams have been eliminated from the playoffs the draft process has really kicked into high gear. For me and for most other players preparing for the draft, that has meant traveling to different cities for NBA team workouts. I have already participated in multiple workouts for teams, so I feel like I have a good idea of what to expect from an NBA workout and also what is expected out of me. Until you go through it a few times, its hard to know exactly what its like.
Personally, there is a certain sense of irony that comes with acclimating myself to this workout process because of the fact that I have been watching these workouts since I was a little kid. My dad worked for the New York Knicks for the first 15 years of my life and then for the Milwaukee Bucks after that and I always tagged along with him when they had college guys in to workout for the draft. It was one of my favorite things to do as a kid. At that time I wasnt very fond of anything that included me getting out of bed early during the summer, but I gladly rolled my butt out of bed to check out these workouts.
The first guy that I really remember watching work out for the draft was Rick Fox. I must have only been 7 or 8 years old but Ill never forget that workout. Rick talked to me for a few minutes after he was done and passed my basketball back and forth with me a couple of times, and he was instantly my favorite player. All I can say is that 7 year olds are pretty easy to please. Since then Ive seen a lot of other guys go through the process that Im going through right now. Another one of my favorites was watching Kobe work out for the Knicks after he came straight out of high school. That, in retrospect, was a pretty special thing to witness. Though I did not go into the workout process completely blind, there is a huge difference between watching and participating. I used to watch these workouts for fun, but when you participate in them, you are focused on taking care of business.
Although Im sure every team puts players through different workouts, there are a few things that, from what Ive experienced, are pretty consistent across the board. Things like shooting drills, 1-on-1, and 2-on-2 are just a few of the things that I have noticed at all of the workouts. I think that, aside from showing your skill level and athleticism, these workouts are also about showing intangibles like competitiveness, conditioning, and toughness. For me, I try to prepare myself to the best of my ability and then just let it all hang out on the court. I feel like if you work as hard as you can and truly come into these workouts prepared, you can have fun and be confident that your talent and ability will shine through.
Because you are only allowed to have 4 players on the court at a given time during these workouts, you cant play anything more than 2-on-2. Because of this, one important aspect of your game that doesnt completely come through in an NBA workout is your feel for the game. That is something that applies more to a full court, 5-on-5 game where there is plenty of movement and opportunities to make basketball plays. I think that NBA teams want to see if a guy knows how to play and has a good feel for the game and that is why there are pre-draft camps like the one coming up in Orlando where guys can play and show these things. Im looking forward to playing in Orlando in a few weeks and Im also looking forward to the NBA workouts that I have coming up. Its all part of the experience.
All in all, going to these NBA teams and working out is exciting. In my case (and Im sure in the cases of most of the guys preparing for the draft right now) playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream and its fun to able to compete against other guys in trying to make that dream a reality.