Around 120 potential NBA Draftees will head to the Wintrust Arena in Chicago this week as they participate, in varying degrees, in the NBA Draft Combine and G League Elite camp.
The Windy City will also host 17 pro days, each run by an agency and of course, perhaps the highlight of the week will be the NBA Draft Lottery, which takes place at 8pm ET on Tuesday and which will decide the selection order of the first fourteen picks of the forthcoming 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday 23 June.
In a break with tradition that has generally seen the top prospects eschew participating in the combine, this year Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paulo Banchero will be in attendance, although none of the three are expected to get involved in much more beyond talks with a few prospective franchises.
Four players have declined an invitation to Chicago this week, Isaiah Mobley (USC), Kris Murray (Iowa), Caleb Houston (Michigan) and international player Yannick Nzosa.
However, for those in attendance and taking part in the various drills and other camp activities, it is a chance for them to increase their draft stock markedly and perhaps catch the eye of one of the teams set to make one of the 60 selections in June’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Who Will Be Working Out At The Combine?
Perhaps of most interest to NBA coaches will be the fact that nine international stars will be
attending the combine.
These players can be difficult for teams to evaluate as they play in other regions around the world and against different levels of opposition as to what they would face in the NCAAB or in the NBA.
At the combine, these players, along with other attendees will get a chance to speak with teams, play in 5-on-5 games, 3-on-3 drills as well as being able to undergo various athletic tests and other body measurements.
A solid performance allied with positive outcomes from interviews can elevate a players standing so they they go from being a possible draft pick, to a probable one.
Won’t Affect The Top Picks
While the combine won’t likely affect which players go at the very top of the draft, the NBA Draft Lottery certainly will have a major impact over which teams stand to benefit from the draft the most.
The 14 teams that did not reach the NBA Playoffs will be entered into the draw, with the lowest ranking teams given the most chance of landing one of the top picks, and the higher ranking teams given less chance.
The lottery will decide which of these 14 teams will land the first four picks in the draft.
After the draw is made, the picks from 5 to 14th will then be decided based on the head-to-head regular season records of the remaining teams, with those with the worst rankings handed the earlier picks.
Although a somewhat contrived way of deciding the top four picks, there’s no doubt the Draft Lottery has livened up combine week a great deal.
And its introduction does mean that teams cannot afford to tank the season to pick up the first pick (as is suggested has happened in the past in the NFL) as even if they have the worst record, they may not get the first pick.
Players To Watch
So while Smith, Banchero and Holmgren won’t likely do much other than appear on TV, and maybe chat to a few teams, for other players it is a chance to shine both at the G-League Elite Camp and also with the various pro-days hosted.
Players you can expect to be in action over the combine include JD Davison (Alabama), Patrick Baldwin Jr (Milwaukee), Max Christie (Michigan State), Harrison Ingram (Stanford), Jalen Williams (Santa Clara), Ryan Rollins (Toledo), Matteo Spagnulo (International), Gabriele Procida (International) and Khalifa Diop (International).