September 28th marks the start date for the OKC Thunder to begin assessing draft prospect talents via innovative new methods
With the OKC Thunder moving on from Billy Donovan, clearly, executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti will be busy interviewing for his replacement. Among other key priorities is the roster construction for next season.
Included in that consideration will be the assessment of free agents, team options, and the upcoming NBA Draft where the Thunder will make two selections. Although the Philadelphia 76ers will get the Thunder pick OKC is still in the mix as the first-round pick obtained in the trade of Jerami Grant gets conveyed this year.
That pick will occur with the 25th pick and the Thunder will make select in the second round with their own pick with the 53rd selection.
As for the latter situation, this season will be quite different given the pandemic and when it comes to assessing talents the typical process will be very different.
OKC Thunder can begin Draft Combine process as of September 28th
One major change is clearly how teams can assess talent. Typically the NBA Draft Combine is an event that not only allows teams to see prospects in action, assess their performance in tests and drills but also allows franchises to conduct in-person interviews.
The latter has taken on greater relevance in recent years particularly with teams like the Thunder who place great emphasis on character.
With the coronavirus pandemic, the Draft Combine will not follow its typical process. Instead, the league has come up with an innovative new process so teams and prospects can gain the information necessary to make their decisions.
That process will begin this coming week starting on September 28th and will run in phases up until November. The process will occur in team markets or virtually so the Thunder will likely have some players participate in Oklahoma City and review some prospects virtually.
League and individual team interviews with prospects can take place between September 28th and October 16th. Another interesting aspect of the evaluation will be how the league addresses testing the skills of individuals. In that regard, the league plans on conducting individual on-court testing and measurements in October. The specifics of this portion will include strength and agility tests, shooting drills, anthropometric measurements plus a “Pro Day” video.
This portion of the Combine process will take place at the NBA facility nearest the prospect’s home (or current residence). All medical testing will be conducted by physicians affiliated with the NBA.
The aforementioned “Pro Day” video will be prepared using HomeCourt (a mobile basketball training app). This video will highlight shooting and fundamentals with a view to providing analytics.
The other tool teams can utilize is “Combine HQ” which will allow clubs to compare prospects to their peers and previous draft prospects.
As noted the revised date for the NBA Draft is November 18th but it’s not set in stone as the league is keeping the date fluid pending any developments with the pandemic.
A full description of the tools and Combine details can be viewed on the NBA official website and Thunderous Intentions will keep you posted of any updates as they become available.
For now, click the box below to peruse TI’s top 30 draft prospects.