Combine questions reveal much about NBA draft prospects
CHICAGO -- Here's a secret about the workout portions of the NBA combine: For the most part, it's worthless. Since the NBA did away with five-on-five drills in 2009 -- largely due to the fact that too many nervous agents were advising clients not to participate, causing attendance in the combine to dip -- executives have been limited to watching big men post up against oversized pads and guards take uncontested jumpers. "Anyone that says they can learn something about a player from that," said an Eastern Conference executive, "has never seen the player."
What is useful are the interviews, when team officials can poke and prod a prospective draft pick. North Texas forward Tony Mitchell said his interview with Detroit involved a series of rapid fire questions, requiring him to think quickly. UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad said he was asked repeatedly about the NCAA investigation into him and to clarify how old he was. Pittsburgh's Steven Adams said Dallas brought a sports psychologist to "mentally torment" him. Some players were interviewed by a handful of teams, some by as many as 15.
The interviews are private, but in the case of many players, some of the questions league execs are not hard to figure out. Here's a sample of how some players answered some of those questions.
Shane Larkin, G, Miami
Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana
Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas
Archie Goodwin, G, Kentucky
Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Dewayne Dedmon, F-C, USC
Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
Ricky Ledo, G, Providence