A Look Into the Whirlwind NBA Pre-draft Process for Prospects

The life of an NBA player has its perks — five-star hotels, chartered planes, catered meals. Before some reach that point, though, they have to go through the grind of the draft workout process. 

For many of those who are not projected top picks, the weeks leading up to the draft are spent on commercial flights and in hotel rooms as they travel from city to city, trying to make an impact on numerous organizations.

By the time they get two weeks into the workouts, many have to pause to recall where they have already been. As for their upcoming trips, sometimes it is difficult to remember beyond the next one or two.

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Take the players who worked out with the Sixers on Monday as an example. While some top prospects have agency-run workouts, where teams travel to see them, these players are living out of suitcases, going from organization to organization. 

Weber State forward Joel Bolomboy still had five teams on his schedule after working out with the Sixers, Bucks, Suns, Spurs, Rockets and Hawks. LSU point guard Tim Quarterman already worked out for the Lakers, Spurs, Bucks, Nets, Rockets and Mavs, and could remember upcoming visits to the Bulls and Hornets. Boise State center James Webb III estimated he had 10 or 11 workouts remaining after his trip to Philadelphia. 

“It’s hard. It’s a long process. Most of my workouts are every other day,” Bolomboy said. “I’m just trying to do the best to take care of my body, hop in that cold tub and stretch as much as I can and just keep my legs fresh.” 

Hydration is a point of emphasis for these players. In addition, some have changed their diets since college. Kansas’ Brannen Greene has been living in the same apartment complex in New York with Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Thon Maker during the draft process. They are on a meal delivery plan to eat the right foods. These adjustments have helped Greene during the draft process, which included back-to-back workouts in Philadelphia and Toronto earlier this week. 

“You’ve just got to get your rest and stay hydrated. With the travel it’s kind of hard,” Greene said. “My agent has us set up on a meal plan so we get our meals delivered. … I’ve felt the effects. I feel cleaner, healthier.” 

The fast turnaround between workouts can also have its perks. Webb admitted he did not perform as well as he wanted with the Suns. The next workout with the Sixers was an opportunity to quickly bounce back.

“I have a bunch more, so like Coach (Brett Brown) said, all you need is one team to love you,” Webb said. “If you have a bad workout, just move on. … You’ve just got to move past it. You can’t worry about it.” 

The days leading up to June 23 will be a whirlwind of travel and workouts for draft prospects. For each city they travel to, they hope it brings them one step closer to finding a place to call home in the NBA. 

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