CHICAGO - The interview portion of the NBA Draft Combine is an opportunity for players to impress teams with their personalities and character. At the same time, the organizations also make impressions on the prospects.
In spite of the Sixers' 10-72 finish this season - and their dismal record over the last three - draft candidates noticed the team's desire to shift those results.
"I could tell just by meeting everyone, they were really into winning," Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson said. "It may not show on the court but they're definitely building pieces to get things done."
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The Sixers' newly-revamped front office was on hand for interviews. Among those were president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, special advisor Jerry Colangelo and vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley, who spent the afternoon at the combine facility watching drills and scrimmages after completing the past two days of meetings.
"The energy in the room [stood out to me]," Providence point guard Kris Dunn, who is ranked top five on some draft boards, said. "They made me feel like they really wanted me there. We all were very engaged. We talked about a lot of things. I appreciate them having me."
The Sixers could have as many as four first-round picks. They have a 26.9 percent chance of landing the top pick and cannot fall below fourth. They will acquire the Lakers' pick if it falls out of the top three, and are a lock for the 24th and 26th selections. With a wide range of possibilities, they are meeting with players from anticipated lottery picks to late first- to second-round projections.
NBA teams scour hours of game film before meeting with players, but the in-person interviews give them an opportunity to see how players think on their feet. Among the tests was a segment in which prospects were handed a whiteboard and asked what they would do with four seconds left in the game.
"I really liked how they allowed me to draw up a play," Vanderbilt point guard Wade Baldwin said. "That was cool doing that and trying to test my IQ as a point guard. ... The feedback was, 'It's a good play. I like how you drew it up to get another guy a shot.'"
Multiple players pointed out the personality side of the interview. In addition to discussing the future of the team, Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame remembered specific kudos the Sixers paid him.
"They want to make a change," Blossomgame said. "They seem very excited about the future and they have a plan for everything. I asked them about the culture they want to build and it seemed like a great culture they were trying to get in place for Philadelphia."
He added with a laugh, "They actually complimented me on the way I dress."
The Sixers will continue interviews on Friday.