NBA AM: Draft Day for NBA Prospects

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Dreams will come true today for 60 prospects as they hear their names called at the NBA draft. These players have prepared their entire lives for this moment, from playing pick-up ball at the park to playing at the college level.

Since the collegiate season ended a few months ago, players have been preparing themselves for tonight’s draft. Some guys have been working out as many as three times a day in an attempt to catch the eye of a prospective team during individual and group workouts.

Draft day is often the culmination of hard work and determination that got them to this point. Players often spend draft day with friends and family at gatherings to soak up every last moment of this process. They know that making it this far is only the beginning and the real work comes next.

While it’s an honor in itself for players to have the opportunity to be drafted, some guys are just thankful to even be involved in the process. Teams begin scheduling workouts and interviews with prospects shortly after their seasons end.

Players can gain valuable information during this process in order to further help improve their game. They can get a feel for how teams run workouts, which can be very different from anything they’ve seen before. In addition, they can obtain other feedback from executives and coaches who have been around the league for a long time.

“Not a lot of kids get to travel as much to workouts,” former Arizona State forward Willie Atwood told Basketball Insiders. “Going to all of these places without a worry, without coming out of my pocket, it’s just fun seeing all of the teams’ facilities and working out in their gym.

“Going down to the Elite Skills Training Pro Day in Miami [with] a lot of other guys coming from different colleges, you get to meet them and get to compete against them in front of a lot of GMs and scouts. I really enjoyed the process because it was good. A lot of kids don’t get that opportunity, to be honest.”

Given how much is riding on today, it’s understandable that many players are nervous during the days leading up to the draft. They continue to work out in order to stay in shape and will also finish up any last minute interview obligations they have with teams or the media.

“I’ll probably catch a few hours of sleep here and there and try to sleep when I can,” former Boise State forward James Webb told Basketball Insiders. “It’s probably going to be tough to get a full night of rest. As a kid, this is what you grew up [dreaming about], to be in this situation and it’s finally here. It’s like something you can’t describe.”

Once draft day finally comes, players know that anything can happen. Most players will go through some meetings early in the morning with their agencies or marketing teams to get a feel for what the day will bring. From there, they will remain in constant communication with their agent about what they’re hearing from teams.

No amount of preparation will be enough to predict what the day will bring. Draft day often is one of the most busiest nights of the offseason, with teams executing trades to acquire more draft picks or using draft picks to acquire other players. We’ve seen a number of moves happen already this offseason.

During this entire pre-draft process, most players are training without having any idea on where they’ll ultimately end up. While it’s been a fun ride for most of them up until this point, there will be some satisfaction in the process ending and finally knowing where they’ll go.

Some players will let the process of the draft play out and will opt to enjoy their time with family and friends. Others will be locked into the draft coverage and what’s being said by reporters and draft insiders on Twitter to know how their situation will be impacted.

“I’ll probably be on Twitter because I want to see who all is getting traded,” Atwood said. “There are a lot of movements that will be going on. I’m going to be checking it to see who is going where and where I could fall in at. [I’ll be] just watching the draft in-depth and seeing where players go.”

As the hours count down until the beginning of the draft, it becomes just a waiting game now for the 100+ prospects that have entered their names for consideration. It will be welcomed for most that the process is over and the next phase of their professional career can begin. It will be a process that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

“For me, all I ever wanted was just an opportunity to play in the NBA,” former North Florida guard Beau Beech told Basketball Insiders. “I’m just extremely blessed from the man above to be in the position that I’ve always prayed for. It’s comparable to making the NCAA tournament for the first time like we did at North Florida.

“Being the first person from North Florida to go through this process and definitely having a great chance at the NBA or D-League in any capacity is a blessing. I’ve played this situation in my head 100 times and the only thing I have to do is do what got me here and it’s going to go just how I pictured it.”