We're now in the thick of the NBA Finals, but the NBA draft is only three weeks away, which means the league's 28 inactive teams are currently working out prospects and formulating a plan of attack for June 23. Right now, that partially involves working out and interviewing prospects to get a better sense of their strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
However, at least two likely lottery picks from Europe won't be working out for individual NBA teams. The first is Jan Vesely, a very athletic 21-year-old forward from the Czech Republic. From Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (via PBT):
According to his agent, Aleksandar Raskovic, Vesely will not take part in workouts with NBA teams. Raskovic said his client will be in New York on June 17, though, to go through physical tests akin to the ones draft prospects had at the Chicago combine earlier this month.
Vesely pulled his name out of last year's draft several weeks prior to the event and starts for a very good European club in Partizan Belgrade, so he's actually fairly well known. Plus, his strengths of playing hard and jumping all over the place don't really display themselves particularly well in the structure of a workout.
Montiejunas, a 6-foot-11 power forward, is playing for Benetton Treviso in the Italian League. Benetton has advanced to the semifinals of the Series A League. After the playoffs, Montiejunas plans to attend the adidas EuroCamp June 11-13.
As such, Herb Rudoy, Montiejunas' agent, said his client won't be able to work out for any NBA teams before the draft.
"It's not that he doesn't want to; he just can't," Rudoy said.
I suppose it's good that Motiejunas didn't opt out of workouts because of some fear, but he's also the kind of player likely to impress in the workout setting. Motiejunas looks best when he can show off the full range of his offensive skills, which include hitting jumpers, handling the ball a little, and pulling up in transition. Few players at his height can boast such a wide range of abilities. Where he runs into problems is in actual game settings, where his inconsistent effort and rebounding issues manifest themselves with regularity. If most teams scout Motiejunas on tape and not with individual workouts, he could drop a few spots.
Regardless, both players are likely to wind up in the lottery. But their lack of workouts could affect the course of their careers.
- Jan Vesely