San Antonio Spurs: In-person pre-draft interviews to start in mid-October

Devin Vassell (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Devin Vassell (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs can really begin scouting prospects in about a month

As fate would have it, the most important draft in the past 20 years for the San Antonio Spurs is also going to be unlike any that we have seen before. But a recent update on pre-draft scouting is a great bit of news for the Spurs.

After missing the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, the San Antonio Spurs are headed back to the lottery this year. They’ll be picking 11th in the 2020 NBA Draft, their highest selection since they took Tim Duncan with the first overall pick all the way back in 1997.

This draft is immensely important for San Antonio. They’ve got a solid group of young players already on their roster and they can use this lottery pick in a variety of different ways. From trading up to select one of the few potential stars, picking a role player at 11, trading down for someone with a lower ceiling, or trading out of the draft entirely, nothing should be off the table for the Spurs.

Pre-draft scouting is going to be weird this year. But a recent bit of news from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski should make every NBA scout’s life a little easier.

San Antonio Spurs can start in-person interviews in mid-October

The NBA tentatively expects to allow teams to begin conducting in-person interviews with 2020 draft prospects starting in mid-October, sources tell ESPN. For now, there are still no in-person workouts with prospects allowed by teams.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 11, 2020

As anyone who has had to transition into a working/teaching/learning from home environment over the past few months can tell you, video conferencing doesn’t fully replicate the in-person experience. It’s better than nothing or a phone call but a lot gets lost in person to person interaction when you’re separated by a screen and who knows how many miles.

The NBA allowing teams to conduct in-person interviews is crucial for any team, but perhaps more for the Spurs than others. Culture and personality are two huge factors in what the Spurs have historically looked for in their draft prospects. It’s hard to fully get the measure of young talent through a Zoom interview and being able to conduct these talks in person will surely help the Spurs narrow down their list to just a few players who fit what they’re looking for on and off the court.

The next hurdle for the league to get over is allowing in-person workouts. In-person interviews are a great step but can you imagine the quality of scouting that will come out of NBA scouts packed into a room, watching a prospect shoot jumper after jumper in an empty gym through a Microsoft Teams video chat?

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The San Antonio Spurs do as good of a job as anyone of vetting their draft prospects but we hope for the team’s sake that the league will allow at least a few in-person workouts before the NBA Draft.