All 30 teams, even if they don't have draft picks, will work out players leading up to the event in late June for reasons that go far beyond the obvious.
The Wizards, who currently own a No. 52 pick in the second round, traded their first-round option for Bojan Bogdanovic in February.
They'll bring in six players starting today at Verizon Center with the most notable being guard Melo Trimble from Maryland.
The most frequent question asked after the workout will go something like this: "How do you see yourself fitting in here."
It's kind of a pointless inquiry unless maybe it's the Celtics, Lakers or Sixers and the player is Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz. In Trimble's case, however, it's more valid because he's considered to be a late second-round pick, if he's picked at all.
--Scouting is done all during the college season, or seasons pending the player's experience. They've been seen in real-time pressure/game situations that can't be replicated in a workout. Very rarely will what happens in a workout override any of that. The workouts are to re-confirm previous held scouting or become more familiar with the person.
-- To have a workout, six players are needed for 3 vs. 3 drills. In some cases, a player is invited back for a second workout and a lot is made out of it. It's usually an indication of a team needing another body or position to fill out the drills.
--Teams draft players they never work out all the time. They may not work them out because they've already talked to him at the May predraft camp in Chicago and have seen enough to draw a conclusion that he's their guy. They also might not want to tip their hand to other teams who could be interested. Working out for a team doesn't mean they want you just as not working out for a team doesn't mean they don't want you.
--If a player has a guarantee or agreement with a team that he's going to be drafted before the Wizards pick 52nd, for instance, he may decline a workout. That goes for all teams who'll get turned down by somebody. A first-round prospect likely won't take such workouts because it's a waste of time and also, if you ask the agents, it's about appearances, too.
--The Wizards could run across a player who was off their radar and decide, "We must get into the draft earlier to take this guy." Or if a player who never was seriously under consideration wows them in a workout, then they might reconsider how they use the pick that they do possess. Only time that has happened in the last 10 years was with Nick Young in 2007.
--The benefit to fringe players doing multiple workouts is the experience, the interview process and trying to secure an invite for summer league in Orlando, Salt Lake City or Las Vegas in July. Some players appear in at least two for different teams in hopes of earning a training camp invite which is the next step. If they go undrafted, there's still hope if they get that invite. The next step is showing well enough there to get a training camp invite from one of the 30 teams. You're not just on display to the team you're playing for at summer league which doesn't own your rights if you don't have an actual contract. Some players receive partial guarantees to attend camp. Many do not. Also, going overseas is in play.
--Last year the Wizards didn't have a draft pick but still held workouts. Agents want their players' name out there and they want to be able to say they got their clients' foot in the door with workouts. It's mutually beneficial. There also was a chance the Wizards could've bought a pick and got into the draft. That didn't happen so they ended up signing undrafted free agents Daniel Ochefu, Sheldon McClellan and Danuel House. Going the free-agent route gave them more flexibility and made more sense if the Wizards believed they could get the player(s) they wanted without any committment to a roster spot.
--Even though a team might not have a roster spot available now, there's always reason to look to the future. A lot of second-tier players will be free agents or bouncing around on the market looking for a job. To have familiarity with them already makes it easier to pull the trigger when there's an injury and you need a ballhandler, shooter or a big to fill a role.
--The advent of two-way contracts in the 2017 CBA created 60 more jobs, allowing teams to keep two extra players on the roster as they shift between their D-League team and the NBA. This option plus higher salaries in the D-League were instituted with the hope of keeping more players stateside so their parent NBA team can develop them here. So the 52nd pick has a better chance to stick around now than before.