Prospects get prodded before being picked in NBA draft

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 12:01 AM

UCLA point guard Kyle Anderson doesn’t seem thrilled to be saddled with the nickname “Slo-Mo.”

Photo: Julie Jacobson • Associated Press,

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NBA team representatives have endlessly interviewed and measured, poked and prodded every prospect for Thursday night’s draft, some of their ploys more memorable than others.

Oklahoma City General Manager Sam Presti tested the court sense of interviewees at last month’s Chicago draft combine.

“They handed me a marker and said, ‘There’s five seconds to go, you’re down by two, make a play,’ ” Duke small forward Rodney Hood said.

So did Hood draw up a play for the point guard to win the game?

“I had to go with me,” he said, smiling.

A Memphis executive asked Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas something about a baseball bat and a baseball and the cost differential between them if one was worth so much.

“I don’t think I got it right,” Stauskas said. “It’s a weird question. Some things you just need to see on paper.”

And the Timberwolves were at the frontcourt in those Chicago interviews, asking pretty much every prospect out of the blue during a conversation how many pennies are in a million dollars.

“I said a lot,” Arizona forward Aaron Gordon said. “They timed me. After 22 seconds, I said 100 million.”

So just what’s the point?

“I think they ask it just to see if you went to class,” Hood said.

Lending a helping hand

NBA scouts might question Michigan State’s Adreian Payne’s old age — he’s 23, you know — but they don’t question the bounce or the reach of the “stretch” power forward and his 7-4 wingspan.

Those long arms have led him to the NBA, and provided a life spent helping people reach items high on a shelf.

“Yeah, I have people always ask me to do things like that,” Payne said. “You know, I’m a nice guy, so I help them out.”

What’s in a nickname?

UCLA’s Kyle Anderson in a unique player in this draft: A point guard in a power forward’s body who impresses with his vision and playmaking despite a lack of athleticism that has given him this nickname:

Slo-Mo.

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