The Trail Blazers' offseason officially kicks off this week at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, where general manager Neil Olshey will look for the next Damian Lillard or perhaps lay the groundwork for a summer trade. On Thursday and Friday, a pool of 63 prospects will undergo measurements and medical examinations, perform drills in front of league executives and interview with teams. Throughout the two-day process, all 30 teams will be represented, allowing what Olshey likes to call the potential to "generate deal flow" -- or trade talk. "It's a very casual environment to gauge opposing teams' offseason goals and needs, and to talk face-to-face at a time when teams are focused on building next season's roster,'' Olshey said. Olshey said the player interviews are the most valuable aspect of the combine because it is the teams' first chance to contact prospects. The Blazers have submitted a 30-player wish list -- 10 players from three talent classifications -- and the league will grant them 18 players to interview. The interviews can last 30 minutes. "The interviews are invaluable in that we get to know who these guys are off the court," Olshey said. Olshey said he also likes to see which prospects have been working on their physique since the college season ended. "The thing that is always interesting to me is, what have they done to their bodies?" Olshey said. "I want to see what kind of shape they are in, how committed they are to working, how seriously are they taking the predraft process. Or have they done anything to their mechanics?"
Trail Blazers' offseason starts with NBA draft combine
Oregonian | May 16