The NBA Draft is just 3 days away and things are starting to heat up. With the Anthony Davis trade aftermath and the rumor mill in full swing, teams are scrambling to put the final touches on their draft boards and hone in on certain prospects. For many, the personal workouts are a crucial final piece to the puzzle.
IU’s Romeo Langford is reportedly meeting with the Miami Heat today and the Pelicans tonight. Langford has similarly met with other lottery teams: Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota.
So, what does this mean? Are these visits any indication of his draft status?
It’s always difficult to determine the importance of a visit, as some teams are simply doing their due diligence or throwing up smokescreens. However, in general, this is a good sign for his draft status, particularly in today’s NBA draft cycle.
In the recent past (as recent as 3-4 years ago), players would frequently visit teams and do personal or group workouts. In fact, almost every player within the top 150 prospects would be a part of these workouts, routinely flying from city to city to show their skills. Workouts for individual teams are beginning to become less common.
Instead, it is shifting to more of a NFL model.
In today’s world, each agency has a pro day. This, along with the NBA Combine, has become the primary opportunity for teams to watch and meet with a player. In this model, agencies and players have more control over the details of the workout, allowing the players to showcase their best qualities. While individual workouts/visits still occur, they are not nearly as prevalent as they used to be.
The time when meetings are most prevalent is right before the draft. The two weeks leading up to the draft have become a frenzy, as teams whittle down their targets and try to meet with a few of their favorites one last time.
Therefore, the fact that these teams want to meet with Langford likely means that he has either made their short list, or that the teams had not properly evaluated him previously and now have reversed course. Either way, it’s likely a good sign for Langford. Even if a team is simply doing their due diligence, it’s an opportunity for Langford to impress and change the minds of NBA scouts and executives.
A quick breakdown of the teams
Miami has the #13 pick. Most mocks have Langford going between #8-18, so this is right in the middle of that range. Miami has some money coming off the books and is still trying to find their identity. As a result, the team could likely improve at nearly every position on the floor. Because everything is in flux, the Heat’s draft will be unpredictable. But, Langford certainly seems like a strong option for the rebuild.
New Orleans obviously has the #1 overall selection and has acquired the #4 pick from the Lakers. Some sources seem to indicate that the Pelicans may be shopping the #4 pick and trading back to try and acquire more assets. If so, this could be why they are looking at Langford. New Orleans has struggled recently trying to find a consistent, productive shooting guard. They have often played Jrue Holiday in the off guard position. Now that they have acquired Lonzo Ball, the team will have to decide whether to keep Holiday as a combo guard or whether he might be another potential trade asset for the rebuild. In either scenario, Langford fills a position of need.
Cleveland has the #5 pick and they could definitely use another scoring option. The Cavaliers coach John Beilein is certainly familiar with Langford’s skills from the Big Ten and the recruiting trail. There are rumors that Cleveland is enamored with De’Andre Hunter. Other reporting suggests that the team might opt for a point guard and move Sexton to off guard. However, if they choose to keep him at the point, shooting guard might become the selection. The only question is, if so, which shooting guard do they prefer?
Atlanta has the #8 and #10 picks, so they are looking at everyone. It would seem to be a weird selection for them to take Langford though because he doesn’t seem to fit their style of play. Atlanta has been building a mini Golden State over the last few years. They place an incredible amount of importance on three-point shooting, which is not one of Langford’s strengths at the moment. He is likely a much better shooter than he showed in college because of his injury, but his shooting has always been a bit inconsistent. Still, Atlanta may like him to be a change of pace player and may value his defensive potential (because they have major, major defensive problems).
Minnesota has the #11 pick. Most sources have stated that the Timberwolves are hoping to take a big. If the guys they have targeted are not available, a scoring guard is a major need. The team has a lot of money coming off of the salary cap and they could go in a lot of different directions, but a scoring guard is near the top of their priorities.