Maker, Deng ramp up pre-draft workouts
Whilst Maker appears to have solidified his prospects, Deng is still hoping to make some last minute impressions prior to Friday's (Australian time) NBA draft.
Nuggets host Deng
Deng worked out with the Denver Nuggets earlier today, with the Louisiana Monroe graduate optimistic of his performance.
“I think it went pretty well,” Deng told media after his workout. “All I can do is just give an effort. I just try to do the best [that] I can.”
— Jake Marsing (@JakeDMarsing) June 17, 2016
The 6’10” power forward is bidding to join the growing number of Australians in the NBA. Considered an outside prospect to be drafted, Deng is hoping to impress league executives with his attitude and work ethic.
“I’m kind of a laid-back guy. Just trying to have fun every time,” said Deng. “I’m an easy-going guy so I can adapt to any environment.”
Deng has completed six workouts so far, and thinks that he will attend “probably two more” before draft night.
“You never know. You never know what can happen,” he said. “You just come in, give it [your] all, and try and give yourself a chance to maybe get a job.”
Though he recently signed with the Adelaide 36ers for the upcoming NBL season, that contract has an out-clause, should he be picked up by an NBA team.
The Nuggets have as many as five picks in the upcoming draft, and could conceivably take a flyer on Deng with one of their second round selections.
Hornets host Maker
Meanwhile, Thon Maker visited with the Charlotte Hornets earlier today, and continued to tantalise with his mix of size and skill. The Hornets, who own the 22nd pick of the first round, were able to witness firsthand the ability of Maker to handle the ball and run the break during drills on transition offense.
“It was real competitive,” said Maker. “It was fun.”
Maker was also able to showcase his impressive speed for someone who stands 7’1” tall.
“I’m really fast. So when I’m out there, some of the [other] guys can’t keep up. Sometimes they get tired and that’s when I push to a different level.”
When quizzed after his workout if he agreed with comparisons to Kevin Durant, Maker was equally quick to set the record straight.
“I see myself as more as a modern version of Kevin Garnett. I’ve been saying that same message over and over again, because that’s what it is,” he said. “I can space the floor out a little bit more than KG used to. [I] communicate really well, both on offense and defense now.”
If the Hornets do use their first round pick on Maker, he’s confident that he would be a great fit, and perhaps, even be an immediate contributor.
“This year, they had a great season. They just need that one other guy to push them a little bit more over what they did this year. They had a great season this year.”
Time will tell.
Maker is slated to be a late first round/early second round selection on most draft boards. But as always, these things are fluid and hardly an exact science, meaning both Maker and Deng have the opportunity to change perceptions, and prospective draft positions, with impressive workouts in the final days leading up to the draft.