CHICAGO — NBA teams have seen plenty of footage, as well as dozens of games in person, of the top prospects.
But for most franchises, this week will be the first time they actually have a chance to have a real conversation with some of these soon-to-be millionaires.
The interview portion of the NBA Combine begins today, with teams scheduling 30-minute sit-downs at various Chicago hotels with prospects.
League rules limit teams to interviewing no more than 18 prospects.
"We all have a good idea of what they can do on the court," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com. "The interviews do give you a chance to get to know them a little better. But the draft is a big puzzle and the interviews are just one piece of that puzzle. I don't think any careers are made or broken because of a really good or a not-so-good interview."
Current Celtic guard Phil Pressey said he tries not to think back to his draft combine interviews.
"It was very, very stressful," said Pressey. "You talk to so many different teams and everybody seems to like you."
But no team liked Pressey enough to select him, a reality that some players here this week will experience on draft night next month.
Pressey, who was the shortest player at the combine (5-9 1/2) last year along with Pierre Jackson, went undrafted, but signed a multiyear deal with the Celtics shortly after the draft ended.
The majority of the players Boston interviews this week aren't likely to have a similar fate, not with the Celtics holding a pair of first-round picks that will both be among the top-17 selections.
"The goal is the same every year with us," Ainge said. "We want to find the guys that fit in best with our team. That's not going to change no matter where we pick in the draft."