CHICAGO — Earlier this week, Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant encouraged top NBA Draft talent to stay home and avoid the NBA Combine.
There wasn’t much to gain for those players, Durant said.
Former Iowa guard Peter Jok was asked about that at the Combine, and he laughed it off.
“I’m not one of the lottery picks, so I needed this,” Jok said. “I needed to come out here and meet with teams and go through the process.”
Jok’s last two days of team competition at the Combine weren’t all gangbusters, but getting in front of NBA team officials was the most important part of making the trip to Chicago.
The West Des Moines Valley product said he interviewed with three teams while he was in Chicago, including the Milwaukee Bucks, and they were teams he hadn’t met with before. Face time like that is invaluable, especially when everyone considers team workouts and interviews more important than the five-on-five scrimmages.
So with all due respect to Durant, Jok doesn’t want to hear about skipping the Combine. Like many other prospects at the Quest Multisport Complex, he didn’t have the luxury of being picky.
“I wasn’t stressed about it, and I was preparing to come here or team workouts,” Jok said. “But I needed to be here because I got to talk to a lot of NBA players and coaches and get knowledge from them. I got to ask a lot of questions. I got to go out and perform and get tested. It was a bonus.”
After Thursday’s performance left more than a little to be desired, Jok tweeted Thursday night that “Tomorrow (Friday) is going to be a new day. #Bounceback”
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Meeting with media after Friday’s scrimmage, Jok said he needed and wanted the second day, too. After going 0 of 6 from the field and being held scoreless on Thursday, Jok had six points on 2 of 7 shooting (1 of 3 from 3-point range) with three rebounds and no turnovers in 22 minutes on Friday.
Jok’s two-day performance wasn’t catastrophic to his chances to get drafted — which were on the fringe coming into the Combine anyway — but many who paid attention to what how he performed said he could’ve done more to boost himself.
“I would say this wasn’t his best performance,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said Friday. “In this environment, he didn’t show as well as he did during the (college) season. Teams are going to bring him in for workouts and he’ll get a chance to show what he can do in those workouts.
“With guys like him, it’s more a matter of, ‘Did he help himself?’ And I would say he probably didn’t help himself.”
As far as individual testing, Jok finished tied for the best percentage among guards in NBA Break Left Shooting (100 percent) and Break Right Shooting (80 percent). He finished tied for fourth in NBA Top Key Shooting (80 percent), fourth in the Shuttle Run (2.93 seconds) and third in On The Move Fifteen Shooting (68.4 percent).
Jok said he’s asked a lot of questions this week when in interviews or simply running into NBA coaches and players, but something like Fraschilla’s analysis isn’t one of those questions.
With team workouts in Boston, Orlando and with the Los Angeles Clippers next week and more to come after that, Jok said he doesn’t have time to dwell too much on specific feedback while bouncing from place to place. It would be easy, he said, to get caught up in something negative and focus too hard on that in the next workout.
Instead, his conversations with NBA people had much more to do with general questions about what he should expect going forward.
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He doesn’t want anything to distract from what he rightly called a “once in a lifetime” chance.
“I’m not going to ask (my agent, Ron Shade) to tell me,” Jok said. “I’m not going to ask him to ask them how I did or what happened. Right now I have to go into every workout and attack it. If they give feedback to my agent, he’ll tell me if he thinks he should.
“I’m just trying to be focused. This is once in a lifetime. Trying to get feedback from every team is too much worrying. I’m not trying to get distracted with that.”
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