Pre-project press conferences are indeed mandatory
We raised a question earlier this week about whether teams are required to hold press conferences before the draft. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be making them; anything you say in these pre-draft conferences can and will be used against you by teams who are drawing behind you and possibly plotting to get in front of you.
According to the league, a pre-draft press conference is mandatory. This can be the general manager or the head coach; it doesn’t have to be both.
Leaving aside for now the question of whether forcing the coach or the general manager to find a way not to answer questions aimed at getting them to divulge their draft plans still makes sense in a time when content and access are everywhere, it becomes even more critical to realize that smart teams will find a way to either say nothing of value or plant seeds aimed at duping the opposition.
The repechage is not a sporting event. But it’s a 32-way competition to secure dibs on future players’ serves. It’s strategic. It’s calculated. It’s careful. Or at least it should be.
Some teams aren’t as attentive to what they say they should be. Other teams pay close attention to whatever is being said and take whatever they can from it that can be used to predict with any semblance of accuracy how things will play out.
From a fan and media perspective, it’s possible that the things said at a pre-draft press conference were part of a smokescreen. While it’s never a good idea to openly lie to your clientele, the challenge is finding a way to say something without really saying anything. That should be the goal of anyone speaking to reporters as the draft approaches, because it’s a process of having nothing to gain and everything to lose.