PORTSMOUTH, Virginia -- The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT) officially kicked off the NBA pre-draft process last weekend, with the event taking place following a three-year, COVID-induced hiatus.
NBA teams were out in full force for an event designated strictly for NCAA seniors, and one that marks an important stop on the journey to the June 23 NBA draft held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Established in 1953, the PIT occupies a unique place in NBA history, with an impressive alumni list including Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Dennis Rodman, Rick Barry, Earl Monroe, Dave Cowens, Tim Hardaway, Ben Wallace and Jimmy Butler.
Most NBA teams sent five to seven representatives to Portsmouth -- a large number by any account -- reflecting a return to normalcy on the NBA scouting trail and the increasing importance franchises place on scouting for their G League teams.
That said, an event that included just 24 of the top 100 seniors in ESPN's internal rankings, and just four of the top 25, is an indication that this year's pre-draft calendar could have a different rhythm than usual, and there are a few key factors behind that circumstance: