Michigan State figures to be one of the most represented schools in the 2014 NBA Draft and the school's final performance could depend on where Keith Appling ends up going. It's almost guaranteed that an NBA team will try out Appling over the summer, but getting drafted is no guarantee and making the final cut is definitely a question mark. Considering this, the lead up to Draft night is incredibly important for Appling.
One of the most important parts of the draft process is team specific workouts. Teams will invite prospects to work out with their coaches and will often conduct interviews with the players. It's an opportunity for the teams to gather some data to separate closely rated players on their Draft boards. With Appling's future hinging on the next few weeks, he has been lucky enough to receive a few key NBA workouts.
One of the first workouts that Appling had was with the Phoneix Suns. SBNation's Bright Side of the Sun reported that Appling worked out with the team and cited an interesting quote from the Suns GM Ryan McDonough about Appling:
"Keith Appling had a lot of success on one of the best teams in the country at Michigan St. and he stood out in three on three play."
Performing in pre-draft workouts is clearly important and being singled out by the GM of a team in post-workout statements is certainly a good sign.
Appling has also worked out with the Toronto Raptors. SBNation's Raptor HQ reported on Appling's workout with the team and had some interesting comments on how Appling might fit with the team:
"Appling is an interesting option for me in terms of Toronto's second-round picks. While his game over the past few seasons never jumped off the page, you always got the feeling that Tom Izzo had him playing a much more conservative style than perhaps benefited his skill set, and he could be one of those players that takes off to a certain degree in the more open-style NBA. His jumper is shaky (and let's not talk about his free-throw shooting), and he's not huge physically, but he's a great finisher at the rim, can run a team, and has terrific open court speed. He's by no means a perfect option, but he does have what appears to be an NBA game, and I could see him at some point being an option as a future back-up point guard."
Another team that Appling has seen is the Boston Celtics. The team is considered by most to be in a rebuilding mode, but perhaps the MSU guard could assist in the rebuilding. Here's a tweet reporting the workout:
Today's Celtics pre-Draft workout will include: Keith Appling, Dave Dudzinski, Jermaine Marshall, Shabazz Napier, Markel Starks, Tyler Stone— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) June 16, 2014
Appling also worked out with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen in Minnesota with the Kevin Love situation, but they might be looking for a guard. Here is what Appling had to say about the process:
"Once you see one guy step it up competitively as far as the competitiveness, you always want to raise your level and keep things balanced," Appling said. "And I feel like each and every guy did that today. That's what made the workout go so much better."
Another team that checked out Keith Appling were the Washington Wizards, who are fresh off an NBA Playoff series win against the Chicago Bulls. Appling also provided a nice interview about the workout:
The final team that Appling has been fortunate enough to check out are the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers fell in a tough series against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here was the tweet regarding the workout:
Pacers' first public pre-draft workout Thursday: Keith Appling Andre Dawkins James Michael McAdoo Jake Odum Ronald Roberts Scottie Wilbekin— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) June 11, 2014
Overall, Appling could be one of the most interesting and important prospects in determining the success of the Big Ten's 2014 Draft class and there are certainly positive signs of not only Appling getting drafted, but of him eventually making an NBA roster, which is obviously much more important. BTP will keep you updated on the process.