WATCH: Sacramento Kings GM candidate Travis Schlenk on talent evaluation and draft preparation

Travis Schlenk is one of several candidates Vivek Ranadivé is considering to run the Sacramento Kings’ new front office.  Along with Chris Wallace of the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors assistant GM is one of two men that has reportedly spoken to Ranadivé about the opportunity.

If Schlenk is hired to lead the Kings new front office, what should fans expect from the young executive?

He is a man, according those who know him well, that embraces the changing landscape of talent evaluation while still holding old-fashioned methods with high regard.  Mitch Germann, a former executive with the Kings, is a friend of Schlenk’s and in a recent interview with The Wichita Eagle, he described Schlenk as someone who “always married technology with the craft, a mixture of art and science”.

“I think, for me personally, I do like the numbers,” Schlenk told Warriors radio broadcaster Tim Roye in an interview two years ago before the 2011 NBA Draft. “I like statistics, but I think it’s just part of it.  I think a big part of it is going out and watching a guy.  I like watching a guy’s mannerisms on the court, how he interacts with the coaches, what happens when he comes out of the game, what he’s doing during timeouts.”

Examining a player’s mental makeup is something that Schlenk appears to hold highly as well.  According to the Kings front office candidate, determining a player’s character through specific tests is an important component to talent evaluation.

“One of the things we did this past year is make every player on our roster take those (psychiatric) tests,” Schlenk said in 2011.  “So we really believe a lot in character.”

With the state of their basketball operations in flux, the Kings are just starting the private workout process for this year’s NBA Draft.  For Schlenk, a significant portion of evaluating prospects is done far before players visit his franchise’s city.

“Very, very rarely I would say, if ever, does a player come in and change my personal perception of him as a player,” Schlenk said to Roye of draft workouts.  “We’ve seen him play in college the last two, three, sometimes four years.  So as a player, we have a pretty good feel (for) what they are.”

For Schlenk, getting to know a player on a personal level is perhaps the most valuable part of the draft preparation process.  Schlenk told Roye that the Warriors typically bring prospects in a day before workouts just to find out who are they are as people.

“We take them out to dinner, be able to sit down and talk to them in a little more relaxed atmosphere than at Chicago at the interviews,” Schlenk said.  “That’s the best part about it.   Also getting them in, seeing how they interact with the other players they’re not familiar with, our coaches, that’s kind of a big part of it.”

Schlenk offers more of his perspective on the draft process in the following video, which you can watch below.

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Jonathan Santiago
Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.

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