Blake Francis, a 6-0 guard from the University of Richmond, is entered in the 2021 NBA Draft. In his senior season, Francis averaged 16.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 steals. He’s also a career 38.6% from the three-point line. He’s a microwave scorer, underrated passer, and pesky defender.
Francis does not appear in most major mock drafts and will likely have to take the long way to carve out a roll in the NBA. For someone like him without a national profile, these pre-draft workouts are going to be extremely important. He will have to rely on them to make sure he gets a suitable NBA Summer League invite, an Exhibit 10 deal, or a Two-Way contract.
Francis joined the Bleav in Wizards podcast this week to talk about his pre-draft experience so far and what it was like to work out for the Washington Wizards specifically. Many fans have wondered who is conducting the pre-draft workouts without a full coaching staff in place and Francis was able to elaborate on that. Additionally, he talked about the logistics and general timeline surrounding the workouts.
For me, this process has always been a little unclear so I appreciated the insight he was able to provide on a valuable opportunity for the Wizards to look to improve their team. Given how much of the salary cap is committed to Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans, the Wizards will have to find creative ways to keep upgrading the roster. The most affordable way to do that is by finding diamonds in the rough before other teams can, similar to what the Toronto Raptors have done.
Considering how important that is going to be for them as they look to maximize Beal and Wesbrook’s primes, it was really illuminating to better understand their talent evaluation process in the workout environment. Being only 6-feet tall, Francis is used to having to work hard to prove people wrong and prove he belongs. That probably makes him the ideal person for the Wizards to have at these workouts because they never have to question his energy and intensity levels.
That’s the type of guy you want on a Summer League roster or even a G League roster because he’s going to push everyone else to work harder. After spending time talking to Francis, I feel comfortable vouching that he fits the Wizards’ high-character mandate as well. Given all of that, I’m personally rooting for his success and I would not mind seeing him in a Capital City Go-Go uniform next season.
Making a good impression during workouts - 2:00
What he can bring to an NBA team - 5:00
Showing off different skills than your college situation allows - 6:00
Playing better against better competition and first-round talents - 8:00
Beating Kentucky on ESPN - 10:00
Who he group up rooting for as a VA native - 14:00
Working out for his hometown team - 15:00
Who else he’s worked out for and upcoming workouts - 16:00
What is the workout process like - 17:00
Who conducts workouts and interviews when a team doesn’t have a coach - 20:00
His path to making an NBA roster - 24:00
Proving people wrong at every level - 25:00
Getting help from family throughout - 27:00