Deonte was kind enough to open up to us before the biggest night of his life. Most people would believe that Burton is nervous as hell, losing hour after hour of sleep. As he told me, though, he’s just relaxing and not even worrying about the draft. His work is done – its up to the NBA war rooms to decide his fate now. Whoever gets Burton, it should be noted, is getting an absolute steal.
He’s been working out for NBA teams all over the country and explained the hardest and easiest things about the whole process. When asked about the prospect of basketball being his full-time job, Burton gave a sigh of joy that he’s finally able to wholly concentrate on his first love. When we discussed the Isaiah Austin situation, Burton expressed sadness and described it as “heartbreaking.” It definitely makes him realize how blessed he is to be able to play this sport.
First, we brought you the trials and tribulations of becoming an NBA Draft prospect. Now? It’s draft day, baby. Let’s get into the mind of someone whose dreams are about to come true…
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On his workouts with NBA teams and improvements in his game:
The workouts went well. I just tried to give it my all on every play. There was a lot of 1-on-1, 3-on-3, defensive drills. I tried to be elite in the defensive drills to stand out that way, so scouts and GMs can see that I can defend. That’s key in this league, being able to defend.
I didn’t have any private workouts, mainly 3-on-3 with other guys. The three workouts that went best for me were the Clippers, Sacramento and Milwaukee workouts. I stood out because I was very vocal. I was playing both ends of the floor, scoring and defending. I was being a leader out there, directing the big man I was playing with. All three of those workouts I was just feeling good, being a leader, being vocal, and bringing it on both ends of the floor. No teams really showed their cards about wanting to pick me, but those three workouts I mentioned were the best. They called my agent and said that I had a great workout and I did really well.
I heard about that question that was asked to [Nik] Stauskas. I heard that he picked partying with Bieber, which I don’t think was the right answer they were looking for [laughs]. I was asked, “If I was a pencil in a jar, how would I get out?” It was a pretty crazy question, I didn’t know how to answer it. I said, “I have no clue how to answer that” and the guy just said okay [laughs]. I don’t know why it was asked, I’m sure there is a method to their madness, but I have no clue why. It beats me.
I’m starting to be more vocal at the point guard position. I wasn’t really vocal coming into these workouts. I was more of a guy that would show you on the court. Coming into these workouts, I started to become more confident and a vocalization skill to direct people where they’re supposed to be and take control of the game like the point guards supposed to do. I was working on balance with my shot – I had a left side deficiency on my shot. So when I would shoot, I would lean to the left a lot and it would alter my shot. I just worked on balance all summer and correcting the mechanics.
One guy that I’ve enjoyed going up against in the workouts and everything is Zach LaVine. We’ve been teaching other tricks and things like that. We worked out for several teams in Santa Barbara. We’re two competitive guys and we make each other better everytime we step on the floor together.
On the events of draft night:
To be honest, I’m not even thinking about it [the draft]. I know how crazy that sounds. I’m a guy that falls under the late first or early second round. It’s out of my hands now, I did all my workouts. The only thing I can do is watch and leave it in god’s hands. Whoever selects me, they’re going to get a steal in my opinion. I’m not going to get too happy, or too low, I’m even keel until my name gets called or not. I think that’s the best way to go about it.
I have no clue what I’ll do after the draft and I don’t know my schedule for tomorrow. But, I’ll be with my family thats for sure. We will all hang out and watch it together, that’s about it.