CHICAGO - One might think that Bryan Colangelo is way behind in the evaluation process for the NBA draft.
After all, the June 23 event will come just 74 days after he was introduced as the 76ers' president of basketball operations.
But Colangelo will tell you that he's far from behind. The 50-year-old said he never stopped scouting prospects in college and Europe after stepping down as Toronto's president on June 23, 2013. In fact, the two-time executive of the year said he carried on as if he was still running an NBA team, keeping a close eye on the day-to-day happenings around the league.
"I was prepared because I needed to be prepared in the event that one of those other [jobs] that I was being considered for happened," said Colangelo, who along with Sixers coach Brett Brown and other team officials are here this week at the NBA draft combine. "You need to stay ready, and I was doing my best to do that."
Before getting the Sixers job, Colangelo was a finalist for the general's manager post in Brooklyn. The Nets eventually hired Sean Marks in February to replace Billy King, who was reassigned a month earlier.
Last week's three-day scouting summit with the Sixers scouts also gave Colangelo confidence in his draft knowledge. That's when the team zeroed in on the top 10 prospects before focusing on who is expected to go in the latter third of the first round.
Then he met individually with each member of the scouting staff. Their focus was on the top and bottom of the first round because Colangelo inherited a team that is guaranteed at least three picks in the draft.
According to a league source, the Sixers were scheduled to interview Oklahoma's Buddy Hield on Wednesday night, Duke's Brandon Ingram on Thursday morning, and Syracuse's Malachi Richardson on Friday morning.
Also, St. Joseph's forward DeAndre Bembry will work out Monday for the Sixers.
The Sixers secured a 25 percent chance to win the first pick in the draft lottery Tuesday by finishing with the league's worst record. They also have a 64.3 percent chance to place in the top three and will finish no lower than fourth.
The Sixers also will get the 24th pick (from Miami) and the 26th pick (from Oklahoma City), although they haven't ruled out trading those picks.
"I will tell you after the three days, if I had a moderate comfort level before, I got a much better comfort level now," Colangelo said.
That's because he had a chance to hear the scouts' viewpoints and observations about the prospects. In addition to being the Raptors president and general manager, Colangelo also had success while holding those posts in Phoenix. He is one of just three executives to win executive of the year at two franchises.