Observations from NBA draft combine

Updated: May 20, 2011, 4:19 PM ET
By Chad Ford

CHICAGO -- The 2011 NBA draft combine officially got underway Thursday at ATTACK Athletics and the first day was, for a third straight year, sort of a dud.

With virtually every NBA GM and head coach and scouting staff in attendance, a number of the top prospects in the draft went through four hours of drills in the morning.

In the afternoon, teams had a chance to sit down, one-on-one, with the prospects to interview them.

On Friday, the league will do athletic and strength testing, and Saturday players will get physicals conducted by the league.

I was in the gym for the four hours and in the Westin hotel lobby where the players were staying for most of the afternoon and evening. Here's what I learned:

The draft combine certainly isn't what it used to be.
For years top prospects, hoping to improve their draft stock, played a series of five-on-five games for NBA GMs and coaches. But lately more and more top prospects refused to play, and two years ago virtually everyone on the floor was a second-rounder. The NBA changed gears last year and decided to move to a combine format. The five-on-five games were eliminated in favor of a set of non-contact drills.

The idea was to get more players to participate. Slowly, that process is becoming a farce.