It's all about the talk now.

Even though the NBA draft combine's on-court workouts are set for Thursday and Friday in Chicago, the top players the 76ers are considering chose to avoid action on the court.

Instead, the players will concentrate on the interviews that begin Wednesday afternoon at a downtown Chicago hotel.

So the Sixers will, too.

"You want to learn more about the person," said Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers' president of basketball operations. "You want to learn more about their thinking."

The goal, Colangelo said, is to find out as much as possible about the 20 prospects they are scheduled to interview this week.

The Sixers, with their own recent controversial off-court incidents, are trying to improve their culture. So how a player is perceived during his 30-minute interview could be a factor in the draft.

Many agents steer their top prospects away from the combine. They want to avoid injury or a poor showing on the court, and also medical testing - any bad results will be available to all 30 teams.

But going to this event is a must for NBA teams, especially the Sixers, who are guaranteed three picks in the June 23 draft.

They secured a 25 percent chance to win the first pick during Tuesday's draft lottery by finishing with the NBA'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.

So the Sixers will see some players slotted to be late-first-round picks on the court. But not the top prospects.

"Out of all the things that we do in Chicago, for me personally, sitting down in an interview where potential players are answering and asking questions, I find those moments the most informative to me," coach Brett Brown said.

The interviews will continue Thursday and Friday mornings. Then the 63 invitees will spend the afternoons at the Quest Multisport Complex. Some of them will be measured and participate in on-court drills, testing, and scrimmages.

On Saturday and Sunday, the players will receive medical testing.

This week's most notable no-show is former LSU freshman Ben Simmons. The 6-foot-10 forward is projected as the first overall pick in the draft.

As of Tuesday, Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield, Providence point guard Kris Dunn, and Kentucky point guard Jamal Murray were still scheduled to attend the combine.

"It's hard to walk out of Chicago with a whole lot of basketball evaluation," Colangelo said. "Most of the basketball evaluation has already been done."

Local prospects DeAndre' Bembry and Isaiah Miles of St. Joseph's and Josh Hart of Villanova are expected to participate.

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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