While this year’s NBA Draft Combine lacked participation from a large number of the top prospects, it is still an extremely important step in determining many of the potential draft prospects prior to the draft. It may be the first opportunity for teams to speak directly with players, to get official measurements and put them through a set of drills to test their shooting, agility and competitiveness in a professional environment. A couple of inches of height can often mean the difference between having a true position in the league or being labeled an undersized tweener, so while teams will mainly rely on their scouting during the season and individual workouts, it can be an important step for many prospects. We’ll summarize the news on some of the top prospects who did participate.
- Rudy Gobert is a huge individual, even more so than most scouts had believed. He measured in at more than 7’ without shoes, has an enormous 7’8.5” wingspan and his 9’7” standing reach is a combine record. Adding to his impressive physical measurements was his solid 238-pound frame that carries just 4.4 percent body fat and his hands were among the biggest at the combine. Gobert was a force in the paint in scrimmages looking very mobile and was a force in the paint where no one could get up good looks around the basket. Gobert’s stock continued to rise and he is a certain lottery selection.
- Steven Adams was another big man who helped himself considerably by competing at the combine. Adams has great size for an NBA center, he is a legit 7-footer with a 7’4.5” wingpan. He has huge hands, great mobility and already has a very solid base with a muscular 255-pound frame. He impressed in the drills with a higher than expected skill level and has likely vaulted himself into the lottery, assuming he keeps up this level of performance through the individual workouts.
- Nerlens Noel, who remains the most likely to go No. 1 overall, was unable to participate due to his ACL injury, but was measured and conducted interviews. He has good size and length at 6’11” with a 7’4” wingspan, but is extremely thin at just 206 pounds. He will need to hit the weight room and put on size to compete with the big men of the NBA. Noel interviewed with a number of lottery teams; the one interesting team on his list, however, was the Boston Celtics, Noel is a Boston native and a lifelong Celtics fan, so this may have just been Danny Ainge putting in work for future free-agent recruitment.
- Trey Burke was labelled as undersized all season and concerns were he would be small, even for a point guard at the next level. The combine has proven those concerns incorrect, however, and it should lock Burke in as a top-five selection. He was 6’1” in shoes with a 6’5.5” wingspan making him bigger and longer than the likes of Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving.
- Cody Zeller was competing hard at the combine to try and regain some momentum in his draft stock after the end of the NCAA season raised many concerns about his ability to compete against length. He had the highest no-step vertical jump with 35.5” and was among the best results for big men in the agility, speed and vertical leap testing.
- Dennis Schroeder attended, but was not involved in a great deal of the scrimmages. Seems to be the consensus that he has a promise from a team in the first round; speculation will now be rife trying to determine who it came from.
- Kelly Olynyk was clearly the most skilled big man in attendance. He has a good handle, shooting stroke and a lot of versatility offensively. He is a legit 7-footer in shoes, but there are concerns over his 6’11” wingspan. His good size and skill level should keep him in the lottery, but questions will remain over his ability to compete against the length of NBA frontcourts.
- Otto Porter will need to put on size, weighing in at just 198 pounds, but has fantastic measurements for an NBA wing player. He is more than 6’8” in shoes with a 7’1” wingspan, which just adds to his defensive potential. Porter will press to be a top-five selection, depending on the lottery order and workouts.
- Among the shooting guard prospects, Tim Hardaway Jr. was perhaps the most impressive in scrimmages showing his experience and a high skill level. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope struggled against other high-level guards and was disappointing in athletic testing. Likely top-five selections Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore were extremely similar, measuring at less than 6’5”, but made up for that with long wingspans and 42” vertical leaps.
- CJ McCollum’s stock continues to rise despite his injury limitations. He was extremely impressive in interviews, showing a high level of understanding both in his own abilities and what NBA teams are looking for. He measured at 6’3” with a 6’6” wingspan, which will be huge if he can transition to the point guard full time, but is solid for a combo scoring guard regardless.
- Shabazz Muhammad failed to impress for the most part, his shot was not falling and he has a heavy reliance on driving to his left. Nothing outstanding in test results either for Muhammad, who could see his draft stock fall again slightly after the combine.
Topics: 2013, Ben McLemore, Cj Mccollum, Cody Zeller, Combine, Dennis Schroeder, Draft, Kelly Olynyk, Kentavious Caldwell-pope, NBA, Nerlens Noel, News, Otto Porter, Rudy Gobert, Shabazz Muhammad, Steven Adams, Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo