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NBA Draft Prospects Who Must Use 2013 Combine to Boost Stock

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMay 9, 2013

NBA Draft Prospects Who Must Use 2013 Combine to Boost Stock

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    The NBA combine is one of the last opportunities for prospects to make an impression. It's not as important for most underclassmen or first-round locks who are selling executives on long-term potential, which is nearly impossible to detect during drills.

    But for mid-major prospects and upperclassmen, the combine is an event they must use to boost their recognition and awareness.

    From here, scouts and executives seek out the prospects that appeal to them and send out invitations for individual team workouts. The following prospects will be fighting for guaranteed contracts and a place in the 2013 NBA draft, and a strong showing at the combine can improve their odds.

     

    2013 NBA Combine TV Schedule

    Thursday, May 16: 10 a.m. ET2 p.m. ET on ESPNU and 2 p.m. ET—3 p.m. ET on ESPN2

    Friday, May 17: 10 a.m. ET2 p.m. ET on ESPNU and 2 p.m. ET—3 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Tony Snell, New Mexico

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    Tony Snell seemed on the brink of a breakout, but he opted to forgo his senior year and take a swing in 2013.

    Snell has the tools required to shine at the combine. He's going to ace the athletic testing and wow during measurements. He's got a tremendous wingspan, and at 6'7'', his size is appealing for a true wing.

    But he also shot over 38 percent from downtown in back-to-back years. Usually it's the top athletes who can't shoot and the top shooters who lack athleticism. Snell breaks that trend.

    The combine will be a platform that emphasizes Snell's strengths and potentially hides his weaknesses.

    And he'll have to take advantage of that to maximize his draft stock. Right now, he's a projected second-rounder. Snell has work to do in the upcoming weeks.

Vander Blue, Marquette

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    Vander Blue declared for the 2013 draft after showing a glimpse of NBA potential during the NCAA tournament.

    But that glimpse won't be enough to earn him any guarantees.

    The combine will be an opportunity for Blue to stand out both athletically and fundamentally. He improved his in-between game dramatically from his sophomore to his junior year. However, his 30-percent three-ball will be placed under the microscope.

    Blue will have to show he's a capable shooter to eliminate any red flags on scouts' evaluations. And there isn't a better environment to do that in than one that lacks defenders.

Myck Kabongo, Texas

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    It's difficult for point guards to show what they're capable of during drills and workouts. But after leaving school early and playing only 11 games as a sophomore, Myck Kabongo has given himself no choice.

    Kabongo is going to have to try and find a way to stand out. This is where the eye test comes into play. Sometimes, a prospect can sell himself based on his appearance and look as an NBA player. Kabongo just wants to catch as many eyes as possible at this year's combine.

    Individual workout invitations tend to snowball. When one team calls you in, there's usually another that's afraid to miss out.

    Kabongo will need to look fluid with the ball, particularly in the open floor. Of course, showing he's comfortable knocking down shots off the dribble will be a plus.

    But point guards can give off a vibe based on their rhythm and athleticism. He just has to hope some scouts start bouncing to his beat.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh

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    Steven Adams failed to maximize his draft stock by declaring after only one year at Pittsburgh, so he'll have to make an impression during the combine and workouts.

    Adams is beyond raw, with his appeal driven directly from his physical tools. At 7'0", he's an elite athlete who can soar through the air or fly down the floor. But he hasn't shown a hint of basketball-related skills.

    With minimal defense at the combine, Adams has to take advantage of the setting this particular event offers.

    Instructors separate the players into groups by position, so Adams will be going head-to-head with guys like Kelly Olynyk, Gorgui Dieng, Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee. Just showing he can compete with them will ease some of the concerns scouts have over whether he's a hit-or-miss project or one that just needs time to develop.

    He's still projected to go in the first round, but not before any of the previously mentioned big men.

Tony Mitchell, North Texas

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    After falling off first-round radars with a disastrous sophomore campaign, Tony Mitchell will have to use the combine as a means to launch himself back up the boards.

    Unlike the half-court college game, the combine will be Mitchell's friend. It's a place where athleticism gets noticed and unrefined skill sets go undetected.

    Mitchell should be salivating at the opportunity to test both physically and athletically. He's a candidate to come away a big winner from this event, given his massive wingspan, ridiculous hops and upper-body strength.

    Mitchell should use the combine to help scouts forget what happened his sophomore year by convincing them his struggles were a result of the methodical college game.

James Ennis, Long Beach State

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    James Ennis made noise at this year's Portsmouth Invitational, helping him earn an invite to the 2013 NBA combine.

    He's a sensational athlete with long arms and fluid mobility. Executives seeing him for the first time are bound to request information on him given his NBA-ready physical tools.

    Ennis also has a fairly reliable three-point stroke he'll be able to show off during drills. He shot over 35 percent from behind the arc in back-to-back years, making a total of 98 of them during his junior and senior seasons.

    After playing in the Big West Conference, the combine puts Ennis on an equal playing field with the rest of the prospects.

    A few weeks ago he was just fighting for a chance to be recognized. Now, he'll be trying to solidify a position in the 2013 NBA draft and could really help his chances with a standout showing at the combine.

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