No matter what anyone tells you, size really does matter. That is never truer than in the NBA, where a couple of inches in height can make a huge difference.
While there are certainly successful players in the league that are undersized for their position, it is much easier to get rebounds, play defense or get off shots if you are taller than your opponent.
In this year's NBA draft, there are a few players who will be hurt in the draft by a lack of height. The recent scouting combine provided scouts with accurate measurements of every player, and these numbers will hurt the stock of these top prospects.
Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (6'11.75", 206.4 lbs.)
Throughout the draft process, Nerlens Noel has been called a center instead of a power forward. Right now, it is hard to imagine the player surviving in the middle of the defense.
The problem is not only his height, but his weight at 206.4 pounds. Noel might have great athleticism and timing to be an elite shot-blocker. However, he will seriously struggle to prevent a player like Dwight Howard (listed at 265 pounds) from backing him down in the low post.
Obviously, the Kentucky player can put on some strength. Still, that is a lot of weight to put on, and it is unknown if he will lose some agility when he does gain that weight.
Considering he does not have the offensive game to be a power forward at this point, his lack of size has to be a serious concern to any team thinking about drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick.
Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (5'11.5", 170.8 lbs.)
The combine measures by the quarter-inch, and Shane Larkin had to be disappointed by this measurement with shoes. He might have been able to reach the six-foot mark with a different haircut.
Still, the lack of height remains a concern for those looking for a point guard of the future.
Larkin proved last season that he can do it all as a lead guard for a good team. He can create shots for himself either around the basket or from deep, find open looks for teammates and is solid on the defensive end.
However, he still might have trouble against some of the bigger players around the league. This could lead a team to prefer a taller prospect at the position like Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse.
The good news is that he was a star at the athletic portion of the combine, showcasing great athleticism and quickness that will have him right back near the top of draft boards.
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA (6'6.25", 221.8 lbs.)
For most of the regular season, Shabazz Muhammad was considered one of the top three picks in the upcoming draft. Unfortunately, he has seen his stock slide a lot over the past few months.
First, he was caught lying about his age which meant that he was really a year older than he let on. This changes the mindset of scouts who figured he would be more developed by this point.
To make matters worse, it seems that he is shorter than originally thought at just over 6'6". This puts him about average for a shooting guard, but small for a wing.
At this point, Muhammad does not have a strong mid-range game and struggles at times to create his own shot. He could end up being a good scorer as a 2-guard, but he has little chance to succeed as a small forward.
Still, this is yet another red flag to keep teams away from a once-promising prospect.
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