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NBA Combine 2014: Players with Most to Gain During Predraft Event

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NBA Combine 2014: Players with Most to Gain During Predraft Event
USA TODAY Sports

Franchises struggling to order their big boards will be aided by the 2014 NBA combine.

The combine can't make or break a prospect's draft stock. However, it's capable of giving prospects an edge over evenly matched players of the same position. 

Here are three players with the most to gain during the combine.

 

3. Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA 

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LaVine hasn't proven that he deserves top-10 consideration. His freshman statistics (9.4 points and 1.8 assists per game) are underwhelming compared to other top one-and-done prospects. Given that the 19-year-old failed to even earn a starting spot on the Bruins, raising his stock would've been easier had he stayed in school.

But despite all this, LaVine could use the combine to skyrocket up draft boards. His strengths are athleticism and shooting ability (44.1 field-goal percentage in 2013-14). Those are highlighted at the combine.

Tyler Ennis of Syracuse currently stands in between him and being the consensus third point guard in the draft behind Dante Exum and Marcus Smart. And Ennis just happens to be weak where LaVine is strong—explosiveness and long-distance shooting (LaVine shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range in 2013-14 while Ennis shot 35.3 percent).

According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, LaVine interviewed on Thursday with the Boston Celtics, who project to land the fifth overall pick.

 

2. Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

The competition to be the next big man selected after Kansas' Joel Embiid is heated. Teams in need of a power forward will have to pick between Vonleh, Kentucky's Julius Randle and Arizona's Aaron Gordon. Vonleh likely enters the predraft process the low big on the totem pole, but he could easily exit on top.

ESPN's Chad Ford went as far as to compare him to nine-time All-Star Chris Bosh, who was selected fourth overall in 2003 by the Toronto Raptors in one of the greatest draft classes ever.

Vonleh isn't as strong as Randle or as athletic as Gordon, but they can't shoot like him. The Hoosier shot 48.5 percent from three-point land last season, compared to 35.6 for Gordon and 16.7 for Randle. 

 

1. Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia 

Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid seem to have the top three selections set in stone. But don't tell that to Exum. He's the one prospect outside of that hyped trio capable of sneaking into the top three selections.

While scouts have been watching the rest of the best for months, if not years, the whole Australia thing limited their exposure to Exum. He isn't on Hoopmixtape.

If a team, like the Orlando Magic, for instance, that prioritizes a need for a point guard over a wing, Exum could hear his name called before Parker or Wiggins. At 6'6" with a 6'9.5" wingspan, he has unteachable size and speed.

 

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.

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