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NBA Draft 2014: Ranking the Top 25 Prospects Post-Combine

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

NBA Draft 2014: Ranking the Top 25 Prospects Post-Combine

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The NBA combine has come and gone, and thus begins draft season. 

    Even though the 2014 NBA playoffs are rolling along with two noteworthy matchups in the penultimate round, we're inching closer to the June 26 selection process, allowing notable prospects to continue rising or falling on draft boards all the while. 

    Speaking of inching, those inches mattered quite a lot in Chicago, as prospects jumped, ran and extended their arms to impress onlooking scouts and general managers. Of course, they shot the ball, participated in athletic drills and engaged in a bit of live action as well. 

    It's hard for stocks to sink too drastically during the combine, but well-prepared prospects can certainly help themselves rather significantly. Plenty of them did, whether through surprising measurements, quick feet or clearly improved shooting strokes. 

    So, how do the participants in Chicago's festivities stack up, both against one another and the foreign/elite prospects who weren't in attendance? 

     

    Note: All combine stats and measurements come from NBA.com's data when available, rounded to the nearest inch and pound. Any others are from DraftExpress.com. Unless otherwise indicated, per-game stats are sourced from ESPN.com.

25. T.J. Warren

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: North Carolina State

    Position: SF/PF

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'8", 220 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 24.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.8 steals

     

    T.J. Warren enjoyed an incredible season as the leading scorer for the NC State Wolfpack, but we didn't get to see him show off those shooting skills during the draft combine. Instead, he focused solely on the athletic testing. 

    His 35.5-inch max vert didn't do much to move his stock in either direction, and neither did his times in any of the agility drills. It was just a mediocre performance all the way around, as Warren consistently fell right in the middle of the pack. 

    As Tim W. wrote for RaptorsRepublic.com, an ESPN TrueHoop affiliate, "It’s on the other end of the court that the real problem may lie. In truth, Warren’s pre-draft workouts may be able to tell teams whether he can defend other small forwards, but any team drafting him will be taking a risk." 

    That's in reference to Warren's ability to line up at the 3, and there should be some doubt after his combine showing. Not only does his lack of a perimeter jumper hold him back, but so, too, do his feet, as quicker small forwards can routinely torch him.

24. P.J. Hairston

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    Team: Texas Legends

    Position: SG

    Age: 21

    Vitals: 6'5", 229 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 21.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.5 steals

     

    P.J. Hairston could have given up after he was suspended by North Carolina, meaning he wouldn't be able to play any sort of collegiate basketball during the 2013-14 season. Instead, he went to the NBA D-League and honed his craft, working on his shooting stroke to the point that it rivals anyone's in this class. 

    At the combine, the Texas Legends standout put that stroke on display, both in live action and during his drills. While participating in the non-stationary shooting section, he nailed 12 of his 18 looks off the dribble, and while on the move, he made 61 percent of his attempts. 

    Solid, but nothing special in the drills.

    But drills aren't where Hairston will make his money, because live action allows him to showcase his elevation and quick release, both of which let him gain separation from even the tightest defense.

23. Kyle Anderson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: UCLA

    Position: SF

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'9", 230 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.8 steals

     

    There isn't going to be a more controversial pick in this draft class than Kyle Anderson, whom some teams will absolutely love while others flat-out refuse to acknowledge his presence on the draft board. The 20-year-old is an incredibly skilled and in-control player, but he's also slow as molasses. 

    At the combine, Anderson neither confirmed nor denied his lack of wheels. 

    He didn't shoot or participate in drills, choosing instead to take part solely in the measurement portion of the two-day festival. Unsurprisingly, he had the third-highest body-fat percentage but excelled with his size, especially thanks to his wingspan that came in just shy of 7'3".

    What position will Anderson play at the next level? Your guess is as good as mine. 

    Listing him at small forward makes sense given his size, but his playing style is that of a point guard, and he thrives when he's able to control the rock. Some team will be more than willing to gamble on his point-forward abilities while preparing to hide him on the defensive end at all times. 

22. Glenn Robinson III

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Michigan

    Position: SF

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'7", 211 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.9 steals

     

    No small forward at the combine fared better on spot-up jumpers, which lends credence to the possibility that Glenn Robinson III's disappointing 2013-14 season was largely the result of not having a point guard like Trey Burke running the show. 

    That won't be a problem in the NBA, and neither will Robinson's jumper. As ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) explained after the first day of the combine, "Not only is he one of the best athletes in the draft, but he tried to answer critics who said he couldn't transition to the 3 by posting the best spot-up shooting numbers of all the forwards, hitting 31-of-50 from college and NBA three-point range."

    He did measure slightly shorter than expected, but his 6'10" wingspan and explosive athleticism both help make up for the minuscule decline. 

    "Robinson [is] a terrific athlete and a better-than-advertised shooter who can also slash and defend," wrote B/R's Jonathan Wasserman after the combine. "Chances are someone will be getting a guy with lottery-type upside somewhere late in the first or early in the second round."

    Then again, if Robinson continues to stand out in workouts, he'll just keep moving up the boards.

21. Elfrid Payton

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Louisiana-Lafayette

    Position: PG

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'4", 185 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 0.6 blocks, 2.3 steals

     

    Elfrid Payton measured nearly an inch taller than what he was listed at while playing for the Ragin' Cajuns, and that only enhances the draft stock of this incredibly versatile point guard. 

    At 6'4", it's likely that he could be used as the 2-guard in sets featuring multiple true floor generals, and he's proved again and again that he's perfectly comfortable darting into the paint for a rebound opportunity. His wingspan of 6'8" only aids this possibility. 

    Unfortunately, Payton didn't take part in the shooting drills.

    It would've been nice to see how he fared as a spot-up shooter, particularly after his perimeter game emerged as his biggest weakness during his final season at Louisiana-Lafayette. Showing improvement in that area would only enhance his ability to line up as an off-ball guard, although NBA teams will still recognize that he's best with the ball in his hands.

20. Kristaps Porzingis

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    Team: Cajasol

    Position: PF/C

    Age: 18

    Vitals: 6'11", 216 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 6.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.0 blocks, 0.6 steals

     

    Now that Kristaps Porzingis has officially entered his name in the 2014 NBA draft, as Jonathan Givony reported for DraftExpress.com near the end of April, he's only going to keep rising up the boards. Sure, his numbers aren't particularly impressive, thanks primarily to his limited run with Cajasol, but everything else about him is. 

    His frame desperately needs to fill out, but this is a guy who projects as a stretch-4 thanks to his ability to knock down deep perimeter jumpers and put the ball on the floor when a defender is closing out in out-of-control fashion. 

    But offense isn't the only side of the court on which he excels—or at least shows signs of excelling down the road.

    As B/R's Daniel O'Brien explains while giving due credit to the 18-year-old's shot-blocking skills, "Porzingis exhibits exemplary alertness as a weak-side helper, often tracking down slashers from 15-20 feet away. With a couple long strides and a well-timed leap, he erases truckloads of would-be layups."

    Even if he's a draft-and-stash candidate, just as Lucas Nogueira was this past year for the Atlanta Hawks, Porzingis could potentially draw some lottery consideration as exposure improves his stock.

19. Shabazz Napier

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    School: Connecticut

    Position: PG

    Age: 22

    Vitals: 6'1", 175 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.8 steals

     

    Fresh off leading Connecticut to an NCAA title—and vaulting himself into the first round of virtually every mock draft out there—Shabazz Napier isn't done improving his stock. 

    At the combine, he didn't grow, but he did show off the athleticism that allows him to overcome his relatively diminutive stature. A 37.5-inch max vert did the trick, leaving Napier as one of the elite leapers among the prospects who were tested. 

    That said, it's confidence and intelligence that will help him make his mark right off the bat. 

    "My knowledge of the game [is my upside]," the championship-winning point guard said in Chicago, via Rich Mayor for The Chicago Tribune (h/t Courant.com)."I could actually come in [an NBA] game right now and have an impact. I don't think a lot of folks could do that, their knowledge of the game is not what mine is."

18. Clint Capela

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Team: Elan Chalon

    Position: PF/C

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'11", 211 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 9.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.5 blocks, 0.7 steals

     

    Everything below the neck is fantastic. Everything above it is questionable. 

    I'm not insulting Clint Capela's facial structure or hairstyle, just pointing out that his mind is holding him back from becoming an elite player. And leave it to NBA coaches and general managers to think they can fix those cerebral shortcomings, convincing Capela that he's a true big man and not a wing player who fires away jumpers free of care. 

    The Swiss big man has all the physical tools you could ask for—an impressive frame, explosive leaping ability, a long wingspan, quickness and fantastic timing—but he has yet to package them together into anything that resembles an NBA-ready frontcourt player. 

    He's a project, but he could be quite the rewarding one.

17. Jusuf Nurkic

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    Team: Cedevita

    Position: C

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'11", 280 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.8 steals

     

    Jusuf Nurkic is a hulking specimen on the basketball court, checking in just shy of seven feet with a frame that's capable of carrying 280 pounds. He's a strong player, one who's more than willing to bang around on both ends of the court, but he can also step out and show off a silky jumper. 

    However, he's not without flaws. 

    Mentality issues abound, both in terms of discipline and defensive positioning. Nurkic is prone to being caught in the wrong spot, and that leads to him fouling even more than he would otherwise...which is already a lot. 

    The Bosnian big man isn't ready to compete in the Association, but that won't prevent him from going in the first round of the 2014 draft. His upside is just that high, especially because he's only 19 years old and might not yet be done developing from a physical standpoint.

16. Rodney Hood

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    School: Duke

    Position: SF

    Age: 21

    Vitals: 6'9", 208 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.7 steals 

     

    Everything Rodney Hood did during his time in Chicago helped him out immensely. 

    He knocked down 69.3 percent of the shots he took, a mark that was topped only by a trio of players who aren't quite in the same class as the Duke product. No other small forward even came close to him. 

    Talent evaluators aren't just looking at the shooting results, though. They're looking at the process, and that works in Hood's favor as well. He was smooth and confident with his jumpers, creating space nicely during live action and looking like a future scoring stud. 

    It also helped that he measured taller than expected and had an impressive 36-inch max vert. 

    Without Jabari Parker by his side eating up touches—which obviously worked out well for Duke during the regular season—Hood is going to start standing out more and more as an offensive contributor. He's on the rise, and that shouldn't stop anytime soon.

15. Zach LaVine

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: UCLA

    Position: SG

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'6", 181 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.9 steals

     

    Zach LaVine was supposed to be a project player. 

    He didn't play all that much during his freshman season at UCLA, and he was banking on his impressive upside when he submitted his name in the 2014 NBA draft class. It could take him a while to develop into a quality rotation member, but that gamble is going to be more than worth the risk for teams in the Association.

    Especially now that he's already flashing some NBA-readiness. 

    As Wasserman wrote after he measured well, dominated the athletic testing and showcased a surprisingly effective jumper during the shooting drills, "We already knew about his long-term potential, but LaVine actually looked like the best player in the gym as of right now." 

    And when B/R's NBA draft lead writer asked LaVine about his short-term prospects, the 2-guard was beaming with confidence.

    "I'm ready to step in and take somebody's job," he said, and there was no reason to doubt him. 

14. Nik Stauskas

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Michigan

    Position: SG

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'7", 207 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.6 steals

     

    Nik Stauskas can flat-out stroke the ball. 

    He didn't show that off during the combine, choosing to sit out during the shooting drills instead of splashing jumper after jumper. But it's not like general managers and scouts needed to see him shoot after he spent his last season in Ann Arbor drilling 44.2 percent of his looks from downtown. 

    Stauskas did participate in the athletic tests, though, and that also helped his stock ever so slightly.

    For a 2-guard who plays off the ball and relies on his cuts and dashes around screens, Stauskas didn't truly thrive, at least compared to the elites at the combine, but he still impressed. His max vert (35.5 inches) was right in the middle of the pack, but while his shuttle run verged on the upper echelon, his body-fat percentage was shockingly high. 

    This is supposed to be an event for which players are in the best shape of their lives. Stauskas' double-digit body-fat percentage might raise a few red flags about his work ethic, especially since he checked in with a higher number than all but three players (LaQuinton Ross, Alex Kirk and Kyle Anderson). 

     

13. Doug McDermott

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    School: Creighton

    Position: SF/PF

    Age: 22

    Vitals: 6'8", 218 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.2 steals

     

    "I'll really have to be able to guard a 3 or a 2," Doug McDermott told Wasserman at the NBA draft combine. "It's something I'm going to have to work on, but I really understand the team concept of defense, and I think I'm going to be just fine out there."

    Why is he downshifting? 

    Because McDermott—who didn't shoot at the combine because he had nothing to gain in that respect—measured in with underwhelming numbers. He stood just over 6'6" without shoes on, and his wingspan (6'9.25") didn't do much to help his case. 

    Quite frankly, I considered dropping the power-forward designation, because there's little-to-no chance an NBA team would line him up at the 4 without playing some serious small ball.

12. Gary Harris

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Michigan State

    Position: SG

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'5", 205 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.8 steals

     

    The vast majority of the time Gary Harris spends on the court, he's playing as an off-ball guard. And that means that size is basically a prerequisite for filling the same role in the NBA. 

    However, Harris doesn't have that size. 

    While he's listed at 6'5" up above, keep in mind that I'm rounding up for aesthetic reasons. He actually measured in at 6'4.5" with shoes on, and that's with some of the thickest-soled shoes among all players at the combine. They added two inches to his height, after all, which is more than most prospects receive from their footwear. 

    Compounding the issue is a 6'6.75" wingspan that ranked among the worst of the 59 prospects measured in Chicago. Virginia's Joe Harris was the only non-point guard to finish below him in that category. 

    Harris is still an incredibly talented prospect capable of making a two-way impact, but this puts a damper on his ability to line up at the 2 on both ends of the court in the Association.

11. James Young

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Kentucky

    Position: SG/SF

    Age: 18

    Vitals: 6'7", 213 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.8 steals

     

    James Young didn't do much in Chicago, but he did get his wingspan measured. 

    With arms that extend seven feet from fingertip to fingertip, Young only helped his own cause, as he was one of just two players in the field capable of playing the 2 who measured out so favorably. Jordan McRae was the other, and Lamar Patterson was the only other shooting guard within an inch of the two leaders. 

    On top of that, Young's 8'8" standing reach and 5.1 body-fat percentage both work in his favor, as they prove that what we saw during his freshman season was no fluke. He is a physical specimen, one capable of looking like an elite slasher at the next level. 

    "Young's .407 shooting percentage and 14.3 points per game during his sole year at Kentucky don't tell the story of just how explosive and offensive-minded he can be," writes The Plain Dealer's Jodie Valade

    Neither do these numbers, but they do indicate that he'll look better on defense than he did as a freshman in Lexington, provided he's willing to put in the necessary work.

10. Dario Saric

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Team: Cibona

    Position: SF/PF

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'10", 223 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 16.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.9 blocks, 1.1 steals

     

    Will Dario Saric play in the NBA anytime soon? 

    That's the predominant question for this Croatian forward, not any sort of inquiry that revolves around whether he's good enough to play at the sport's highest level. There's no guarantee that he makes it across the pond in the near future, even though he's officially declared for the draft, and that makes him a rather tricky pick. 

    There's a risk—Orlando Magic fans, please don't continue reading—that he could be the next Fran Vazquez, a lottery pick who just never makes it over to the Association. That, Bleacher Report's Bryan Toporek writes, is his floor, but the ceiling is rather impressive: 

    If Saric opts not to withdraw, he could be a perfect draft-and-stash option for one of the teams with multiple lottery picks (namely, Philadelphia and Orlando). His combination of ball-handling, passing and shooting brings one player above all others to mind: former Chicago Bulls big man Toni Kukoc.

    Given Saric's versatility and size, it's hard to disagree.

9. Tyler Ennis

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Syracuse

    Position: PG

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'3", 182 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, 2.1 steals


    As DraftExpress.com's Mike Schmitz explained, the combine helped explain how Tyler Ennis was able to rack up so many steals during his freshman season at Syracuse: 

    The consummate point guard showed how he was able to wreak havoc at the top of Syracuse's zone last year to the tune of 2.4 steals per 40, as he posted a 6-7 ¼ wingspan. Ennis measured a 6-5 wingspan at the LeBron James and Deron Williams Camps in 2012. Although not quite as strong, the 6-2 ½ point guard compares physically to 2012 draftee and NBA standout Damian Lillard (6-2 ¾ in shoes, 189 pounds, 6-7 ¾ wingspan).

    I'm sure Ennis won't complain about being mentioned in the same breath as Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers guard who became one of the very best at his position in the NBA during only his second professional season. 

    He also showed off enough physical tools to improve his stock even more. 

    His time in the lane agility drill (11.12 seconds) was great, though not quite elite. The same can't be said about his score on the shuttle run, which measures agility and the ability to change direction. Ennis' mark of 2.84 seconds left him trailing only Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine. 

8. Marcus Smart

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    School: Oklahoma State

    Position: PG

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 6'3", 227 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, 2.9 steals

     

    Marcus Smart is an absolute tank. 

    Although he checked in only slightly above 6'3" with his shoes on, his 227 pounds leave no doubt about that previous statement. Sure, it would be nice for the big point guard to cut back on that 10.55 body-fat percentage—making him one of only eight measured players in double digits—but the mass is part of what makes him such an intimidating player. 

    Smart chose not to shoot at the combine, which didn't do anything to refute the common perception that his jumper is a weakness. But he'll surely shoot for teams during individual workouts, and if he's as hard-working as he should be, he'll impress during those. 

    The Oklahoma State product also boasted a ridiculous 6'9.25" wingspan, which puts him in a class of his own at the position. No other point guard is within an inch of that mark, except for Dante Exum, who should be considered more of a combo guard than a true 1-guard. 

7. Noah Vonleh

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Indiana

    Position: PF/C

    Age: 18

    Vitals: 6'10", 247 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals

     

    If you're looking for a physical behemoth in the frontcourt, Noah Vonleh would be your guy. 

    The 18-year-old big man measured in at just under 6'10" with his shoes on, and his massive wingspan left no doubt that he possesses the true height necessary to play center even when teams don't opt for a smaller lineup. After all, that 7'4.25" wingspan (a quarter-inch shy of Isaiah Austin's top mark) made him one of just six prospects at the combine able to reach 9'0" without jumping.  

    Wasserman didn't hesitate to give untempered praise after the first day of the combine: 

    Vonleh also weighed in at 247 pounds with the biggest hands in the group. 

    The fact that's he's still just 18 years old is frightening. He's a physical specimen with measurements that come close to Kevin Durant's (6'9" in socks, 7'4.75" wingspan), and given his strength, post game and promising jumper, Vonleh should be able to get shots off with ease at the NBA level.

    I'm a bit less sold on that jumper, which explains why I don't also have him in the top five as Wasserman does. But is No. 7 really anything to complain about in a draft devoid of elite players capable of playing center? 

    Not really.

6. Aaron Gordon

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Arizona

    Position: PF

    Age: 18

    Vitals: 6'9", 220 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 0.9 steals

     

    Aaron Gordon's steal and block numbers aren't eye-popping ones, but according to Sports-Reference.com, his 3.3 defensive win shares during his freshman season at Arizona still managed to pace the NCAA. He was just ahead of a group of players that included Aaron Craft and Montrezl Harrell, two defensive standouts in their own right. 

    The combine explained—at least partially—how he was able to make such an impact. 

    Gordon's wingspan, only a quarter-inch shy of 7'0", is impressive for a power forward also capable of defending 3's on a regular basis, but it was his athletic testing that really stood out. Not one player, for example, was able to complete the shuttle run in less time. In fact, Gordon was the only non-point guard in the top five. 

    All of his ranks were impressive, though: 

    • Shuttle run: No. 1 overall, No. 1 among big men
    • Lane agility time: No. 7 overall, No. 1 among big men
    • Three-quarter sprint: No. 21 overall, No. 4 among big men
    • Standing vertical leap: No. 11 overall, No. 2 among big men
    • Max vertical leap: No. 9 overall, No. 1 among big men

    Across the board, he was dominant. 

5. Julius Randle

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    School: Kentucky

    Position: PF

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'9", 250 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.5 steals

     

    "Randle ran through a number of athletic drills and he was quite impressive throughout," wrote B/R's Mike Chiari. "The combine won't necessarily make or break the draft stock of any players, but Randle put on a fantastic display to make up for a height measurement that could have potentially worried some teams."

    In fact, his athletic drills were more than impressive. They were jaw-droppingly impressive considering he recorded a 35.5-inch max vert. That number doesn't shock without context, but it should when you remember that Randle is a hulking big man who relies more on strength than athleticism much of the time. 

    And as Kentucky television host Thomas Beisner points out, that's the same combine measurement as Amar'e Stoudemire, Derrick Favors and one other big man who was drafted in the last decade. 

    Some guy named Blake GriffinYou might have heard of him. 

    Athleticism, needless to say, shouldn't be a concern for Randle. But on the flip side, the measurement thrusts his unimpressive steal and block totals into a whole new light, one that's rather unfavorable.

4. Dante Exum

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Team: N/A

    Position: PG/SG

    Age: 18

    Vitals: 6'6", 196 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: N/A

     

    It's a shame Dante Exum didn't shoot the ball for those in attendance at the Chicago-based proceedings. It would've been nice for him to peel away a few layers of the mystery that surrounds him. 

    But at least he participated to some extent, unlike the top three players on the board. 

    Exum's 34.5-inch max vert wasn't particularly impressive, but he made up for that with his physical measurements and speed. Only Zach LaVine recorded a faster time in the lane agility drill, and Exum finished in the top 10 of both the shuttle run and the three-quarter sprint. 

    Impressive, right? Well, it gets better. 

    The Australian combo guard is Huge. Yes, with a capital "H." 

    Even though he's capable of lining up at point guard—and probably should in most lineups—he's 6'6" with shoes on, has a wing span that rounds up to 6'10" and boasts a standing reach of 8'7" that makes him seem more like a small forward than a guard. 

3. Jabari Parker

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    USA TODAY Sports

    School: Duke

    Position: SF/PF

    Age: 19 

    Vitals: 6'8", 241 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.1 steals

     

    Jabari Parker didn't show up in Chicago, but he really didn't need to. 

    At this point, the Duke product is already part of the truly elite class of prospects, one that includes only three players. And quite frankly, the order here is up to personal opinion, as you'll see plenty of boards with Parker at any one of the top three spots.

    None of them are wrong. 

    Parker is an intelligent player who approaches the game the right way, showing class off the court and unbridled passion on it. He's going to be an immediate contributor wherever he's drafted into the league, thanks to his impressive combination of perimeter shooting and inside scoring. 

    There's just not much to complain about here. 

2. Joel Embiid

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    School: Kansas

    Position: C

    Age: 20

    Vitals: 7'0", 240 pounds

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.6 blocks, 0.9 steals

     

    No player in this draft has a ceiling quite like Joel Embiid. Not even Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum or any of the other players with plenty of perceived upside. 

    It's not an exaggeration to compare Embiid favorably to Hakeem Olajuwon, given the two-way potential he's shown with his shot-blocking prowess and fancy footwork. He's so far ahead of his projected developmental curve that it's scary. 

    However, there's one thing holding him back. And that's, well, his back. 

    Here's ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required): 

    Embiid is the big question mark at the moment. He's struggled with back issues for the past few months. With no NBA physical, teams have no clue what the issue is. If his agent decides to release medical information to just a couple of select teams, he's essentially cutting top lottery teams out of the process. The Bucks, for example, couldn't really take Embiid unless they knew his back was healthy. If Embiid's agent didn't want the Bucks to take him, he essentially cuts them out of the process by refusing to give them the physical.

    If Embiid's medical issues are cleared up and there's no long-term concern whatsoever, he'll rise up to No. 1 on my draft board, as well as many others on which he's just shy of the top spot. It should say a lot that he's at No. 2 even with this shroud of uncertainty hanging over his head. 

1. Andrew Wiggins

26 of 26

    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    School: Kansas

    Position: SF

    Age: 19

    Vitals: 6'8", 197 pounds 

    2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.2 steals

     

    Andrew Wiggins didn't participate in the combine, but he still managed to steal the show by jumping out of a gym and having a picture taken that eventually went viral. And as Ford tweeted"The picture of Andrew Wiggins vert jump floating around? His agent, Bill Duffy, told me it's a 44 inch vert."

    Assuming that was a max vert—though this is Wiggins we're talking about, so we can't rule out the possibility of a borderline-impossible standing vert number—the former Jayhawk would've ranked No. 1 among the field that jumped in Chicago. 

    The combine high, belonging both to Markel Brown and Jahii Carson, was 43.5 inches, which is obviously slightly less than Wiggins' reported number. Of course, there's a chance Duffy was exaggerating, but does that really matter? 

    I mean, just look at that picture one more time.

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