Risers and fallers. No two terms are more popular at the NBA Scouting Combine than risers and fallers. Players help their stock or hurt their stock or, in reality, just prove what we already suspected.
But it's always fun and interesting to focus on those players that perhaps went from a mid-round pick to the lottery. Or players who went from a lottery selection to a top-five player.
So which players helped themselves the most this year? Let's find out.
All combine results via NBA.com.
Zach LaVine, UCLA
We already knew Zach LaVine was athletic. Perhaps we just didn't quite know how athletic he was.
He had the best lane agility drill at 10.42 seconds. He had the second-best shuttle run at 2.8 seconds. He was fourth in the standing vertical at 33.5 inches. He was third in the maximum vertical leap at 41.5 inches.
Of course, you don't have to just trust the numbers, or take my word for it. The buzz around LaVine was high, according to Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated:
Word in the lobby of the combine's hotel is that the player who improved his stock the most today was Zach LaVine. Shot it very well.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) May 15, 2014
Another interesting aspect to LaVine is that he can play either guard position and actually sees himself manning the point in the NBA, as he told Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:
"I definitely see myself as a point guard," LaVine said. "I played there my whole career. It's just this one scenario where coach had different plans for the team [at UCLA this past season], so I played the shooting-guard position. I feel like that definitely helped my game out as well. I feel like it helped me move without the ball, learn how to come off screens better, read defenses well. It definitely helped me as well."
Except that it may have also hurt his draft stock.
"I don't feel like it did," LaVine said. "I still got to be out there and play with my guys playing basketball. As long as I'm the court, I'm good."
That versatility helps his cause, and at the combine, LaVine may have jumped and shot his way into a lottery pick. Don't be surprised if he doesn't last very long at this year's draft.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Aaron Gordon was already a lock as a top-10 pick. But his showing at the combine might have teams with a top-five pick eyeing him up very carefully, too.
He had the fastest shuttle run at 2.76 seconds, an incredibly impressive mark for a player his size at 6'9" and 225 pounds. He also impressed with a lane agility run at 10.81 seconds. And he wasn't done there.
He had a 39-inch maximum vertical, and a 32.5-inch standing vert. That mark wasn't one of the most impressive of the combine, but it was more impressive than several NBA stars at similar positions, as ESPN Stats and Information tweeted:
Aaron Gordon's standing vert of 32.5 is better than Blake Griffin (32.0), Chris Bosh (30.5) and Dwight Howard (30.5)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 16, 2014
His offensive game obviously needs a lot of polish, but that's a pretty common theme in this year's draft. For a team looking to add pure athleticism to their frontcourt, it will be hard to pass on Gordon.
Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Gordon virtually ensured he'll be a top-seven pick at the combine, but don't be surprised if Noah Vonleh jumps both him and Julius Randle in the draft. Just check out his measures, via Chad Ford of ESPN:
Noah Vonleh measured 6' 8" in socks, a crazy 7' 4.25" wingspan, 9' 0" standing reach, 247 pounds.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 15, 2014
Ryen Russillo of ESPN was certainly intrigued:
The most impressive thing from Day 1 has to be Noah Vonleh measuring a 7-4+ wingspan. 2nd best behind Austin. #NBAcombine— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) May 16, 2014
And his stats from this past season certainly compare favorably to those of Randle, per ESPNU:
Vonleh is a more versatile athlete than Randle, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him rise into the top five of this draft. He certainly helped himself at the combine.