De'Aaron Fox NBA Combine 2017: Measurements, Analysis and Draft Projection

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 24:  De'Aaron Fox #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots a free throw against the UCLA Bruins during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 24, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After a star-making freshman year at Kentucky, De'Aaron Fox got to show off his skills in front of professional scouts on Thursday at the 2017 NBA Combine.

Fox helped lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight. He averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists in 36 games last season. He put on a show against UCLA and Lonzo Ball in the NCAA tournament with 39 points in an 86-75 win for Kentucky. 

This year's combine is lacking star power with most of the top prospects choosing to sit out the drills, or not attend altogether, making Fox the highest projected draft pick to give scouts an up close and personal look at what he can do. 

De'Aaron Fox Scouting Combine Results
AgeHeightWeightBody Fat %WingspanStanding Reach
196'3 1/4"169.6 lbs4.56'6 1/2"8'4"
Source: NBA.com

Analysis

Eyebrows were raised when Fox weighed in just under 170 pounds. He is listed at 187 pounds on Kentucky's official athletic website. 

Sam Vecenie of the Sporting News had an optimistic view of Fox's low weight:

Sean Deveney of the Sporting News cited a scout who was skeptical of what Kentucky's weight listing:

Because there was at least some skepticism around Fox's listed weight in college, the fact he came in so far below that at the combine doesn't seem likely to hurt his draft outlook. Teams saw what he looked like physically and how well he performed throughout the year.

Weight seems to be something that follows top Kentucky draft prospects around, for whatever reason. Last year, Vecenie wrote for CBS Sports that Tyler Ulis was one of the combine losers for tipping the scales at 149 pounds, noting it was 11 pounds less than the lowest recorded weight at the combine. 

Ulis wasn't regarded with the same kind of draft hype as Fox, and he lasted until the second round when the Denver Nuggets grabbed him with the 34th overall pick. 

Draft Express noted Fox's dimensions matched up nicely with Brandon Knight, who played at Kentucky in 2010-11 and was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Knight had a 6'6.8" wingspan with and 8'2 1/2" standing reach, per Draft Express.  

That was the most noteworthy part of Fox's day, which was light on action. He didn't take part in the five-on-five scrimmages, nor did he do the vertical jumps. 

Fox's appearance was enough to keep him on the minds of NBA scouts during the months between the end of the college basketball season and the draft. He was able to affirm his status without doing anything to destroy his ceiling at the professional level. 

Draft Projection

The top two players in this year's draft have seemingly been set in stone for months. Ball and Washington's Markelle Fultz will likely go 1-2, in either order, when the draft takes place on June 22. 

After Ball and Fultz come off the board is when things get really interesting because there doesn't seem to be a consensus No. 3 pick, though that's not due to lack of talent in this class. Things will also become clearer after the draft order is set following the lottery on May 16. 

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman—one of the few dissenters who has Ball going No. 3 to the Los Angeles Lakers—has Fox projected to the Orlando Magic with the fifth overall selection:

De'Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Smith Jr. should stir up good war-room debate. But after carrying Kentucky to postseason wins and improving his shooting along the way, Fox could have moved ahead of Smith, who failed to show in multiple big games and couldn't reach the NCAA tournament. 

It's worth noting that Fox shot better than Smith on two-point jumpers and free throws, stats that suggest his perimeter game isn't too far behind. 

ESPN's Chad Ford had Fox waiting a little longer in his most recent mock, projecting the Kentucky star to land with the New York Knicks at No. 7 overall. 

The combine wasn't going to drastically alter Fox's position in the draft unless he completely bombed. He's going to be selected in the top 10, with the potential to slide into the top five based on the lottery order and team needs.