From ATTACK Athletics in Chicago, IL, the NBA’s official player pre-draft workouts and measurements are being conducted, with personnel from all 30 teams in attendance. There are about eight 12 invited players per position (54 total) who worked out with their respective position groups, and roughly 90 percent of the participants will be taken in this June’s upcoming draft.
There are no scrimmages or live five-on-five play, which makes it tough to evaluate and leaves a lot of teams to rely on older game film. However, teams can get a great look at the majority of the NCAA players in person by seeing them work out live and get the chance to interview them.
Today was the featured player workouts and drills, and we tuned in for ESPNU’s four-hour coverage of the workouts to see what progression we noticed in players. The drills consisted of spot-up shooting, transition shooting, contested shooting, 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 back, defensive rotating (lateral drill), cone dribble drill, guarding the pick and roll and rebounding.
Tomorrow the measurements for height, wingspan, speed, vertical, etc. will take place, and we will have more on that after it is official Friday afternoon.
That said, SwishScout.com presents a recap and notes of some good points and stats made by the broadcast, observations we noticed watching the prospects and how they look relative to other players at their position.
Note: On every player, you can click their name or country to take you to a more detailed profile for an extensive scouting report and highlights on the respective prospect.
Player Observations and Notes
- Enes Kanter, the headliner and highest-rated player participating in the event, looked in great shape working out. Looks like he’s shed about five pounds and moved very well running the floor. Not super athletic, but readily apparent conditioning has been an area of focus. Looked great making post moves and rebounding the ball as well.
- Jimmer Fredette looked good shooting the ball, as expected. Know he can be a shot maker in the NBA, but big question is he anything more than that? When asked about defensive effort in an interview after, commented, “I should have played better defense...coaches didn’t want me in foul trouble.” Wore stylish black tights too, if it matters.
- Malcolm Lee worked out with the shooting guards and even looked big alongside them. Supposedly getting high praise from NBA players he’s worked out with as a guy with respectable game and can flat-out play. Some think he’s a UCLA guard in the mold of Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday for guards who didn’t do great in the UCLA system but translate well to the league.
- Marshon Brooks is drawing some buzz as a potential first-rounder and looked good in workouts. The 6’5” guard shot the ball well, and his wingspan (7’2”) looks imposing for a perimeter player relative to his draft counterparts.
- Klay Thompson looked solid but noticeably needs to keep building muscle and adding strength to his frame.
- Travis Leslie has the look of an NBA player (very similar to Tony Allen) in terms of size and build. Struggled shooting the ball and has some work to do on his offensive game, but probably the best pure athlete available this year.
- Cory Joseph looks like he doesn’t belong there yet. Played pretty good defense, but definitely a few years away in terms of offense and running the show at point.
- Isaiah Thomas looked small and almost half a foot shorter than his counterparts but has a great build. Nate Robinson looks more and more like the fitting comparison to his game in the league if he makes it.
- LaceDarius Dunn looked very streaky shooting the ball, as he went on some hot streaks and then cold for a nearly equal amount. Form on his jumper looks a little odd and hitchy. Supposedly cried after a game from a bad performance, shows he cares.
- Kyle Singler tried to take a charge in a drill. With no ref to make the call, was an oddity but shows instinctive style of play and hustle. Definitely looked a step slower than the rest.
- Chris Singleton looked great on defense, even in drills. Did a great job contesting and turning away some shots playing man-to-man defense.
- Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris supposedly might have some "separation anxiety" from not being together in the league like they have been their whole lives. After workouts with the small forwards, Marcus commented he "understands it has to happen." It’s highly unlikely the twins will be drafted by the same team.
- Tobias Harris has the look of an NBA forward who specializes on the perimeter but can definitely bang out in the post once he fills out his body and adds some strength.
- Tyler Honeycutt's shooting stroke looks like it needs some work and reps in the gym. He didn’t shoot the ball great. Looked great on the court and moves very well for a forward, flashing his athleticism.
- Kenneth Faried pushed everyone around the paint (especially Justin Harper), showing off his great strength and motor. While everyone else seemed to barely break a sweat in terms of effort, Faried was dripping with it at the end of his workout. His shot looks awful and awkward, doesn’t follow through on his shot and has a lot of work with seemingly little touch.
- JaJuan Johnson is so long and athletic, amazing that he’s being considered a fringe first-rounder. Refined player who has one of the most money face-up jumpers in the draft.
- Jordan Williams looks to be in much better shape and has dropped some baby weight as well. Questionable as to whether is a true 6’10”, which even at that is undersized for a center prospect.
- Jeremy Tyler was absolutely stroking his midrange jumper and looked great in shooting drills with the big men. Big-time talent who will get a shot in the second round, maybe even reached for in the late first, and has a chance to be a great pro.
General Thoughts and Interesting Tidbits
- Players being labeled as "workout" guys who look great in individual drills but really leave something to be desired in live play. Josh Selby and Scotty Hopson were names dropped as this type of player. Teams have been noted for telling their scouts to be wary and to not fall in love with this type of players, not just specifically those listed above.
- Toronto Raptors GM Brian Colangelo on their fifth pick in the draft: “not looking for instant gratification.” Jonas Valanciunas is our projected pick for the Raptors currently in our lottery mock draft.
- The impending lockout is definitely a looming question lurking around the combine and in everyone’s mind. Rookies will be unable to sign with teams until the issue is resolved.
If you are unfamiliar with the draft prospects and want to get up to speed quickly, it’s a great event to check out on ESPNU. Even if you have a great knowledge of the prospects and are very familiar with their games, you still take in a different perspective from the broadcast crew and pick up interesting information.
Personally, I love listening to the contrasting styles of Fran Fraschilla (former coach at St. John’s and New Mexico) and Tom Penn (former NBA VP of Operations with the Portland Trail Blazers).
Again, tomorrow is the general measurements for physical build and athleticism, and SwishScout.com will have more on that tomorrow afternoon.