NBA Draft Combine Results 2013: Winners and Losers From Chicago
It turns out that this particular NBA combine might have been extremely beneficial for prospects and decision makers.
Many of the executives on hand were likely seeing some of these players live for the very first time. So for some, this gave the big bosses a chance to view everyone under one roof, which allows them to compare one prospect to another.
It's very difficult to come out a loser during this process. You either have to shoot the ball poorly or test/measure poorly to really turn people off here.
On the other hand, some prospects were able to show what they can do in a more free-flowing setting. Prospects are not always put in a position to showcase their strengths during the season based on the system their college coaches run.
Impressions were certainly made during the 2013 combine. Some for the better and some for the worse.
Winner: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams was the biggest winner from this year's event.
Normally, most combine winners generate buzz during physical measurements. But Adams created his based on simple basketball drills in front of executives, scouts and coaches.
He was knocking down jumpers left and right as if he'd been saving them for the right time. At Pittsburgh, Adams did most of his damage by catching and dunking at the rim. He'd go weeks at a time without attempting a shot outside the paint.
But during drills, Adams was not only accurate, but his stroke was fluid. It looked natural. He was swishing shots in rhythm during the pick-and-pop drills and converting one-dribble pull-ups comfortably.
After watching his shooting drills, it appears that this skill was hidden in Pittsburgh's offense.
This is promising from a developmental standpoint, as teams now know they have something to work with and build on.
He also gave a strong interview with Andy Katz on national television, seeming down-to-earth, self-aware and personable. The interviews are a very underrated aspect of the process. It can go a long way if you're able to charm a coaching staff or general manager.
Adams measured in at 7'0'' with shoes and a monstrous 7'4.5'' wingspan, almost an inch longer than Nerlens Noel's.
Given this new information, teams may no longer view Adams as that hit-or-miss, long-term project. He's going to continue impressing in workouts based on his size, athleticism, deceptive touch and character.
The lottery now seems like a reasonable possibility.
Loser: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Nerlens Noel was unable to participate in drills, though his knee didn't prevent him from measuring in physically.
I bet he hoped it did. A red flag was raised for Noel during this portion of the event.
Noel weighed in at just 206 pounds, an eye-opening number.
To put that in perspective, Noel weighs less than Deron Williams and just six pounds heavier than Jeremy Lin. These are point guards.
Noel projects as an NBA center—a defensive anchor and rim-protector. But at 206 pounds, he might get eaten alive.
Granted, Noel has been out of action for the past few months. But he's fairly slender as it is. How much weight will his frame be able to hold?
His wingspan measured 7'3.75'', a solid number, though nothing unexpected.
The weight issue will just add to the risk he presents as a top overall pick, considering he's just a few months removed from tearing his ACL.
I'm not saying he's no longer considered the consensus No. 1 guy, but it wouldn't be surprising if a few teams hopped off the wagon.
Winner: Cody Zeller, Indiana
Cody Zeller finished first amongst the centers in the max vertical (37.5 inches), standing vertical (35.5 inches), lane agility (10.82 seconds) and three-quarter-court sprint (3.15 seconds).
His standing vertical really drew the most attention. Chad Ford of ESPN tweeted:
Cody Zeller's standing vert of 35.5" was highest ever recorded for player 6-9 or taller in last decade.#NBADraftCombine— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 17, 2013
Zeller was sized up at 7'0.25'', 230 pounds. It should allow Zeller to play both frontcourt positions given his agility and ability to play facing the rim.
Zeller sat out Day 1 of the drilling portion, but he put up some solid physical measurements and athletic testing numbers to help him gain traction among the other bigs in the field.
Loser: Myck Kabongo, Texas
Myck Kabongo didn't do himself any favors during the drilling portion of the combine.
He shot just 5-of-25 during three-point drills with many decision makers watching. It wasn't a good look considering he shot just 31.6 percent from three as a freshman and 29.6 percent as a sophomore.
And for what it's worth, he got crossed over and burned by Nate Wolters during a one-on-one drill.
Kabongo also only registered a 33.5" max vertical as a 6'2.75'' guard. To put that into perspective, Isaiah Canaan, a 6'0'' guard, reached 40 inches, as did six other guards Kabongo will be competing with.
Nobody's going to downgrade Kabongo because of his athletic testing. But not standing out while others do could ultimately have the same effect.
Winner: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Tim Hardaway Jr. had an awesome Thursday and Friday at the combine.
For starters, he was the top three-point shooter of any prospect at the event. He made 19-of-25 from downtown, attempting five shots from each wing, the corners and the top of the arc.
Andy Katz also mentioned during the broadcast that Hardaway had been killing it in a three-on-three scrimmage while others were testing.
Hardaway Jr. gave strong measurements and tested well athletically, too. He came in at 6'6.25'' in sneakers, a really good number for a shooting guard.
He then registered a 31.5" standing vertical and 37.5" max vertical, two numbers that should illustrate his ability to play above the rim.
Hardaway's arrow is pointing upwards.
Loser: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Shabazz Muhammad was one of the few projected lottery picks to participate in Day 1 of the drills. Maybe he should have hoped his agent shut him down. Ford tweeted:
Worst shooters from NBA Draft Combine on Thur: Myck Kabongo (32%), Shabazz Muhammad (36%), Andre Roberson (42%)— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 17, 2013
Muhammad was the second-worst shooter at the combine, making only 36 percent of his jumpers during drills. This isn't a good look considering his shooting was one of the few strengths scouts found in his game after one season at UCLA.
He also measured just 6'4.75'' in socks. NBA scouts view him as a small forward given his inability to create off the dribble.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), one GM told him, "It's a problem. If you're on the fence about him, this could push you off."
Winner: Trey Burke, Michigan
Trey Burke had very promising physical measurements and athletic testing results.
The big plus here was his height and weight. Burke measured in at 6'1.25'' in sneakers and 187 pounds. That's pretty much your average size for an NBA point guard. He registered a solid 6'5.5'' wingspan as well, which will help him as a finisher amongst the trees at the rim.
Burke also pulled off a 36.5" max vertical, a good number to show scouts who question his athleticism.
At the end of the day, Burke is competing for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. And based on the combine results, teams will worry more about Noel's weight than they will about Burke's height and athleticism.
Winner: Shane Larkin and the Point Guards
Some of the point guards tested through the roof athletically.
Peyton Siva and Shane Larkin ran three-quarter-court sprints at lightning speeds, scoring a 3.14 time and 3.08 time, respectively. Larkin's was the fastest time of anyone at the combine.
Larkin, Siva, Michael Carter-Williams, Ray McCallum and Isaiah Canaan all put up max verticals over 40 inches. Larkin leapt a stunning 44 inches, the second-highest in combine history. C.J. McCollum got to 38.5 inches and Phil Pressey topped out at 38 inches.
More than any other position, it's a requirement for point guards to be athletic. We could really see over 10 of them get drafted this year.
Losers: NBA Coaches and General Managers
There just isn't any standout player in this field.
You can pretty much guarantee that whoever gets the top pick will at least explore the possibility of trading down.
At 206 pounds, Nerlens Noel might have scared off a number of general managers. Maryland's Alex Len is out of commission with a stress fracture in his foot, a worrisome injury all too common amongst big men. UNLV's Anthony Bennett will also be unable to work out after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
Coincidentally, these three might have the highest NBA upsides of anyone in the field.
There are other safe options like Georgetown's Otto Porter, Michigan's Trey Burke and Indiana's Victor Oladipo, but none stick out as that franchise-changing talent.
This will be a unique draft in that there may not be much of a difference between pick No. 6 and pick No. 26. If there was ever a year to trade down, this would probably be it.
Winner: Tony Snell, New Mexico
Tony Snell had a strong all-around combine, excelling during drills and impressing athletically.
He converted 74 percent of his jumpers during the shooting portion, which was second amongst players at the combine. From what I saw, Snell has a feathery touch from all over the floor, a skill you won't find in most elite-level athletes. Ford tweeted:
Top shooters from NBA Draft Combine on Thur: Mike Muscala (76%), Tony Snell (74%), Reggie Bullock & Grant Jerrett (72%), Allen Crabbe (70%)— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 17, 2013
Physically, Snell measured in at just over 6'7'' in sneakers, excellent size for a shooting guard or small forward. His 6'11.5'' wingspan and 4.9-percent body fat were also numbers that will work in his favor.
Athletically, Snell posted the second-fastest agility score of anyone at the combine.
Snell will look to market himself as that Kawhi Leonard type of wing who can lock down defensively and stretch the floor. He's picking up steam with the draft inching closer.
Winner: C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State
C.J. Leslie didn't participate during the basketball drills, but he wowed in one particular athletic test in which he really needed to impress.
Leslie registered a 10.19-second agility score, tops of any prospect at the event. That's notable for two reasons—the first being that he's a big man, and big men aren't supposed to beat guards at this drill.
The second is that Leslie is trying to prove he can play small forward. And one of the typical strengths of small forwards is their agility—the ability to get to the rim and dodge defenders on the way.
Leslie's 40.5" vertical also turned some heads.
He measured in at 6'8.75'', a number that should allow him to play some 4 at the next level. His 7'2.25'' wingspan is also a monster number for a combo forward that scouts will certainly highlight.
Leslie helped confirm his freakish athleticism at the combine, while his physical measurements were favorable.