NBA Scouts Finally See 7'7" Tacko Fall as Legit NBA Prospect

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMay 24, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 16: Tacko Fall #89 claps during Day One of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine on May 16, 2019 at the Quest MultiSport Complex in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

Some NBA scouts have updated their mindsets about Tacko Fall and whether he'll be draftable on June 20.

"Why not?" one answered. As in why not think about using a late pick on the tallest, longest prospect on recent record?

It's become a more accepted thought process following his appearance in Chicago, where he was initially selected to the G League Elite Camp before teams voted him into the NBA combine. Multiple scouts told Bleacher Report that Fall seems deserving of looks in the late 40s or 50s, mentioning him as a perfect G League stash.

More still don't believe he has a realistic chance of getting drafted. But all it takes is one of 30 teams. And it sounds like enough will at least examine Fall, who visited the Sacramento Kings on Thursday and should continue flying around the country for workouts. 

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Tacko Fall #41 participates in drills during the afternoon session of Day Two of the NBA G League Elite Mini Camp on May 13, 2019 at the Quest Multisport Sports Training Facility in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ack
Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

He only helped expand imaginations by shattering combine measurement records.

Height in socks: 7'5 ¼"

Height in shoes: 7'7"

Standing reach: 10' 2½"

Wingspan: 8'2 ¼"

At 7'7", he'd be the tallest player in the league by four inches. A 10' 2½" standing reach means he plays above the rim flat-footed. His 8'2 ¼" wingspan is nearly a half-foot longer than Rudy Gobert's. 

Fall, 288.8 pounds, frequently generated reaction from anyone watching scrimmages at the combine, given how striking a human his size looks dropping basketballs down a rim and swatting shots from his heels. He dwarfs everything in sight, particularly opposing centers and the actual hoop. Utah State's Neemias Queta (7'0 ¼", 7'4 ¼" wingspan) appeared undersized when matched up with Fall in the paint.

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17: Tyler Cook #78 and Tacko Fall #89 fight for position during Day Two of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine on May 17, 2019 at the Quest MultiSport Complex in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Though viewed by many throughout the years as more of a gimmick, Fall was effective in certain areas at Central Florida. He's the only player in the Sports Reference database to attempt at least 500 career shots and shoot over 70 percent from the floor. 

This past season he ranked in the 99th percentile in points per possessions around the basket, per Synergy Sports. No player to average three or more post-up attempts shot anywhere close to Fall's 69.3 percent. He converted 46 of 61 putback opportunities. 

In the NCAA tournament, his seven dunks on Duke and three blocks against Zion Williamson couldn't have hurt his chances of opening a scout's mind a notch more. 

Skeptics still have plenty of ammo. It's tough to comprehend how a player could have working legs and total just four transition points in 822 minutes, though it makes more sense when seeing his 3.78-second three-quarter-court sprint time, the slowest at the combine. Unsurprisingly, he also had the worst standing jump (22 inches) and lane agility time. 

A 43.2 percent free-throw mark at UCF highlights just how little touch he has. And in 115 career games, he totaled 50 assists, averaging fewer than 1.0 per 40 minutes every year. 

Heavy-footed with a choppy delivery on hooks and jump shots, Fall has obvious limitations during a time when teams are valuing bigs that can space the floor and switch defensively. Everyone seems to acknowledge his projected role and ceiling, with a best-case outcome showing Fall playing 10-15 minutes per game for his finishing and rim protection. 

Boban Marjanovic (7'3", 290 lbs) is the successful NBA giant to inspire hope, though Marjanovic is also a career 77.3 percent free-throw shooter.

Fall has an uphill battle to the NBA that will presumably start in the G League. Improving his foot speed, footwork and touch are the priorities for coaches. 

Teams will have to ask whether it's worth using a pick or investing years in such a low-floor, low-ceiling prospect. But they're clearly thinking about it, likely more than last year, and not for entertainment or marketing purposes.

It won't be the end for Fall if he isn't picked, either. A team figures to add him to its summer-league roster. He'll continue to get looks and chances from teams who see potential value in having a specialized weapon that no opponent in the NBA can physically match.

   

Measurements, athletic testing courtesy of NBA.com

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