Notes out of first couple days of NBA Draft Combine
As we told you going in, the NBA Draft Combine is not like its NFL counterpart — the results of the drills matter less, guys draft stock doesn’t move much (it’s the interviews and the medical tests that really matter).
Still, some guys do get noticed at the annual event in Chicago, which wraps up today (Friday).
• Australian Dante Exum — expected to go in the 5-7 range – is drawing a lot of attention, both from the media and from teams looking to meet in the interview process.
“In Exum’s case, he is still an unknown to many NBA people and it would be the first time for some of them to get a chance to speak with him,” Isaacson said. Teams likely to draft him will certainly be bringing him in for workouts as well.
• The other guy drawing interest for interviews is another lottery point guard — Marcus Smith of Oklahoma State. The reason here is the incident this season where he shoved a fan.
“Smart has always been the kind of player where there is always a lot of interest when he is in the room,” Isaacson said. “I think his on-court behavior was so shocking to many this year because he has always been well like among NBA people.”
• One guy who was on the bubble to get drafted at all and helped his cause was Green Bay center Alec Brown. He’s the tallest guy at the combine — measured at 7-foot without shoes — but that’s not what turned heads.
“Brown had one of the best shooting days of any player, including 18 of 25 from NBA 3-point range in the spot shooting,” Isaacson said. In a league that loves stretch fours and bigs who can spread the floor he’s going to get a little interest.
• Speaking of big men whose measurements caught the attention of people, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh did just that — and he was already a guy slated for the Top 10.
“While his height (6’8”) and weight (247) were as expected, his wingspan (7'4.25) and standing reach (9'0) stood out,” Isaacson said. “Also, he had the biggest hands of anyone measured. If this really helps him all that much remains to be seen, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt him. To be fair, Julius Randle was 1/4 inch shorter (without shoes) and his standing reach was just a 1/2 inch less than Vonleh, and Adreian Payne was an inch taller and his standing reach was also an inch more, so Vonleh wasn’t the only power forward who measured well.”
• One guy that caught the eye of a lot of media members in attendance was UCLA’s Zach LaVine, who showed off an impressive shot and some athleticism.
• His UCLA teammate Jordan Adams turned some heads as well. “First, he came to the combine much lighter than what he played last season at UCLA, and then he shot 17 of 25 from NBA 3-point range in the Spot Shooting,” Isaacson said.