With the NBA playoffs currently underway a lot of people forget that the draft combine is this week. I’m always interested to see who attends the combine since not everyone needs to help their draft stock. Top five draft prospects like Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum aren’t participating but Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox are. I’m really not interested in watching the high lottery players anyways since I already know so much about them; I just want to know their measurements.
The players I’m looking forward to are the players I haven’t seen much tape on. There are so many players who can jump into the first round off a good performance at the combine. Pascal Siakam is a good example of a player who was projected to go late second round, had an excellent performance at the combine, and was drafted 27th overall by the Raptors last year. The combine gives a good indication on how some players translate to pro-ball during the 5-on-5 drills. The measurements are a nice tool to see a player’s length and athleticism but the drills are where the coaches can see how skilled the prospects actually are.
After the combine is over I’m going to give a thorough breakdown on some players who helped their stock, hurt their stock and who should return to school. There are a few who just come to the combine so they can get a scouting report about their weaknesses and return to school to fix them. Justin Jackson from North Carolina is a perfect example from last year. Jackson might’ve been drafted late second round last year but since he came back and improved his shooting, defense, and handle, he potentially may be a lottery selection this year.
I’m going to go through a list of 5 players who I’m interested to see:
Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky, FR
Who? You got that right. Diallo enrolled at Kentucky this past January and was preparing to be a redshirt freshman for the 2017-2018 season. Since Diallo will be one year removed from his graduation he is eligible for the 2017 draft. He hasn’t hired an agent so the door of returning is open.
Diallo is 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan, super athletic, can’t shoot, solid finisher, strong hand dominant, a straight line driver and needs to work on his defensive fundamentals. Drafting Diallo will be based off the “upside” in him since he’s a long athlete who can play multiple positions that doesn’t have any tape to judge properly. It appears as if he’s going to skip the 5-on-5 drills and only do the measurements.
He is projected to go early second in most mock drafts. Some mock drafts are optimistic and have him going late first. Since we don’t have much tape on him it’s a shame he won’t take part in the 5-on-5 drills. Nevertheless, if his measurements come back strong, he could be a top 20 pick.
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana, SO
Before Anunoby hurt his knee in January and was out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL he was projected to be a lottery pick by most sites I saw. Now, after his recovery, he is slotted to go anywhere between 10 and 30. Scouts and GMs are going to want to know his medicals. If they come back clean then that’s the first step in the right direction.
Maybe the biggest anticipation of the draft is Anunoby’s wingspan. There is no record anywhere stating his wingspan but it is said to be rumored that Anunoby has a wingspan of 7’6. If he measures anywhere near that number and his knee comes back clean he could catapult back into the top 10.
Anunoby is known for his defense. He can switch onto almost any player, has a strong base and quick feet. His offensive game needs work. His handle is solid, his shot is inconsistent and his attack of the bounce game is rudimentary. Still, if he measures in at 6’8 with a 7’6 wingspan the Kawhi Leonard comparisons will be flying around all month long.
John Collins, PF/C, Wake Forest, SO
Collins was an offensive juggernaut for the demon deacons. His per 40 numbers are 28.8 ppg and 14.8 rpg, that’s amazing. He isn’t a post-up player but has some post moves. He really is more of a face up player that can take his man off the dribble and use his skill and athletic ability to maneuver around the rim. His mid-range jump shot should translate to the next level and in time he will learn to take a step back for three point spacing.
Yes, Collins had incredible production on the offensive end. But his measurements are a big issue. He has scrawny legs, a lean body, little strength, tiny hands and a short wingspan. The scouts will be keeping a close eye on his measurements. In today’s small-ball fast paced NBA Collins is more of a Center. He can play PF at times but that’s matchup dependent. So he needs to put on weight and pray his wingspan is better than his last recorded measurement at 6’10.
His defense was up and down all year. He has the ability to switch and could be a good pick-and-roll defender but when it comes to guarding in the post he doesn’t have much leverage. The number one thing I will be looking at are his measurements.
Terrance Ferguson, SG, Adelaide (Australia,) 19yr old
Ferguson took the Brandon Jennings route. He decommitted from Arizona and decided to play ball overseas for one year. The last time we saw him was at the NIKE Hoop Summit where he made seven threes and showed off his 3-and-D capabilities.
He measures in at 6’7 with a 6’9.5 wingspan, good athlete and good overall size. It’s always tough looking at the numbers of an 18 year old who plays overseas because the numbers aren’t very impressive. Australia has a pretty competitive basketball league with a bunch of 30-something professionals. So for Ferguson to get 15 minutes of playing time in the game is actually a good sign. His three point percentage was disappointing at 32% but from what I saw it looked like he turned himself into a more consistent defender and a better ball handler.
From the little game tape I saw of him he actually looked like he made good strides in becoming a good all around player. If he decides to play in the 5-on-5 drills the scouts and GMs will keep one eye fixated on him.
Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke, FR
Once upon a time Giles was a top three projected pick. After a couple of knee surgeries and an up and down freshmen year at Duke he has slide back into the end of the first round. I think we all know his upside; he’s 6’11 with a 7’3 wingspan, strong build and really athletic. He has a decent jump shot, plays perimeter defense laterally, rebounds well and has tremendous versatility.
The negatives, however, were that he never saw any action, was consistently in foul trouble, was consistently out of place on defense and was never healthy.
The medical records and the health of his knees are going to be a big factor. Teams are going to want to know everything about his health. His measurables and athletic ability should be on display. But if he can garner some trust about his health to GMs and play outstanding at the 5-on-5 drills then maybe he can creep back up into the late lottery.
As for now he’s a late first round prospect. Out of all the players in the combine he might have the most to gain.
There are so many other players that I’m looking forward to watch; Zach Collins, Nigel Hayes, Josh Hart, Wesley Iwundu….this is a pretty solid draft so the combine should be better than usual. Even the non-stars are so compelling to watch this year. I’ll try to breakdown as many players as possible but there are always a few standouts.