NBA Draft Combine Day 1
There's not much you can get out of the combine, except a sense. Each position runs for about 45 minutes through numerous drills testing various skills. What you can see is comfortability. You can see how comfortable Damian Lillard is shooting off the dribble. You can see how uncomfortable Perry Jones looks defending the post one on one, in small sample size of course.
Many of the top players decided to skip day 1 this year, including Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-GIlchrist, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters and Arnett Moultrie. Here's what I observed from those who were there.
Point Guards Notes
- Damian Lillard stood out, even in simple drills. Physically he's compact and toned. He rarely missed in the mid-range shooting drill, where he runs back and forth to point A and B, catching and shooting. His three-point stroke is accurate and effortless, and he looked completely comfortable from NBA range.
- Kendall Marshall didn't look comfortable shooting NBA threes, which seem to be a bit out of his range at the moment. He gets little elevation, and his shot looks to involve too much upper body. Still, this shouldn't hurt his stock, as his strengths can't be seen at an event like this. I still like Marshall as a lottery pick. You just can't teach instincts, vision and decision-making. You can teach shooting.
- Interested to see Jared Cunningham ran with the point guards. Can't see that working out. He did take 7.5 free throws a game, so he can get to the rack with the ball in his hands.
- Marquis Teague was knocking down his midrange jumpers
- Tony Wroten could not make a three-pointer. In the three-point shooting drill, which is 5 catch and shoots from the two corners, wings and the top, he just couldn't get going. Jay Williams dropped a great stat, which said Wroten shot 3-24 in spotup opportunities as a freshman. Not a promising statistic, considering it's likely he'll be asked to play the 2 at times.
Shooting Guard Notes
Darius Johnson Odom ran with the 2s. Though undersized, he passes the eye-test. Broad shoulders, cut frame and sense of maturity. Such a rugged guard, I wouldn't be surprised to hear his name on draft night.
Kim English had a moment that you could see translating: Playing the wing on the 3 on 2, 2 on 1 drill, he occupied the corner which spread the floor, knocked down a three-ball off the drive and dish, got back and disrupted the 2 on 1 the other way. He shot well throughout the day in shooting drills. Looks automatic when open, spotting up.
John Jenkins was also lights out during the three-point drill. His best moment was in an isolation on the wing, where he took Orlando Johnson off the dribble, pulled back, knocked his defender off balance and nail a midrange jumper.
William Buford looked uncomfortable operating one on one. Didn't look fluid, and shots were easily contested.
Small Forward Notes
Quincy Miller shot poorly spotting up from 3, but looked much more comfortable and accurate in the midrange. Like most small forward prospects, he needs to add some bulk.
Will Barton ran with the small forwards. More likely he's a two-guard.
Jeffery Taylor was money running to the spot, catching and shooting. I really don't think his 42% three-point shooting this year was a fluke- his outside stroke looks confident and natural. The Thabo Sefolosha comparison could be my new favorite.
Jae Crowder looked comfortable and in rhythm shooting from every spot inside the arc. He moves like a small forward, plays like a power forward, but has the size of a shooting guard. He measured 6'3.5 in socks in Portsmouth. If there's a coach out there who hates details and just loves good basketball players, that will be Crowder's best shot at reaching the next level.
Power Forwards Notes
This group ran a great drill that tested lateral movement defending the perimeter, face-up offense, post defense and post offense. The group was Perry Jones, Andrew Nicholson, Royce White (surprising) , Draymond Green (definitely surprising) , Mike Scott, JaMychal Green and Terrence Jones.
Andrew Nicholson showed off his stretch-potential, knocking down a three over a defender who had to play off in order to protect from getting burned.
Perry Jones struggled to get his shot off in the post over Terrence Jones, and then got burned by Royce White spinning baseline for a layup. It's safe to say Perry Jones looked uncomfortable in the post.
Terrence Jones stood out, showing aggression defending the post, a more polished back to the basket game and confident/soft midrange jumper. Earlier in the day he caught a pass on the baseline and exploded at the rim for a dunk over his defender.
Royce White looked uncomfortable shooting when squared up to the basket, but was slippery with the back to the rim and used his weight to defend the post. White's one of those guys whose strengths are hidden in this environment. His interview with Andy Katz was impressive however, showing incredible maturity and articulation. While many think the interview process could be a hurdle for White, I think it actually improves the overall perception of him.
JaMychal Green struggled in the one-dribble pullup drill, not surprisingly.
Centers Notes (Session got cut short)
Arnett Moultrie never showed, but was listed with centers, which seems off. His mobility should allow him to play baseline to three-point line, making him a 4. I thought not showing was a really poor decision. He would have stood out athletically, especially in the center group that lacked his particular skill-set.
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