By Kevin Duffy
Oh man, did you see the 40 time Ted Ginn ran? How about Brady Quinn’s bench, what a freak! Maybe he’s too muscle-bound to be a quarterback. Yeah, he’s probably going to drop to #22 to the Cowboys but they will trade the pick to the Browns for a future-first round pick. That’s what I think is going to happen after glancing at these combine results.
That opening paragraph was indeed an excerpt from my NFL Draft preview a few months ago. It was one of many evalutions of the NFL Draft combine that could be found across the internet. The results of the NFL combine have a dramatic effect on player’s draft stock and recieve a ton ofattention in the media.
The NBA Draft combine, however, is somewhat of an afterthought. While basketball is not nearly as physical a sport as football, the combine results should not be ignored. Drills such as vertical leap, ¾ court sprint, and bench press all are very important in measuring a basketball player’s physical readiness for the NBA. Here is the list of the workout only prospects (plus with #1 being the most impressive workout and #18 being the least impressive from last weekend’s combine.
*Note: F Yi Jianlian did not participate in the combine.
1. Mike Conley 6-1 175 PG Ohio St. Fr.
What he did well: Conley was the fastest player as expected (3.09 in the ¾ court sprint), but I don’t think anyone anticipated him to turn such good results in the vertical leap and bench press. Conley recorded the second highest no-step vertical at 35.5’’ (USC G Nick Young was 1st with a mind-blowing 39.5’’) and tied for second in max vertical leap with 39.5’’. Conley also benched the standard 185 lbs an impressive 13 times.
What he struggled with: Not much. I guess his height might be an issue at the next level, but there isn’t much he can do about that.
2. Jason Smith 7-0 233 PF Colorado St. Jr.
What he did well: Smith is known for his skills as a big man, but flashed good athleticism at the combine. Smith ran the best lane agility time at 10.96 seconds, had a vertical of 37.5’’ and completed 15 bench reps.
What he struggled with: Smith aced all of the drills, but came in a little shorter than expected at 6’11.5’’ with a very short wingspan of 6’10.75’’. Nonetheless, Smith’s performance only helped his status for June 28th.
3. Thaddeus Young 6-7 210 SF GT Fr.
What he did well: Young flashed a 37’’ vertical with a 6’11’’ wingspan while benching a solid 13 reps. His sprint time of 3.19 seconds and his 11.06 second lane agility drill were near the top of the combine. His body is clearly ready for the NBA, but there is question about his maturity.
What he struggled with: This is really nitpicking, but at 210 lbs Young could stand to put on ten more pounds of muscle because most NBA SG’s and SF’s are going to be a little bigger than 210.
4. Nick Young 6-6 206 SG USC Jr.
What he did well: The latter of the two Young’s exploded in the no-step vertical, jumping 39.5’’, which was tops by 4’’ over second place Mike Conley. Everyone knew he was a long 67’’, but I don’t think anyone expected him to have a 7’0’’ wingspan. Young’s length and athleticism will give him a chance to be a special defender in the NBA.
What he struggled with: Young weighed in relatively light at 206 lbs and only did 6 bench reps. Clearly strength is going to be an issue at the next level.
5. Al Thornton 6-7 221 SF/PF Florida St. Sr.
What he did well: Thornton turned in a combine-best 41.5’’ vertical leap and displayed a freakish 7’1’’ wingspan while standing just 6’7’’. Thornton also weighed in at 221 lbs, showing he had gained weight since the end of the season. The added weight certainly didn’t slow him down, as Thornton ran a blistering 3.16 second sprint.
What he struggled with: Given how muscular and athletic Thornton is, it is surprising that he did only 9 bench reps. I would have expected him to come more in the 15 range.
6. Al Horford 6-10 244 PF Florida Jr.
What he did well: As expected, Horford was by far the strongest player at the combine, benching 185 lbs a staggering 20 times. He stood close to 6’10’’ and weighed a rock-solid 244 lbs. Horford also possessed a 35’’
vertical and a wingspan of over 7’0’’.
What he struggled with: His sprint time of 3.37 was average at best and his second to last lane agility of 12.15 raises some eyebrows. Despite those slow times, this workout showcased his strength, length, and athleticism and should only help his draft stock.
7. Jeff Green 6-9 228 SF Georgetown Jr.
What he did well: Green arguably has the most NBA-ready body of all potential draftees. He came in taller than expected at 6’9.5’’ and weighed a solid 228 lbs. Green man-handled the bench press, pushing out 17 reps. His 38’’ vertical was also near the top of the list.
What he struggled with: Green ran a solid 3.34 second sprint, but really struggled in the lane agility drill with a time of 12 seconds, the third worst score in camp. While he has the strength and leaping ability to excel in the NBA, Green may not have the speed to keep up with some SF’s.
8. Greg Oden 7-0 257 C Ohio St. Fr.
What he did well: Oden’s workout won’t affect his status either way, as he’s pretty much locked into the #1 spot. Oden didn’t have a great showing but he did impress scouts by running a 3.27 second sprint, the best time of the post players. He also exhibited an unreal 9’4’’ standing reach.
What he struggled with: Oden was listed at 280 lbs during the season, but weighed in at just 257. His vertical leap was an average 34.5’’. He didn’t perform the bench press due to concerns about his lingering wrist injury.
9. Corey Brewer 6-8 185 SF Florida Jr.
What he did well: Despite being malnourished in his three seasons at Florida, the 6’8’’ 185 lb Brewer pulled off a surprising 11 reps on the bench. His other scores, including a 36.5’’ vertical and 3.22 ¾ court sprint, were average.
What he struggled with: Bench is a good measure of strength, but when you weigh a feathery 185 lbs as Brewer does, you can bench all you want and you are still going to get pushed around by players who weigh 50 lbs more than you.
10. Javaris Crittenton 6-4 194 PG G.Tech Fr.
What he did well: Crittenton had a solid all-around showing, highlighted by a 38’’ vertical leap. He also showed good upper body strength by completing 11 bench reps while measuring close to 6’5’’ and weighing a solid 194 lbs.
What he struggled with: The Georgia Tech freshman’s ¾ court sprint of 3.32 was fairly slow compared to the other point guards, and out of all the physical assets a PG needs, speed is probably the most important. He also
didn’t sport the long arms that several other players did, as Crittenton had an average 6’5.5’’ wingspan.
11. Rodney Stuckey 6-5 207 SG E. Wash. So.
What he did well: The Eastern Washington sophomore is clearly ready for the league from a physical standpoint. He was second only to Mike Conley in the sprint with a time of 3.11 seconds and also managed 14 bench reps while coming in a little taller than expected at 6’4.5’’.
What he struggled with: Stuckey could stand to add weight to his 207-lb frame, and not that his vertical leap of 35’’ was bad, but it was unspectacular in comparison to some other guards.
12. Acie Law 6-3 186 PG Texas A&M Sr.
What he did well: Law ran extremely well at the combine, clocking in at 3.22 seconds in the sprint and 11 seconds in the lane agility drill, second best to Jason Smith. Law stood 6’3.5’’ but had a wingspan of 6’6.’’.
What he struggled with: Similar to (New Jersey’s) Marcus Williams last year, Law is a very talented PG prospect but has never been confused for an Olympic athlete. He turned in a fairly average bench press (8 reps) and vertical leap (34’’).
13. Joakim Noah 6-11 230 PF Florida Jr.
What he did well: Noah stood an even 7 feet tall and considering he only weighs 223 lbs, did very well by performing 12 bench reps. He also had a very impressive 37.5’’ vertical leap.
What he struggled with: Noah ran slow times of 3.47 seconds in the sprint and 11.79 in the lane agility. He also was very thin for a seven-footer. He’s not known for his offensive skills, and this workout suggests he may
not be physical enough to get the garbage points he did in college.
14.Kevin Durant 6-10 215 SF Texas Fr.
What he did well: Showing off his long arms (7’5’’ wingspan and 9’2’’ standing reach) was about the only positive Kevin Durant can take from this combine.
What he struggled with: Durant couldn’t muster ONE rep of 185 lbs. Despite being known for his athleticism, his vertical leap of 33’’ ousted only Josh McRoberts and Spencer Hawes. His speed and agility also were put into question when he turned in the fourth-worst sprint time (3.45) and the last place lane drill time (12.33). Lucky for Durant, basketball is played on the court, not in the weight room. As poor as he performed, it shouldn’t affect his draft status as the second overall pick.
15. Josh McRoberts 6-10 240 PF Duke So.
What he did well: McRoberts stood 6’10’’ 240 lbs with a 7’1’’ wingspan. He also completed 12 bench reps, about average for his size and position.
What he struggled with: The Duke product was known for his athleticism coming out of high school and during his college days, but a 31.5’’ vertical is hardly athletic. He didn’t run particularly well either, turning in a 3.47 second mark in the sprint. Overall, this workout probably hurt his stock more than it helped.
16. Spencer Hawes 7-0 244 C Wash. Fr.
What he did well: Hawes measured a hair away from 7’1’’ and 244 lbs. That’ about it.
What he struggled with: You know you hurt your stock when the assistant coaches running the combine have a higher vertical than you do. Hawes’ 29’’ vertical did not compare to the big men he was competing against. So even though he can’t jump, he’s really strong, right? Not quite. Hawes performed a disappointing 9 bench reps and compounded it by running the slowest sprint time (3.51) and one of the most pedestrian lane drills (11.88).
17 and 18. The Wright Brothers (Brandan Wright 6-10 200 PF UNC Fr. and Julian Wright 6-8 211 SF Kansas So.)
What they did well: Both Brandan and Julian Wright have phenomenal length. Brandan had a 7’4’’ wingspan, while Julian’s measured at 7’2’’. Both players exhibited pretty good speed, as Brandan ran a 3.31 second sprint, closely followed by a 3.36 performance from Julian.
What they struggled with: Brandan, Julian…this is a weightroom. Here, you put weights on bars and lift it up and down until you can’t do it anymore. After you are done doing that, you go back to the cafeteria and you eat this food group called protein. It will help you, trust me. Both Wright’s performed a disgraceful 2 reps on the bench. Brandan (6’10’’ 200 lbs) and Julian (6’8.5’’ 211 lbs) won’t be able to get to the rim as easily as they did in college, and neither player has a reliable enough jumpshot to consistently score from outside the paint. As athletic as they are hyped up to be, their vertical leaps (Brandan 35.5, Julian 33.5) were less than impressive. (Some of their athleticism is obviously attributed to their length, which is also true of Durant). Their lack of strength and bulk might hurt their draft status, especially if Yi Jianlian proves to be stronger and more athletic. As far as I’m concerned, both players fell behind Al Horford in the race for the 3rd pick. (and no they aren’t really brothers).