The 2015 combine kicked off this week in Chicago, and as is the trend of the past few years, a handful of the top prospects turned down the opportunity to showcase their skills and measure up amongst a group of their peers. Still, this year’s draft class measured in really favorably, and as a whole, more players were probably helped than hurt in terms of measurements. My winners list could easily include a number of additional players, but here are the highlights.
Myles Turner (Texas) – The Longhorn’s one and done prospect, Myles Turner, sized up really well for a PF/C combo in the NBA. Standing 6’11.5’’ in shoes, he was the 5th tallest player in Chicago, and his 9’4’’ standing reach was only an inch shy of the top spot. Round that out with a 7’4’’ wingspan, a solid 238 pounds, a sub 10% body fat, and Turner would be an intriguing prospect if he didn’t have a soft shooting touch, and an expanding offensive game. With a solid showing in the drills, and athletic testing, Myles’ upside alone could be enough for a few teams to reach for an opportunity to develop him.
Kelly Oubre (Kansas) – If you’ve actually seen Kelly Oubre, it’s not a surprise he came out a winner during the measurements portion of the NBA combine. When looking at an NBA shooting guard it doesn’t get much better from an all around standpoint. Oubre stood 6’6.75’’ tall in shoes, confirmed his plus 7’ wingspan mark with a 7’2.5’’ measurement, and was credited with an 8’6.5’’ standing reach to go with a lean, muscular 202 pound frame with only 5.7% body fat. Kelly is likely to add to more eye test confirmations as the athletic drills and testing kicks off later in the week.
Norman Powell (UCLA) – The senior track athlete type is known for being undersized, and his 6’3′ barefoot height would suggest that, but when you factor in his near 7 foot wingspan (6’10.75) and monsterous standing reach (8’6.5"), which happens to be the same as Kelly Oubre, (a player who checked in at 6′ 6.75′ in shows with a 7′ 2.25” wingspan), he can no longer be consdered undersized for the shooter guard position. Powell is sure to impress with his BAM testing athleticism numbers as he did in August registering a 40 inch vertical.
Robert Upshaw (Washington) – After a tumultuous year, in which Upshaw left the Huskies mid-season, he showcased absolutely elite measurements this week at the combine. With his last stop being at the University of Washington, Upshaw did his best redwood impression and stood 7’ tall in shoes, measured a 7’5.5’’ wingspan, and his standing reach of 9’5’’ was the tallest of any player in attendance. Robert’s off court issues will still come into play, but from a size and skill standpoint, he screams NBA rim protector. His numbers are elite, but his interviews might be the most important part of this weeks’ festivities.
Christian Wood (UNLV) – Rounding out this year’s class of freakishly long big men is Christian Wood. Still thin (216lbs), and a guy with a perimeter label, Wood stood 6’10.5’’ in shoes, and his 7’3.5’’ wingspan helped him reach 9’3.5’’ from a standing position. All elite measurements for an NBA power forward. Christian’s 14.7% body fat was on the high end, but it’s a lot easier for a player to shed some extra pounds in training camp than it is for him to grow a couple off season inches.
RJ Hunter (Georgia State) – Sun Belt star, R.J. Hunter not only affirmed his reputation as a lanky player, but surprised a lot of people with a very impressive 8’8’’ standing reach. Standing 6’6’’ in sneakers, and possessing a 6’10.5’’ wingspan, Hunter’s on paper numbers early in the week look really good for a shooting guard. His 185 pound weight will be something he’ll need to continue to work on over time, but there’s not a lotof NBA two guards that have a standing reach as high as R.J.
Michael Qualls (Arkansas) – This year’s winner of the Kawhi Leonard Award ( A wing with enormous hands ) Michael Qualls’ 10.25’’ hand width is going to get some attention as well as other great numbers that were recorded this week. Qualls sported an 8’8.5’’ standing reach, despite being just 6’5’’ tall, and his 7’.25’’ wingspan is another great measurement for his position. Michael is most likely a player in the mix in the 2nd round, but teams’ may be a little more excited about developing him as a defender now that they have a closer look at the quality of his physical length.
Rakeem Christmas (Syracuse) – The breakout Syracuse senior is developing a reliable mid-range jumper, and the reputation as an athlete, but the former Orangeman made his case that he is indeed big enough to play the role of a PF/C in the NBA. Christmas was just short of Upshaw with a massive 7’5.25′ wingspan, while being 2’5" inches shorter in height at 6’8.25′ barefoot. His 9’2.5’’ standing reach is a number that should pique teams interest when considering his ability to protect the rim. Throw in a sturdy, 242 pound frame, and one can only think Christmas’s combine week is off to a promising start.
Sam Dekker (Wisconsin): After a terrific run in March, Sam Dekker measured in very well for an NBA small forward this week in Chicago. At 6’9’’ in shoes, with a 6’11.5’’wingspan and possessing a standing reach of 8’10’’, Dekker even has the size to play some minutes at the 4 spot. Ultimately his jump shot, and floor game will determine how high Sam will get picked, but he really is as big as advertised.
George de Paula (Brazil): Seeing him at the Hoop Summit, it remains uncertain as to whether he is necessarily a PG at the NBA level, as he has been advertised. What is absolutely certain is that he does possess some guard skills along with incredible physical attributes. He measured at 6’4.5", with an insane 7’0" wingspan and an even more absurd 8’8" standing reach. His hands are also massive and really help him keep control of the ball. Given his physical profile and age, he seems like he will be tough to pass up in the 2nd round.
Ryan Boatright (UConn): Gutsy combo guard, Ryan Boatright ended up being the smallest player in this year’s class, and even shorter than they guy known for being short (Keifer Skyes). At just 5’11’’ in shoes, his 169 pound frame gives up a lot of weight to your average NBA point guard. Add in the fact that Ryan is a combo, and these measurements certainly aren’t working in his favor. Boatright has plenty in terms of heart, ball handling, and scoring to help himself throughout the week, but I’m doubting any stock was gained after his lack luster size confirmation surfaced.
JP Tokoto (North Carolina): Tokoto’s standing reach will probably be ancient history when he destroys vertical leap and agility tests in a couple days, but for a player projecting to be a defender who can hopefully check shooting guards, and small forwrads, J.P’s 8’4.5’’ standing reach is rather short for a guy who’s a shade over 6’6’’ in sneakers. Same goes for his 8’’ hand length by 8’75’’ hand width, which is another popular measurement when looking at NBA defenders. Tokoto’s lost momentum is minimal, but these numbers certainly didn’t do anything to help his cause.
Chris McCullough (Syracuse): His 7’3.25" wingspan and 9’1" standing reach are both excellent numbers for a PF. The number that really stood out was his weighing in at a very slight 199 lbs. It does sort of bring to mind Nerlens Noel measuring in at 206 lbs after suffering a similar ACL tear, with Nerlens coming back from the injury and doing work on his body. Even so, McCullough will need to be on a program and he will need to gain some definite girth before playing meaningful NBA minutes. He should be able to add weight down the line, it just might be even more of a gradual process than was once believed.
Pat Connaughton‘s 8’0" standing reach appears to be an error. Players such as Jerian Grant and Olivier Hanlan with similar height and length had standing reaches in the 8’4" neighborhood. His 44 inch vertical is off the charts, and further adds skepticism about the 8’0’ standing reach. Most likely there was an error made in logging his standing reach and it’s in the 8’4" – 8’6" range and his vertical is between 38 and 40.
Cliff Alexander’s 7’3.5’’ wingspan, and 9’1.5’’ standing reach are nice signs for his translation to the NBA power forward position. His hands were also rather big, at 9.5" in length and 10.25" in length.
Frank Kaminsky is the tallest player in this year’s combine and stands 7’0.75’’ in shoes.
Kevon Looney’s 7’3.5’’ wingspan is 7.5’’ longer than his barefoot height of 6’8’’. His 9’2" standing reach is also a number that really stands out given the versatility he can potentially bring as a stretch 4.
D'Angelo Russell also measured in great for his position. His 6’9.75’’ wingspan and 8’6’’ standing reach are amazing numbers for a player who’s likely to play most of his minutes at the point guard spot.
Jonathan Holmes has been known as an undersized power forward for years, but is actually 6’9.25’’ in shoes, sports a 6’11.5’’ wingspan, a 8’11.5’’ standing reach, and weighs in at 242 pounds with only 7.2% body fat. Really, he’s not undersized at all, especially since he can shoot.
It’s a good thing defense isn’t played with the top of your head because Stanley Johnson only stands 6’5’’ tall barefoot. He didn’t make my losers list because of a great 6’11.5’’wingspan, a solid 8’6’’ standing reach, and an iron clad 242 pound frame that only sports 7.5% body fat.
This year’s Terry Crews award winner (Lowest Body Fat%) goes to the guy that also won the Kawhi Leonard Award this year. Michael Qualls’ 4.0% body fat beat out both JP Tokoto, and Joseph Young’s 4.1% reading.