As is common during the past few seasons, many of the top prospects chose to skip the NBA combine, and this year is no different. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are both absent in the list of players that were officially measured, (we have included their measurements from events within the past year) but quite a few players vying for a spot in the 1st round came in and at least participated in the measurements sections. Here are a few winners and losers for the 2016 combine.
Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) – For a player with an undersized shooting guard label, and top 5 potential, any indication of a larger stature is a nice boost to one’s overall scouting package. Super senior, Buddy Hield, measured a 6’9.25’’ wingspan which is nearly an inch longer than his earlier recordings, as was his 6’3.75’’ barefoot measurement which gives him a 6’5’’ height in shoes and an 8’5’’ standing reach. While his size isn’t eye popping, he’s actually bigger than he’s been measured in the past, and possesses some pretty darn solid overall measurements.
Pascal Siakam (New Mexico State) – Siakam measured in with an enormous 7’3 wingspan on a 6’8.25 barefoot frame, which is the same wingspan as Thon Maker who is 3.5 inches taller than him. Siakam is an early entrant who is still deciding whether to keep his name in the draft. He plays with a high motor, and while playing at New Mexico State has made it tougher to garner publicity, his huge 7’3 wingspan, and 8’11.5" standing reach along with being an active and athletic PF, deserves a lot of recognition.
Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt) – One of the biggest standouts during the anthropometric testing had to be Vanderbilt’s sophomore guard, Wade Baldwin IV. After an improved second year in the SEC, Baldwin decided to throw his name in that hat, and his measurements made him an early standout. At 6’4’’ in shoes, Wade measured a massive 6’11.25’’ wingspan, which also helped him achieve an 8’4’’ standing reach. At the point guard position, these stats are absolutely excellent. Baldwin’s range is pretty wide at this point with potential looks in the late first round, but also a real possibility to drop past 30. While his play may have been inconsistent, his measurements speak for themself.
Malachi Richardson (Syracuse) – A Final Four run, and an impressive freshman season was enough for Malachi Richardson to test the draft waters, although he’s yet to sign with an agent. A recorded 7’ wingspan and an 8’5.5’’ standing reach might make his decision a little bit more complex, as he has very good size for a NBA wing. Richardson also wins my annual Kawhi Leonard award with a 10’’ hand width. While he’s still on the fence as to whether he’ll stay in the draft, his week in Chicago may have him closer to the promise he’s likely looking to lock down to finalize his decision.
Cheick Diallo (Kansas) Diallo measured 6’7.5’’ barefoot, but made up for it with a ridiculous 7’4.5’’ wingspan, and an 8’11.5’’ standing reach. His wingpan is second only to Zhou Qi in this year’s class, and his stand reach is better than many of the centers measured (Damian Jones 7’3" wingspan and 8’11 standing reach for instance). His 5.6% body fat is also very good for a bigman.
Thon Maker (Athlete Institute HS) – One of the biggest enigma’s in the entire draft class, also measured out to be one of the biggest players in this year’s combine field. At 7’.75’’ in shoes, and sporting a 7’3’’ wingspan, Thon’s 9’2.5’’ standing reach trailed only Chinese big man Zhou Qi. He’s still quite thin (216 pounds) but his physical measurements were certainly no fluke. While his position and NBA role is still a bit of a question, he has tremendous size for a player with his shooting touch.
Marcus Lee (Kentucky) – After three years at Kentucky, and another stacked recruiting class headed to Lexington, Marcus Lee, despite a moderate role, opted to enter the 2016 draft. He was already known as a high riser with great mobility and speed for a big man, but many worried he was shorter than advertised. Lee stacked up a full 1 inch taller barefoot than he did in Cal’s combine, and confirmed a very impressive 7’3’’ wingspan and 8’11.5’’ standing reach. Marcus’ offensive skillet is still pretty remedial, but now that he has legit NBA power forward size, he might look like a more intriguing project than he did prior to this week. Similar to Brice Johnson, his length is diminished by his poor 211 lb weight measurement.
Melo Trimble (Maryland) – Point guard Melo Trimble is a talented scorer, and a player who looks like he could fill it up off the bench on an NBA roster, but the former Terrapin measured out pretty small for a player not known as a pure point. His 6’2’’ wingspan is just .75’’ longer than his height without shoes, and his 7’8.5’’ standing reach only beat out sub 6 footers Tyler Ulis and Kay Felder.
Malik Newman (Mississippi State) – At 6’3.5’’ in shoes and sporting a 6’5.75’’ wingspan, Malik Newman’s measurements didn’t do a lot to help his cause as an NBA combo guard. His 8’1.5’’ standing reach will make it extremely difficult to guard NBA shooting guards, and although he’s a nice one on one player offensively, bigger next level guards could cause him problems, especially due to his slight 182 pound frame.
Isaiah Miles (St. Joseph’s) – St. Joe’s forward Isaiah Miles needed to measure out pretty well to circulate some buzz in Chicago, but his anthropomorphic numbers for an NBA four man are pretty below average. He stands just 6’7.75’’ in shoes, and only weighs in at 219 pounds despite having nearly 10% body fat. Miles’ wingspan is a solid 6’10.5’’ but he remains a tweener without great length or a trademark skill.
Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) While some may have Ulis on the list of winners due to measuring slightly taller and longer than expected, the fact that he only weighed in at 149 pounds is a tough blow. His wingspan was solid for his height (6’2’’), but he’d even give up 25 pounds to Will Barton. His 7’4.5 standing reach is the same as Oakland PG Kay Felder, and a full foot shorter than "undersized" shooting guard Buddy Hield.
Brice Johnson was both a winner and loser. His height was better than expected as he’s a legit 6’10, measuring in at 6’9 even, barefoot. His 7’0.5 wingspan and 8’10.5" standing reach are also excellent. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to focus much attention in raising his weight closer to the generally acceptable 220-230 lb range. At 208.6 lbs, he’s going to struggle to handle contact in the post and as a senior there’s skepticism whether he can add substantial weight.
He’s not in the winners column because anyone aware of him for the past few years has known of his immense size, but Chinese big man Zhou Qi measured an elite 7’7.75’’ wingspan, and the highest standing reach in this year’s class (9’4.5’’). The main issue with him, and the reason the NBA is no longer littered with 7’2 and above guys, the game has gone to speed and most players this size simply cannot react to plays, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.
Ben Bentil (Providence) – Bentil was just 6’7.25 barefoot, making him a 6’8 power forward which is below the standard 6’9 size. Fortunately he does have excellent length with a 7’1.5" wingspan and a 8’9" standing reach, meaning that he’s really about standard size for a power forward.
This year’s Terry Crews award winner (Lowest Body Fat%) goes to Gary Payton II who measured in at a shredded 3.95% body fat.
Patrick McCaw: The good: 4.7% body fat and a 6’10 wingspan on a legit 6’6" frame. The bad: 180 lbs, which was expected. He needs to add some strength to his frail body.
Kyle Wiltjer apparently needs to cut down on the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 15.25% body fat is not where it needs to be.
Nigel Hayes: The (very) good, he has a 7’3 wingspan. The bad, (small hands and lack of height). 8.50 hands are the same as many guards. And 6’6.25 barefoot is not adequate for a power forward with limited hops.
Dorian Finney-Smith‘s standing reach (8’3.5") appears to be a clerical error. Last year Pat Connaughton’s vertical was enhanced by 4 inches (44 inches) due to his standing reach being 4 inches short. This year Finney-Smith is likely to record one of the best verticals as it appears his standing reach is off by 4-6 inches.