The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago took place from May 16-20, with many players taking part in the athleticism testing. With many players with lottery aspirations once again did not participate, this was a chance for players to confirm what they bring to the table during a game in terms of running, jumping, lateral quickness and reaction. The anthropomorphic measurements and interviews were also crucial factors of the Combine, but here were the players who either had a positive showing or raised some possible question marks regarding their athleticism.
Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech: 33” standing vert, 42” max vert, 11.08 lane agility, 3.04 ¾ court sprint, 3.03 reaction shuttle
After having a big freshman year that saw him also make the cut for the USA’s U19 bronze medal winning team this past summer, Okogie showed what he had to offer in terms of run and jump athleticism after showing improvement as a sophomore. His vertical numbers were near the top of the combine, while he also posted the top sprint at this year’s combine. He hit 12’0” in max vert reach, showing some of what allowed him to post impressive block percentages as a 6’4” wing.
Okogie was expected to do a lot on a Georgia Tech team that had a rough season, though his ability to get to the line and his potential as a shooter both showed progress. His versatility as a defender is something that should be valued, as he also showed some potential as a shooter this season with improved FT% (74.7% to 82.1%) while shooting 38% 3PT on increased volume (right around the mark he shot as a freshman). With the energy he brings to the table, combined with his top notch athleticism results, that should make him a player that teams at the end of the 1st round and esrly second round invest some time into.
Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova: 34.5” standing vert, 42” max vert, 10.72 lane agility, 3.11 ¾ court sprint, 3.11 reaction shuttle
The star of Villanova’s championship game, one of his plays that will be best remembered was a super athletic block at the rim on Michigan’s Charles Matthews. While the play was spectacular, DiVincenzo had done similar things during the season and his testing well here was not surprising. Although one might doubt that the near 6’5” DiVincenzo has the 8’1.5” standing reach that he recorded at the Combine, even if you took away 1.5”-2.5”(which may have been chopped from his standing reach), he still posted excellent vertical numbers. DiVincenzo greatly improved his efficiency this year and the combine likely maintained his stock, which has him in the second half of the 1st round.
Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech: 33” standing vert, 41.5” max vert, 11.02 lane agility, 3.05 ¾ court sprint, 3.15 reaction shuttle
Smith must not have gotten in front of the right eyes during his high school days to get the ranking he deserved, but his run and jump athleticism is completely evident once you watch him make plays above the rim and defend the perimeter. It was no surprise that he tested great in Chicago, as Smith gets off the floor so quickly and averaged over a steal and block per game. Smith played a crucial role in Texas Tech’s trip to the Elite 8, and while he measured slightly smaller than one might have thought, his explosiveness helps him play bigger.
Melvin Frazier, Tulane: 31” standing vert, 40.5” max vert, 11.24 lane agility, 3.08 ¾ court sprint, 3.07 reaction shuttle
Frazier cleared the Vertec and measured a 12’1.5” max vert reach, highest at this years combine. With a wingspan 9.25” greater than his height and a great 8’9” standing reach for a wing, Frazier also showed nice straight line quickness and reaction time. Frazier has shown an ability to get steals and improved greatly as a passer as well. He improved a lot finishing around the basket this year as well and his combine numbers were definitely positive in terms of his potential draft position.
Anfernee Simons, IMG Academy: 32” standing vert, 41.5” max vert, 11.30 lane agility, 3.10 ¾ court sprint, 3.16 reaction shuttle
Seen as one of the better shooters and scorers in the high school class of 2018, Simons still will have an air of mystery in that he never made it onto a college campus or played professionally. But, he showed that his time at IMG paid off big time in his combine testing numbers, with big jump and run scores. His lane agility may have some room for improvement, but he showed pop both from a stand still and running start in terms of his leap. He has shown craftiness in his game and measured with legitimate NBA numbers in athleticism testing.
Kevin Huerter, Maryland: 31” standing vert, 38” max vert, 10.89 lane agility, 3.09 ¾ court sprint, 2.96 reaction shuttle
Seen as one of the better shooting specialists in the draft, Huerter also has some bounce to him as well, finishing well around the hoop and in transition during his time in college. He has been adept at finishing off screens and shows some potential as a defender as well. It looks like Huerter had enough impact during the scrimmages, shooting drills and athleticism testing to keep his name in the draft. Showing potential as a coveted “3&D” wing might have moved him into the 1st round.
Lonnie Walker, Miami: 31.5” standing vert, 40” max vert, 10.87 lane agility, 3.06 ¾ court sprint, 2.87 reaction shuttle
Walker’s quick first step and ball handling are major parts of his upside, with his results showing why he is considered a likely mid-first round pick after a somewhat inconsistent freshman year. While many see the upside of Walker potentially being able to stretch the floor, defend the wing and possibly create off of the bounce, his athleticism testing gives the idea that this may be a possibility regarding his long term role. Coming off of knee surgery that he underwent last July, Walker certainly seems to be back athletically and his numbers were right in line with expectations.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova: 29” standing vert, 37” max vert, 10.59 lane agility, 3.15 ¾ court sprint, 3.10 reaction shuttle
There were certainly players that had more gaudy athleticism testing numbers, but it seemed the stigma of Brunson being slow and un-athletic does not necessarily add up. While finishing above the rim is never going to be part of his game, he showed adequate straight line speed, enough pop not to be too worried about his leaping ability and garnered a strong lane agility time. The lane agility score in particular eases some concern over lateral quickness. With Brunson having a great change of speed and court sense, his numbers could ease some concerns on how he will adjust to the speed of the NBA game. So, not one of the better athletes in this draft, though his numbers at least seem to support the cause that the consensus NCAA Player of the Year has a future in the league.
George King, Colorado: 31” standing vert, 39” max vert, 10.75 lane agility, 3.29 ¾ court sprint, 3.08 reaction shuttle
One of the stars of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April, King has been a productive stretch 4 during his time at Colorado. His athleticism numbers seem to show why he was sometimes a difficult match-up for bigger players, as he moves quite well and has some definite pop from a standstill or running start. He is still on the fringe of being drafted, though these results will definitely get him a summer camp invite and were likely one of the reasons he was given a combine invitation.
Grayson Allen, Duke: 32.5” standing vert, 40.5” max vert, 10.31 lane agility, 3.15 ¾ court sprint, 3.04 reaction shuttle
As much as one may find it a tad dubious that Allen has the same standing reach as Aaron Holiday, even if you took a few inches away from his vertical, his numbers are still impressive. Athleticism has always been something that made Allen a likely NBA selection even after playing a back-up role on Duke’s 2015 NCAA Championship team. His lane agility was the best at the combine by .12 milliseconds and he showed good reaction time, solid straight-line speed as well. This certainly does not do much to answer why he at times seems to give up paths to the rim on defense, but it certainly shows what was already known, he is not lacking in terms of athleticism.
Trevon Duval, Duke: 34” standing vert, 41.5” max vert, 10.93 lane agility, 3.18 ¾ court sprint, 3.08 reaction shuttle
Duval has ability to take it to the paint and at times put down some authoritative above the rim finishes during his lone year at Duke. Posting one of the highest standing and max verts at the combine this year, Duval put on display why many had him rated among the top incoming point guards in college basketball this past season. Shaky shooting and decision-making have led to some apprehension regarding his future as a lead guard, but he showed here that he has a really strong athletic profile. Not sure this quells the concerns regarding some of the other aspects of his game, though going through the drills was a must for him and he got the results he was hoping for.
Aaron Holiday, UCLA: 25.5” standing vert, 33” max vert, 10.96 lane agility, 3.22 ¾ court sprint, 3.27 reaction shuttle
Holiday has shown some real quickness at times with the ball in his hands, and can be quite a pesky defender as well. Even so, these combine numbers definitely were disappointing, as he measured with the shortest standing vert reach at 10’2.5” and also disappointed in terms of straight line and reaction time. It certainly does not do much to help his stock falling behind the PG’s he is competing in the draft with in a majority of categories. Seen as a possible 1st round pick after making a valuable contribution to UCLA since stepping on campus, Holiday’s case was definitely not helped in Chicago.
Tony Carr, Penn State: 25” standing vert, 31.5” max vert, 11.89 lane agility, 3.17 ¾ court sprint, 3.39 reaction shuttle
Carr has good size for a point guard, with even the possibility to slide to the 2 in the right situation. He is known for his shooting, the one big concern with him is that he finished below 40% in his 2P% during both seasons at Penn State. The athleticism testing showed us why, with his lack of explosiveness making it difficult for him to finish around the hoop. His production this season and ball handling ability at his size still make him a possible draftee, though his athleticism testing shows some of the apprehension surrounding his transition to the NBA.
Alize Johnson, Missouri State: 25” standing vert, 31” max vert, 11.83 lane agility, 3.38 ¾ court sprint, 3.27 reaction shuttle
Johnson has been known for his rebounding during his two-years at Missouri State, which has been known as a translatable skill moving forward. He also showed some ability to play to an up-tempo speed, standing out among the college players at adidas Nations this past summer and in the two combine scrimmages he took part in. The thing is, he definitely seem to lack ideal positional size and has shown fairly limited offensive upside, as he really struggled shooting as a senior. These numbers definitely do not help his case, though his play in scrimmages and moving forward in workouts will show whether teams are willing to write his athleticism testing off.
Devon Hall, Virginia: 25” standing vert, 31” max vert, 10.95 lane agility, 3.27 ¾ court sprint, 3.15 reaction shuttle
Hall was a leader for a Virginia team that dominated a strong ACC conference, where he garnered 2nd Team All-ACC honors and went on to have a very strong Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. While he shows more than adequate size for a 2-guard with some playmaking ability, his vertical scores were both quite low and he does not have blazing straight-line speed either. His leadership, defense and shooting were all big positives for a team that did garner the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, though these athleticism numbers failed to set Hall apart from his draft competition.
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas: 31” standing vert, 31.5” max vert, 12.97 lane agility, 3.49 ¾ court sprint, 3.65 reaction shuttle
There is absolutely no doubt that Azubuike is a massive human being and his explosiveness from a stand still has helped him as a terror around the hoop on offense. He actually had the highest measured standing vert reach at 11’11.5”, 4 inches higher than 2nd place finisher Kostas Antentokounmpo. While his leaping ability at his size and strength is impressive, there are a number of red flags in terms of just how he fits in the modern NBA defensively. We saw against Michigan that he struggled in space, and Azubuike managed to finish last in every running, agility drill at the combine. It seems to take his mind time to process just how to move his body and with the speed the game is played at now, one has to wonder if Azubuike fits into the equation. He could possibly be someone who gets some situational spot minutes, but it looks like it might be difficult to justify him being more than an occasional back-up.
Jontay Porter, Missouri: 25.5” standing vert, 31” max vert, 11.90 lane agility, 3.40 ¾ court sprint, 3.06 reaction shuttle
With center size and good instincts as a post defender, Porter also brings shooting and vision to the equation to give him promise in terms of what many teams want from the center position. While his reaction time was quite high here, everything else kind of stood out as to why teams might be a tad apprehensive in his translation to the NBA. Will he be able to defend in space? Will his lack of pop make it difficult for him to finish close to the basket? These were concerns surrounding Jontay as a prospect and were magnified by his combine results. As the youngest NCAA player in the draft, Porter still can work on his body and possibly improve in many of these areas. His lack of athleticism still might be a reason he could possibly slip to the late 1st round, even with rumors of his being a probable mid-first selection.
- It seemed there were some discrepancies once again over past standing reach measurements and the combine measurements. Rawle Alkins was measured at 8’3” last year as well, though I have two other separate measurements that place him at 8’5.5”, which would make more sense given his height and wingspan. Allonzo Trier and Trevon Duval both have past measurements as well that likely take some inches from there vertical. While these numbers are nonetheless impressive, it would be a bit more interesting if we compared players by vert reach (the highest point one can touch) rather than by vertical.
- In terms of vertical reach, Kostas Antentokounmpo finished 2nd in both standing (11’7.5”) and max (12’1”) vert reach. One thing that probably separates him greatly from Giannis in terms of upside are his reaction times and lateral movement, as he was near the bottom of the movement drills.
- Hamidou Diallo still can fly, and displayed so once again in the athleticism testing. But, his standing vertical went from 34.5” in 2017 to 32.5” this year, while his max vertical went from 44.5” to 40.5”. He measured with an 8’7” standing reach, up an inch and a half from the year previous, though that does not account for all of his leaping losses. Athleticism is definitely not an issue for Diallo as much as shooting, ball handling and decision-making. Still, even with his numbers down from last year, he once again was a standout.
- He was not the most efficient scorer this year for Syracuse, but Tyus Battle had solid size and athleticism numbers by combine standards. He had the 2nd fastest reaction shuttle and 4th fastest ¾ court sprint times, measuring near the top in terms of guards vert reach. Battle struggled in his first scrimmage game, but had a much better second game, albeit in a blowout loss. He will have a big decision for next year, where he can show that he can apply his tools into greater efficiency.
- If you are looking for near average wings in terms of jump athleticism, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin fit the bill. Where they both excelled was in the movement portion. Caleb posted the fastest reaction shuttle with a time of 2.75 and finished 2nd in lane agility at 10.43. Cody outran his brother in ¾ court sprint 3.09 to 3.26, running a very solid 3.05 reaction shuttle and 10.64 lane agility. They both struggled in the scrimmages, though they had a nice showing in testing.
- The Vertec is the device used to measure the point a player touches on their vertical leaps. It typically goes up to 12’0” and during the combine, there are some players that clear it. Last year, 7 players made the “clear the Vertec Club” of getting beyond the 12-foot mark on their max vert reach: Devin Robinson, Bam Adebayo, Hamidou Diallo, Cam Oliver, Jonathan Jeanne, Thomas Bryant and Jarrett Allen. This year, only 3 joined the club, as Melvin Frazier, Kostas Antentokounmpo and Austin Wiley required a raise of the Vertec.
Top 5 Standing Vert
Top 5 Max Vert
1.Josh Okogie, Donte DiVincenzo: 42”
2.Zhaire Smith, Anfernee Simons, Trevon Duval: 41.5”
3.Grayson Allen, Hamidou Diallo, Rawle Alkins, Melvin Frazier: 40.5”
4.Allonzo Trier, Lonnie Walker: 40”
5.Jaylen Hands, Landry Shamet, Landry Shamet: 39.5”
Top 5 Max Vert Reach
1.Melvin Frazier: 12’1.5”
2.Kostas Antentokounmpo: 12’1”
3.Austin Wiley: 12’0.5”
4.Udoka Azubuike, Bruno Fernando, Chimezie Metu, Josh Okogie: 12’0”
5.Hamidou Diallo: 11’11.5”
Top 3 Positional Lane Agility