Today was day 1 of the NBA Draft Combine from the Attack Athletics training center in Chicago, Illinois.
The following are observations from the Thursday AM telecast on ESPNU. Granted many scouts feel this workout/combine has become a pointless event to attend anyway.
For all of the armchair scouts that tuned in, the coverage provided was an obvious disappointment. Considering the fact that this event has been closed off to media aside from ESPN and NBA personnel, the lack of full screen shots of players shooting was disappointing. The general information and content was more geared to the casual fan, who most likely didn’t bother to watch this event in the first place.
There was limited focus on the most intriguing players such as Xavier Henry, James Anderson, Paul George, Devin Ebanks and Lance Stephenson and instead we got a lot of close ups of players like Darrington Hobson and Andy Rautins while talking heads rambled about them. This event has gone downhill every year and that trend seems to be continuing.
Regardless, it’s difficult to take much from an event like this. It would have been good to see the lottery picks (or those being told they are) participate in this event considering it’s just a shoot around with a few drills, but once a few of them pulled out, the dominoes fell. The NBA should consider putting something in the CBA making participation in the event mandatory (or else have medical clearance from a doctor) in order to get drafted.
Notes from the combine:
Quincy Pondexter Promise?
Quincy Pondexter turning down an invite to the combine suggests that he has a promise in the first round. Or else he’s attempting to make it appear that way. Fellow Husky Jon Brockman turned down a combine invite last year fueling speculation that he had a promise. And it turned out to be true he had an early second round promise from Sacramento. But it’s unlikely Pondexter would turn down an opportunity to workout in front of the entire league for a second round promise.
Larry Sanders Sanders looked very impressive. His body looks like he has put on some real muscle since the end of the season. He’s still very thin, but his shoulders are showing more definition. Showed a nice release shooting behind the three point line. Looked impressive shooting off the dribble.
Solomon Alabi Dwarfed Larry Sanders. Looks a legit 7-1. Appears very mechanical and slow. Looked rigid in his one dribble jump shots. Has a solid release, but lacks fluidity in his motions when taking jump shots. Did knock down a number of jump shots. For some reason we got a chance to watch him drink a blue Gatorade for 30 seconds. Top 10 pick? Maybe in second round.
Tiny Gallon Did not show up in good shape. Looked slow and lacked lift when leaping. Got winded very quickly. Shows some long term potential, but a team will have to be very patient with him. It’s hard to imagine him going any higher than mid second round.
Jerome Jordan Showed the ability to hit hook shots from 5 feet using both hands. Would have been nice to see more of him.
Dexter Pittman Appears to have worked to keep his body in shape. Although he rarely takes jump shots anyway, the form on it is poor. Lacks a fluid release.
Art Parakhouski The best shooter among the bigmen. Looks extremely comfortable shooting the ball. Athleticism and explosiveness is average.
Patrick Patterson Was one of the few projected lottery picks that actually showed up. The big question with Patterson is how he’ll measure. He has a long wingspan so that will help, but measuring under 6-6.5 barefoot would be damaging. Interesting that his teammate Daniel Orton who has much more to prove did not participate.
Gani Lawal Body looks more toned than the in the same event a year ago.
Trevor Booker Had a solid showing shooting the ball, although his release is slow. Similar to Patterson, Bookers measurement will be big. He appears to be closer to 6-7 than 6-8. If he measures well it could mean a big boost to his stock.
Craig Brackins Body does not look very athletic but his outside shoot looked impressive. Easily one of the best shooters among the bigmen showing the range to his 18-20 foot jumpers with no problem. Reports of a 40 inch vertical sound preposterous.
Jarvis Varnado Body still looks painfully skinny. At some point you have to wonder if he will be able to put on significant weight. This isn’t the type of event that Varnado can impress in as his offensive game is extremely awkward. His jumpshot is very ugly and lacks a consistent release point.
Luke Harangody Looked good shooting the ball knocking down his shots. Measured just 6-6.25 barefoot last year but had a surprising 8’10 standing reach (which is the same as Tyler Hansbrough) . He’s an undersized power forward but will likely get drafted based on his tremendous college productivity. A difficult player to project his skills to the NBA level, but could find a role as a jump shooter with his tremendous grit and determination.
Derrick Caracter Appears to have kept the weight off.
Ryan Richards Left hander who had some intrigue from international scouts a few years ago. His development has not been great although he does show solid touch. Talk about him as a first rounder seems farfetched. He has not done anything in actual games to warrent first round discussion.
Paul George looked very impressive knocking down 4 outside shots in a row. Finally getting some of the hype that he has deserved all along.
Luke Babbitt’s lack of speed and athleticism was glaring in the full court drills. Shot the ball extremely well as he did all season. Shows the intensity and effort level to make up for his lack of quickness, staying with Devin Ebanks in the line sprints.
Stanley Robinson’s athleticism stood out as one of this year’s true physical specimens. Ball handling looked terrible on the 3-2, 2-1 drill losing the ball but then regaining it by diving to the floor.
Gordon Hayward Larry Bird had his eyes on Hayward the minute he walked through the door and never took them off him. Hayward mentioned that he would love to play for the hometown Pacers, but being taken 10th overall seems high.
Charles Garcia Showed a nice shooting form on a number of shots. Handled the ball well in the open floor. Looked slow and awkward running the line sprints at the end of the workout.
Devin Ebanks Elite level athlete with great length. Ebanks is one of the real intriguing players but unfortunately there was barely any clips of him shooting the ball.
Damion James showed some shooting ability.
Lazar Hayward looked good shooting jumpers knocking down every shot during one segment.
Lance Stephenson’s ball handling looked among the best of the shooting guards. His shot looks improved but still has some issues, his release is still short and he sort of pushes the ball. His shot looks much better from inside 12 feet but breaks down when he goes beyond that range. His body looks cut and a little better than during the season. His physical strength looks far greater than the other 2guards.
James Anderson’s form looked suspect. He’s a quality shooter however he doesn’t have enough follow through on every shot and his form was breaking down some.
Sylvan Landesburg showed some athleticism in the full court in the 3-2 2-1 drill, but he lacks the requisite explosiveness and body strength to make it at the NBA level.
Darrington Hobson For some reason Hobson was put in with the 2-guards instead of the small forwards. He looked out of place shot an airball at one point. He has good length but he’s got a strange body and lacks great athleticism. Came in distant last in the full court sprint drills.Not exactly a way to leave a great impression. Intensity and effort were very suspect.
Dominique Jones outside shot looked average. Didn’t make a huge impact. Outside shot shows good form but doesn’t get much lift.
Xavier Henry had easily the best shot among the shooting guards. The ball rolls off his fingers on every shot in a textbook form.
Manny Harris’ shooting form stood out as one of the better ones among the 2-guards. He did fumble the ball in the ball handling drills. His lack of size and natural body strength is the major concern with him.
Andy Rautins looked outclassed athletically chasing Sylvan Landesburg in a full court drill. He’s got picture perfect form on his shot, but his lack of strength and athleticism is glaring.
Jordan Crawford showed solid handles. He’s an above average athlete but his lack of height hurts him. His body posture is strange as he has hunched shoulders, but this can be corrected.
The point guard segment got cut short as the 4 hour telecast ran up.
Avery Bradley Barely had any air time.
Armon Johnson See Bradley.
Terrico White Was wearing a t-shirt, barely saw any time on tv.
Eric Bledsoe Went high for a block attempt on Torrance and got a nice dunk on the break in the following 2-1.
Willie Warren Fumbled the ball in the first touch in a wide open situation.
Greivis Vasquez Looked like he’s added some weight. Struggled shooting the ball.
Mickhail Torrance Converted on the break.
Sherron Collins Jump shot looked good.