Many of the top prospects in the NBA draft participated in drills and testing at the NBA combine the past two days. DraftExpress.com has a full list of each players' measurements. Here's a look at some of the guys who stood out for good and bad reasons:
Zach LaVine, G, UCLA: Much of LaVine's draft stock is based on potential rather than production, so it was critical for the UCLA freshman to use the combine to showcase the tools make his ceiling so high. Sure enough, LaVine delivered, completing the agility drill with the fastest time, finishing the speed drill with the second fastest time and leaping the third highest of any prospect in the vertical jump. He also checked in at nearly 6-foot-6 with a 6-8 wingspan, tremendous size for a point guard if he can prove skeptics like me wrong and successfully transition to the position but still big enough to play wing if he can't.
A knock-down shooter with a knack for finishing in transition, LaVine excelled early in the season as a sixth man for UCLA but struggled down the stretch. In LaVine's last five games this season, he scored a total of 10 points, missed 15 of 19 shots and had more turnovers than field goals. It's hard to believe that a player who produced those numbers has solidified himself as a surefire first-round pick, but that's probably what LaVine's combine performance did. If he can show enough point guard skills during workouts to convince scouts he can play the position at the next level, he has an outside chance to crack the lottery too.
Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana: Strong combine measurements from Vonleh solidified him as one of the top power forward prospects in the draft along with Kentucky's Julius Randle and Arizona's Aaron Gordon. He measured 6-foot, 9.5 inches in shoes with a wing span of more than 7 feet, 4 inches, the biggest height-to-length discrepancy of any prospect at the combine and the longest wingspan of any prospect besides Baylor 7-footer Isaiah Austin. Vonleh's hands were also the biggest at the combine, reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard's several years ago. Heck, even his 37-inch vertical was impressive for a big man.
Considering Vonleh led the Big Ten in rebounding as a freshman and showed a refined back-to-the-basket game and mid-range jumper for a freshman, there already was a lot to like about him as a prospect. Throw in measurements that eclipse Randle's in many areas and approach those of the raw but ultra-athletic Gordon, and he certainly could be selected ahead of one or both his power forward peers.
Other winners: Alec Brown, F, Green Bay (Performed like the best-shooting big man in the draft during drills); Glenn Robinson Jr., G/F, Michigan (Shot well in drills and showcased athleticism with a 41.5-inch max vertical). Rodney Hood, F, Duke (Reportedly looked polished and smooth in two-on-two and three-on-three and performed better than expected in testing)
LaQuinton Ross, F, Ohio State: Hardly a lock to be drafted entering the combine, Ross did himself no favors showing up out of shape. The former Buckeyes standout weighed 19 pounds more than his listed playing weight from last season of 220 pounds and had the highest body fat percentage of any prospect at the combine, nearly 3 percent more than New Mexico's Alex Kirk and UCLA's Kyle Anderson. That showed in his drills as the 6-foot-7 small forward leaped a modest 31 inches and clocked one of the 10 slowest times in both the agility and sprints drills.
Ross showed flashes of the scoring potential necessary to play in the NBA during a streaky junior season in which he averaged 15.2 points per game, but his lateral quickness defensively was already a major concern even before his combine showing. Expect those concerns to increase leading up to the draft unless Ross can show the self discipline necessary to shed the weight he has gained and shore up some of the deficiencies in his game.
Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse: One of the major questions about Grant is whether he's tall enough to play power forward in the NBA and whether he's a consistent enough shooter to play on the wing. Nothing he did at the combine the past two days will help favorably address either of those questions. Grant checked in at a shade under 6-foot-8 in shoes, small for an NBA power forward though his wingspan and leaping ability may help mitigate that. His overall shooting was also the second-worst of any prospect at the combine and the worst among those classified as small forwards.
To me, Grant's inconsistent shooting in the regular season and at the combine is proof that he'll be a power forward at the next level rather than a small forward. He has a chance to be a first-round pick thanks to tremendous length and athleticism and an ability to make an impact on the glass or around the rim. He also has a chance to slide if NBA teams are more concerned about his lack of back-to-the-basket game or his inability to consistently knock down open jumpers.
Other losers: Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan (12.1 percent body fat was higher than expected);
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