May 17, 2016, 12:06 pm
With the NBA Draft Lottery tomorrow night, mock draft season is now in full swing. If you read NBA news or fantasy basketball websites to any extent, you are sure to come across more than one mock draft prior to the big night on June 23rd. I will also get mock drafts in full swing over the next month. Several factors go in to a team’s draft night decisions and I will attempt to bring these factors in to consideration during my mocks. Until we know the lottery results tomorrow night, which will be updated on Hoop-ball.com soon after they are drawn, it’s tough to get an accurate mock published.
Since the NBA Draft Combine is mostly based on athleticism and applying a player’s abilities to a test with small sample sizes, the results can often be misleading. Fans tend to overreact to what they see or hear, however, some of these results can actually serve as a sneak peek at a player’s potential.
For now, I’m going to focus on players that have raised or lowered their draft stocks following the NBA Draft Combine that just wrapped up. Let’s check out some of the notable measurements of this year’s combine.
Zhou Qi, a center prospect from China, measured at over 7’2” with shoes and almost a 7’8” wingspan. Most mock drafts project him as mid to late second rounder. Size cannot be taught, so it is one area catches the eye of NBA front offices. On the other hand, we have only two players that measure under 6 feet tall with or without shoes. Kay Felder and Tyler Ulis both stand less than 5’9” without shoes, a measurement that is sure to factor in heavily on draft selection on the big night. Some players impressed with high marking wingspans in comparison to their height. Cheick Diallo, Caleb Swanigan, Robert Carter Jr. and Pascal Siakam all measured with wingspans longer than 7’3”, but all measure under 6’10” with shoes on. Nigel Hayes of Wisconsin is unfortunately classified as a ‘tweener’, but a wingspan of 7’3” at a height of 6’7” is hard to ignore.
As mentioned above, Kay Felder stands less than 5’9” without shoes and was actually the shortest measured player at the Combine. To offset this measurement, Felder posted a combine record of 44 inches on his max vertical leap. The top big man leaper was Joel Bolomby, a projected 2nd round prospect from Damian Lillard’s alma matter Weber State. Bolomby posted a max vertical leap of 40.5 inches. He posted the fasted time amongst all participants in the lane agility drill as well, marking Bolomby as a potential sleeper pick in the draft with his overall athleticism. Another surprise was Perry Ellis, Kansas big man known for looking twice his age, posting the second fastest Three Quarter Sprint time overall.
Chieck Diallo, Kansas one-and-done, had notable performances in the scrimmages. He displayed the raw potential that originally had him pinned as a lottery pick by scoring, rebounding and blocking shots during both games he played in. Kay Felder and Michael Gbinije also impressed with quality stat lines across two games. As mentioned above, Joel Bolomby did more to label himself as a sleeper pick. After performing very poorly during day one of scrimmages, Bolomby posted 10 points, nine rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes during day two of scrimmages. Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga displayed his shooting abilities, scoring in double figures both days and launching a high number of 3-point attempts.
Overall, it is important to not overreact to the results of the Combine. Many of the top prospects do not attend or participate and a majority of the players that do are simply looking to solidify or boost their stock based on pre-draft doubts and concerns. Chieck Diallo, Kay Felder and Joel Bolomby all performed notably across the various tests and scrimmages to help their stock. How much weight this will carry with NBA teams is yet to be determined.