The Lawesome Files: The Case for Wingspan


Vitruvian man via

After years and years of secretly studying anatomy in the basement of the Vatican, Leonardo Da Vinci hit a breakthrough. He created the Vitruvian man, a perfect representation of the proportionality of the human body. Among these many fascinating proportionals is one important one. A person's height, measured from the bottom of a person's foot to the top of their head, is proportional with one's wingspan, the distance from the tip of one middle finger to another with outstretched arms. This means that a 5'7 man,the average for a European male during Di Vinci's era, also had a wingspan of 5'7 as well.It's a sham Di Vinci never saw the NBA, because some of the freaks out there break all of Vitruvian man's rules in shocking ways.

Below we have a sampling of data from players who either play, have played, were drafted, or will be drafted into the NBA. The categories are height(without shoes to prevent cheating of course), wingspan, and the difference between these two values.


Thanks to Draft Express and ESPN for providing the data

Monstrous height doesn't guarantee that a player will have a disproportionate wingspan. Just ask the likes of Jason Terry, Shawn Bradley, Chris Kaman, Matt Barnes, and Jordan Hill. On the other hand of the spectrum we have a freakish height-wingspan discrepancies all over the place. Listed at 6'9 without shoes, Kevin Durant's wingspan is full 8 inches longer than his height checking in at 7'7. Little known Al-farouq Aminu in New Orleans isn't much of a scorer at 6'7, but his 7'4 wingspan, makes him a pesky defender. With a difference of 8 inches, Rajon Rondo may have the largest height-wingspan difference amongst players humans his height. Elton Brand posts an unheard of 10 inch height-wingspan difference that makes Di Vinci roll over in his game.

The Basketball Advantage:

These larger than life wingspans aren't just for show or for taking "flight" though. They give players a distinct edge on the basketball court, especially to those who know how to use them. These long arms allow them to match up with players much taller than themselves. Longer arms make it easier to block shots. Just ask our very own Javale McGee and Kosta Koufos. Long wingspans allow players to pick off passing lanes easier. Long arms allow defenders to give extra cushion space to offensive players to slow down drives with a quick recovery thanks to the elongated arms, a specialty of Andre Igoudala Up close though, they allow defenders to eat up more airspace and make shooting angles more difficult on offensive players. In summary, they allow players to become much more disruptive on the defensive end in almost every possible facet. On a quick side note, Kevin Durant's amazing 8 inch wingspan difference allows him to shoot into unhindered airspace with ease.

The Nuggets Flare:

This isn't anything brand new to Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri. Here is a list of some moves or attempted moves by Denver's man in charge.


Masai's roster additions and attempted additions have an average height-wingspan difference of 4.9 inches. This is far beyond the normal 2.5" difference seen among average NBA players. This isn't all by accident. Every move is calculated. Masai Ujiri wants to fill the team with long winged players capable of great defense. Long wingspans were taken into consideration even with 2nd round gambles chu chu,10, Izzy,3, and Quincy Miller,5. Ujiri also targeted current major rotation players Andre Igoudala, Javale McGee, and Kenneth Faried who have enormous 5, 7.5 and 6 inch height-wingspan differences. They all have the tools to create disruptive defensive havoc with blocks and steals fueling the transition game. There maybe no one better at using his natural gifts on the defensive end than Andre Igoudala. Newly re-added Wilson Chandler, a noted good defender, has a 4" difference. Defense fuels offense for Denver, and GM Masai Ujiri doesn't overlook the small details when building his roster.

How Wingspan May Effect Future Denver Nuggets Moves:

With the NBA trade deadline coming up, many are wondering what the Nuggets Executive VP of Basketball Operations may do. While no one can tell you for sure or predict anything until it happens, it will be interesting to take a look at the height and wingspan of any new player obtained. Odds are his/their height-wingspan difference will be 4.9. A perfect fit for the way Denver wants to play defense and generate offense on the fast break.



Little known French Import Rudy Gobert stands at 7'1 with an 8 inch difference 7'9 wingspan. He has been projected all over the 1st round of the 2013 draft. Something Tells me Denver may be scheduling a pre-draft workout with him late May.

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