The NBA released the draft combine measurements today. Unfortunately, the NBA combine is even more of a farce than the NFL combine and the result is several players doing minimal portions of the combine, or in some cases not even bothering to attend at all. The thought process is there’s little to gain for a guy like Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram in a exhibition workout with several other players. The cream of the crop in each year’s draft class generally chooses to leave the talent evaluation to the tape and private workouts, some, like Buddy Hield for example, will come to the combine for measurements but abstain from doing most or all of the drills. However, for those late first rounders and second round picks, the combine is a chance to maybe push into the lottery or first round. Projected late lottery picks also can benefit at the combine. Damian Lillard saw his stock rise several picks after a very strong combine performance.

Generally, the most important parts of the combine are the measurements and team interviews. The scrimmages are also valuable but that’s where participation among the top draft talent is at its worst. So, while the field may have been lacking the likes of Simmons, Ingram, Timothe Luwawu and Jamal Murray today, there are still some rather interesting tidbits to be found in the data that came from body measurements.

  • Some of the more ridiculous wingspans: Wade Baldwin (projected to go in late teens) came in a 6’4″ tall with shoes, his wingspan measured 6’11.25″. Caleb Swanigan (projected 2nd round) makes up for being undersized at the power forward position with his 7’3.5″ wingspan. 6’7″ Nigel Hayes (project 2nd round) comes in right under Swanigan with a 7’3″ wingspan. The longest arms of the group also belonged to the tallest, 7’2″ Zhou Qi (projected late 1st round) who measured at 7′ 7.75″. The smallest? Tyler Ulis (projected mid-late 1st round) with only a 6’2″ wingspan
  • Speaking of tall, only two players registered in as true seven footers, Qi and Jakob Poeltl (projected mid-late lottery), though Thon Maker (projected 2nd round) gets there when he has his shoes on. Jake Layman (projected 2nd round) was the tallest wing in attendance at just over 6’9″ and Patrick McCaw (projected 2nd round) was the tallest point guard at just under 6’7″. Kay Felder at 5′ 9.5″ got the unenviable title of shortest player at the combine
  • Malcom Brogdon (projected 2nd round) has huge hands. The shooting guard is just over 6’5″ tall but his hands are similar in size to that of a power forward or center. Only Damian Jones (mid-late 1st round) has wider hands and only a handful of big men have longer hands. Ulis once again was on the wrong side of the ruler as he had the smallest hands in the group.
  • Kyle Wiltjer (projected 2nd round) was the fattest player in attendance, at 15.25% body fat, nearly 3% higher than the next fattest. Familiar name, Gary Payton II (projected second round), took home the title of the skinniest player at a measly 3.95% body fat.

While the talent really starts to thin in the actual drills portion of the combine, there were some interesting stats that came out of today's drills as well:

  • Remember that 7’2″ Chinese guy Zhou Qi? Turns out he can drain the three ball as well. He shot as good as anyone from fifteen feet away and shot it even better once he stepped out to the three point line. Jones was another center who shot it well from outside.
  • Malik Newman and Marcus Paige (both projected 2nd round) were the best when it came to shooting off the dribble. Meanwhile Big Hand Brogdon had the best outing when it came to shooting on the move. DeAndre Bembery (projected late 1st – early 2nd round) is probably regretting his decision to participate in the non-stationary shooting drills.
  • Felder makes up for his miniscule stature with the biggest vertical leap in the bunch, coming in at 44″ and fellow point guard Demetrius Jackson (projected late lottery) was right behind him at 43.5″. The big man with the most ups was 6’9″ Joel Bolomby (projected 2nd round) who also was the fastest in the lane agility drill as well.
  • The scrimmages went well for Robert Carter Jr (projected 2nd round) who led everyone in scoring (21 pts) and rebounding (7 boards) in his game. Cat Barber also had a strong outing with 14 points and 7 assists. AJ English shot very well, hitting seven of ten attempts.
In the end the combine might not matter much when it comes to the draft, but for those who participated it could be the difference between a guaranteed first round deal or a non-guaranteed second. Perhaps it could even be the difference between being drafted or not at all and for some, maybe in this case jump out of the building Jackson, it can mean the difference between being just a lottery pick and being a top ten pick.

***** Stiffs Night Out *****

Jakes Sports and Spirits | 3800 Walnut Street, Denver CO | Tuesday, May 17th 5:30 PM

Come join fellow Nuggets fans for our annual Stiffs Night Out NBA draft lottery party. We’ll be watching live as we find out if the Nuggets won a top pick in June’s NBA draft. The lottery begins at 6pm so we’ll be meeting a half hour before. Stay for the Eastern conference finals and to bask in the glory of winning the lottery (or sulk in the misery of another year without moving up). Jake’s Sports and Spirits will have food and drink deals and the Stiffs will have prizes and more. If you are a Nuggets fan, come on out and meet fellow Stiffs and Nuggets fans.