The draft combine gives a nice new chunk of information to work with: official measurements are most interesting and the combine scrimmages have been surprisingly predictive, with Quentin Grimes and Bones Hyland shining last season and being two of the most productive rookies taken outside of the lottery.
This year there were not any prospects who stood out as clearly, but let’s run through the guys who made favorable impressions:
Days received a combine invite after a monster G League camp where he measured 6’7 with 7’1 wingspan and in 17.5 mins he averaged 14 pts, 5 rebs, 0.5 ast, 0.5 tov, 2.5 stls on 5/9 2P 5/14 3P 3/5 FT.
Then in the combine he continued to play effectively averaging 22.5 mins, 13 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast, 0 tovs, 1 stl on 4/7 3P 5/15 3P 3/4 FT.
Combine both samples and you get an average of 20 mins, 13.5 pts, 5.5 rebs, 0.8 ast, 0.3 tov, 1.8 stl and a whopping 7.3 3PA per game.
It’s difficult to see how such a prototypical 3 + D wing can go undrafted. He is getting off a huge volume of 3PA, not taking bad shots, not turning it over, and is capable of rebounding and defending the perimeter.
Days is on the older side as he turns 23 before next season in October, and he is only a decent but non-elite shooter. But what more do you want in round 2 than a pull at a solid 3 + D wing like him? It seems crazy that he is currently slated to go undrafted, and somewhat obviously deserves to be picked.
LaRavia measured 6’8 as listed. His wingspan is slightly underwhelming at 6’9.5, but sufficient for a wing given his height. He also crushed lane agility with the 3rd best time and tied for 2nd best in the shuttle run. His standing and max verticals were less impressive, but this is consistent with his style of play– he is not particularly explosive, but he is agile.
This enables him to provide value as a versatile and switchable defensive player, which is likely his biggest strengths as a prospect as he is a high IQ defensive player who moves his feet well and actively generates steals with a solid 2.7% steal rate as a junior for Wake Forest.
Offensively he is an excellent passer and an efficient scorer on middling volume, and projects as a complementary piece. The biggest factor for him is if he develops NBA 3 point range– he made 38.4% 3P and 77.7% FT as a 20 year old junior, but took a meager 3.6 3PA per 100 possessions and likely will need time to develop from NBA 3 point range.
But if that range does develop in time, you are looking at an ideal role player. He is currently slated at #38 in ESPN’s latest mock, but it would not be surprising to see a sharp team like the Grizzlies snipe him at #22 or #29.
Williams looked good in all regards in Chicago, as he measured 6’5.75″ with a monster 7’2.25″ wingspan and excellent athletic testing including a tie for the 2nd best standing vertical.
He was also one of the standouts of the scrimmages, where in two games he averaged 24 mins, 15 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and rarely missed shooting 9/12 2P, 3/4 3P, 3/3 FT.
Williams fits a nice offensive mold as he was a high volume creator for Santa Clara, regularly creating his own shooting at the rim with an excellent 2:1 assist:TOV ratio as a junior who turned 21 shortly after the season. He is a capable shooter making 39.6% 3P 80.9% FT (35.2% 3P 78.5% FT career), although his 3PA volume is slightly underwhelming with 5.2 attempts per 100 possessions.
The main hitch in his profile is that he rebounds like a small guard and does not make the defensive impact that he is physically capable of making.
The variance in his NBA success hinges on how well his 3 point shot develops and how well he defends. He has the physical tools to be a solid defensive player, but his performance thus far leaves a fair amount of downside on that end.
But if those points go reasonably well for him, it is easy to see him as a quality piece that fits in almost any NBA lineup. He was mocked at #43 on ESPN before the combine, and it would not be surprising to see him rise into round 1 based on his showing, as he seems like a reasonable selection in the 20’s.
There has been some chatter that he belongs in the lottery, which would be excessive. For perspective, there is a similar player who has not been building hype currently projected at #36: Wendell Moore. Let’s compare per 100 statistics:
Both are long armed guards who had junior breakout seasons. Wendell is 0.25″ shorter at 6’5.5 and 1.75″ less length at 7’0.5″, and does not create as much offense at the rim but had slightly more assists and offered better rebounding + defense.
Both guys have similarly good FT% and 3PA rate, but Wendell likely gets the edge in shooting based on career FT% (81.4 vs 78.5) and 5 months of youth advantage.
Last and perhaps most significantly, Wendell was a 5* recruit playing for one of the best teams in the country against a major conference schedule. Santa Clara had an excellent mid major season in a good conference, but played a notably weaker schedule and is a much weaker source of NBA talent than Duke.
While Williams has a couple of advantages over Moore and is a fun prospect with a unique distribution of talent, Moore is likely the safer bet being slightly more well rounded coming from a more proven source of NBA talent.
Williams had a good showing at the combine and rightfully deserves some hype for his performance, but it’s worth noting that a slightly better sleeper is currently building no hype and should be available in late round 1 or early round 2.
This is not meant as a slight on Williams since I would also rate Moore above Johnny Davis who is currently slotted at #10 overall, rather an interesting comparison of guys who fall in a similar category of long armed guards who do a bit of everything offensively.
Terry was already an interesting sleeper as role playing wing in round 2, and he solidified it by having slightly better measurements than expected at 6’7.25″ with 7’0.75″ wingspan.
Rollins measured a slightly disappointing 6’3.25″ height, but atoned with an excellent 6’9.75″ wingspan.
He only played in one scrimmage where he had a number of plays that popped including an athletic putback and being pesky with deflections on defense. But he was very sloppy with 5 turnovers on a relatively limited offensive load of 9 FGA and 3 assists, and missed all three of his 3’s including a couple of bad bricks on wide open looks.
This makes it difficult to know where to place him in the draft. He has potential in a number of ways, as he has good defense for his size and decent offensive skills for a guard who doesn’t turn 20 until shortly after the draft.
But the question with him is: does he have enough offensive skill to get excited over at 6’3? In his two NCAA seasons he made a solid 79.6% FT, but only 31.7% 3P on moderate volume. For a little guy, it needs to be a concern whether he can ever make NBA 3’s with consistency.
The other question is whether he can be a lead guard, as he can get to the rim decently enough and had more assists (3.6) than turnovers (2.2) as a sophomore but is not a true point guard. The turnover issues in the scrimmage were not encouraging on this front.
So he is on the fringe of good in almost every category. It is plausible that with his length and instincts he is a + defensive player and has enough skill to develop into a + offensive player in time. Or it’s plausible that he is a buck short in everything across the board for a little guy and isn’t an NBA player.
He is projected as undrafted in ESPN’s pre-combine mock which seems harsh, as it is tough to see 50 prospects ahead of him in this draft. But he did not show quite enough to get hyped on him as a top 30 guy who belongs in round 1.
He is a difficult one to rank, but early-mid round 2 seems reasonable based on what he has shown these past few days.
Williams is one of the most fascinating weirdos in the entire draft. After starting his career in JUCO for two seasons, he spent his junior season badly struggling for Oklahoma and looking stone dead to be a future NBA player. As a senior his numbers upticked to a respectable role player, but still looked nothing like an NBA player.
But then for his 5th season he transferred to Wake Forest where he was an absolute stud, averaging 18.5 pts 6.4 rebounds 5.2 assists 3.6 TOVs making 60.3% 2P. He is shifty and athletic and got to the rim at an astronomical rate, and proved to be an intelligent and crafty passer with good size for a lead guard at 6’5 with a 6’7 wingspan.
The downside for him is that he is a career 27% 3P 69.9% FT shooter for a 5 year player who turns 23 several days before the draft. And how much can his lead guard play for one season at Wake be trusted when he showed nothing close to that at ages 20 and 21 for Oklahoma?
In his 2 scrimmages, he averaged 27 mins 9 pts 3 rebs 4.5 asts 1 tov on 4/10 2P 1/7 3P 7/10 FT. That’s a nice assist to turnover ratio, but his jumper was not falling and he struggled to finish at the rim on a few occasions. His %’s were likely to some extent bad variance, but it would have been nice to see him show a bit more self creation.
Everything about Alondes is so oddly distributed. Based on his performance at Wake Forest he seems to have unique athleticism and creation ability for a 6’5 guard, and just enough possibility of learning to shoot to have massive upside in round 2 where he is currently slated to go at #54.
But in the more common scenarios where he is a bad to mediocre shooter who lacks defensive versatility, how valuable can he be? And how much should we worry about his slow start at Oklahoma?
There is a lot of weirdness here which creates reason to be both optimistic for his best cases and cautious for his common outcomes. But there are some serious shades of Derrick White who was good value in the late 1st round, so it would seem that Alondes should belong much higher than 54th where he is currently slated to go.
Seabron showed some impressive scoring ability in the scrimmages, but his measurements were a huge disappointment. In spite of being listed at 6’7, he measured a meager 6’5.75 with 6’8.75 wingspan.
He seemed like a possibly major sleeper at 6’7 with legitimate creation skills as he is both shifty and explosive and go to the rim at an astronomical rate for NC State. But after measuring as an undersized SG that tempers so much of the excitement, because that seems like it makes one wart too many to have a compelling NBA upside.
As a sophomore he averaged more assists (3.2) than turnovers (2.4) but he is definitely not a point guard and is not really a shooter either. He made 71.3% FT but merely 25.6% 3P on a meager 2.2 3PA/100.
In the scrimmages he averaged 27.5 mins, 16 pts, 5 rebs, 2.5 asts, 3 tovs on 10/16 2P, 1/2 3P, 9/10 FT. This is basically who he was in college– excellent at creating his own offense in the paint but still not really a floor general and still not comfortable taking 3’s.
He is also staggeringly old for a sophomore, turning 22 a month before the draft. He is only 11 months younger than Alondes Williams, and has a similar of super power of getting to the rack but is less comfy from 3 and is not the same tier of passer, so it is difficult to get nearly as excited in spite of being slightly bigger and younger.
It’s hard to not be slightly intrigued by Seabron based on his slashing ability, but it at his size he is a bit too one dimensional to get excited over.
Good news: he measured an entire inch above his listed height at 6’7″, bad news: he is a t-rex with 6’6.5″ wingspan.
Good news: he was actively making all sorts of plays in the scrimmage averaging 26.5 mins, 11.5 pts, 5.5 rebs, 3.5 asts, 1.5 tovs, 2.5 stls. Bad news: he really struggled to make shots 5/15 2P, 4/11 3P, 1/2 FT.
It is nice to see him freely attempt threes as he had an odd decline from 9.4 3PA/100 as a sophomore to 5.5 as a junior. His NCAA shooting signal only looks OK-ish, making 37.8% 3P on moderate volume and 74.9% FT in his 3 years at Kansas.
Braun is in a bit of a weird zone where he does not have any particularly bad weakness, nor does he have any major strength to lean on. He is more or less a 6’7 guy who is OK at everything.
Is that a guy worth taking in round 1? He is not going to be a home run selection, and he may not be an NBA player at all. But he also doesn’t need that much to go right to be a decent rotation player.
He is currently mocked at #28 at ESPN which seems about right.
McGowens had a bad year for a bad team but as a 19 year old who got to the line a ton and made 83.1% FT, having wing dimensions would be enough to make him worth considering in the late first.
Unfortunately he came up a bit short at 6’6.5″ with 6’8.75″ wingspan and 181 pounds. Makes it hard to get excited on the idea of gambling that he can ever learn to defend decently in the NBA being that slight with SG dimensions and showing no inkling of basketball IQ as an NCAA freshman.
He is currently slated at #29 on ESPN’s mock, but I am downgrading him to a mid-late 2nd round pick based on those measurements.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
PBJ had perfectly decent measurements at 6’10.25″ with 7’1.75″ wingspan, but his athletic testing was outright miserable.
He was at or near the bottom of every test: dead last in max vert, 2nd to last in standing vert and lane agility, 4th to last in 3/4 court sprint, and 6th to last in the shuttle run.
It can be dangerous to overly invest in athletic testing since it is not always indicative of in game athleticism, but this mostly helps reconcile how he was so dreadfully bad playing low major basketball this season. He is likely too slow and too unathletic to find a niche in the NBA, and it is likely correct to let go of his top 10 recruiting hype and treat him as a likely bust with thin outs to be a useful pro.
He is currently slated as #31 in ESPN’s mock but should be a late 2nd rounder or UDFA.
The good news for Hugo is that he measured considerably above his 6’3 listing at 6’5.75″, although he does not supplement this with any sort of length at 6’5.5″ and his frame looks slight at 180 pounds.
In the scrimmages he averaged 23.5 mins 11 pts 3 rebs 2 asts 2 tovs while making 3/4 2P 3/11 3P 7/9 FT. This is a good distribution of shots as it was mostly in the paint, free throws, or 3’s.
Besson did show a decent capability of getting to the rim, as all 3 of his two point makes were self created off the dribble. So it was not a complete disappointment for Besson, and his fans may have felt that he showcase versatile efficient and scoring for a SG while measuring a respectable height. Even as a major Hugo doubter it is worth acknowledging that his hype seems slightly less ridiculous after seeing his height and a few successful forays to the rim.
But outside of being an OK-ish complementary scorer, it seems that just about everything else is a weakness. He is nevertheless very small for a SG once factoring in strength + length and showed nothing to indicate that he will be anything other than a massive sieve defensively in the NBA.
Offensively, his basketball IQ left quite a bit to be desired. He had a number of bad turnovers, including an uncredited one where he essentially dribbled out the last 7 seconds of the shot clock with no awareness that it was ticking down. This is not a forgivable mistake for a 21 year old with major physical deficiencies.
He also had a number of other sloppy passes for turnovers, as his vision and decision making both seem limited. He also had several bad bricks from 3 on bad attempts, including one that he got bailed out with a foul for 3 free throws.
So it’s difficult to see how he ever makes the offensive impact to make it worth stomaching his likely awful defense. He is not even that good of a shooter, making 30.8% 3P 79.5% FT this past season and 34.8% 3P 77.6% FT over the past three.
It’s tough to see what his path to being useful could possibly be. He is OK-ish at shooting and scoring, bad at passing and decision making, and terrible on defense. Those are some huge weaknesses with no clear strengths to offset them.
It boggles the mind how a random French guy with no clear NBA strengths on by far the worst Australian basketball team is even in attendance at the combine. This guy does not belong.
Tiny Terq measured 6’3.75″ with 6’6.5″ wingspan and a tiny 165 pound frame, and is a horribly undersized SG.
In the scrimmage he did what he does best and jacked up a ton of shots with mediocre efficiency, finishing with 17 pts, 4, rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 tovs on 3/7 2P, 3/10 3P, 2/2 FT.
He keeps creeping up draft boards and in the latest mock is knocking on the door of round 1 at #33 overall, but it’s difficult to see what his calling card to success may be.
He may be compared to other combo guards who have done well in the late 1st lately, but Jordan Poole measured 1.75″ taller and 25 pounds heavier, Tyrese Maxey is 1.25″ longer and listed 35 pounds heavier. Terq is very small by combo guard standards.
So what makes him special? He was the second best player on a terrible NC State team, was horribly inefficient from 2 at 43.7%, rarely got to the FT line and only made 69.8% when he got there. His main selling point is that he has a monster 3PA rate and is a pretty good athlete, rating in the top 11 in all 5 athletic testing categories (out of 50 to 51 prospects) which enabled him to get decent rebound, steal, and block rates for a little guy.
But that’s all so thin. Most likely he is a sieve on defense and an inefficient chucker with no PG skills offensively. And even in the good outcomes, how much can his athleticism salvage things for him? He is still too small to guard non-PG’s, and he is still mostly going to be an off ball player as his shooting clearly exceeds his creation skills.
There are definitely outs to be something, and he may deserve to be drafted at some point in the mid-late second, but why bother to use a late 1st or early 2nd on him when a guy like Marcus Sasser is going to be available in UDFA?
Sasser is not as young or athletic, but has similar size and high volume 3PA with higher basketball IQ playing a key role for a much better team. It is fair to give Terq the edge overall due to his youth and athleticism, but does not have enough to build on with that youth and athleticism to justify chasing after him with a top 40 pick.
Miller measured well at 6’10 with 7’2 wingspan, tested decently athletically, and showed some flashes of usefulness in the scrimmages.
in 26 minutes he averaged 7.5 pts 6.5 rebs 1.5 asts 2.5 tovs 0.5 stl 0 blk on 6/9 2P, 1/9 3P 0 FTA. He didn’t force many bad shots, he is physically capable of being defensively versatile, and he at least attempted 4.5 3P per game.
He is still only 18 years old and does not turn 19 until November, so it’s difficult to be all the way out on a prospect like him.
But at the same time he offers too little to get into him. Many of his 3PA missed badly, everybody attempts them in the combine so there is no evidence that his shooting is not broken. And he seems generally lacking in skill or capability to do anything off the dribble. And his feel for the game does not seem all that good, and his defense leaves much to be desired in spite of his physical profile.
For better or worse, a bet on Miller seems like a complete shot in the dark on his youth and tools in case he learns how to both shoot and play over time. It seems grim with just a sliver of upside, although it is difficult to be too confident in how far away he is with such a small sample of Miller playing in real competition.
His youth and tools aren’t much of a base but they are something, so it’s hard to complain much about taking a round 2 shot on him. But intuitively he seems probably not good enough for the NBA and probably not worth a round 1 selection.