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2014 NBA Draft Combine - Day 2

The NBA conducted the second (public) portion of this years NBA combine. Here is a rundown.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins can jump.

Well, duh.

However, despite not attending the NBA combine, Andrew Wiggins still managed to steal the spotlight when the team over at P3 Sport Science released that insane photo of him performing his own vertical jump.  After much speculation and internal sleuthing, Wiggins' agent, Bill Duffy, announced that the photo was of Wiggins nailing a 44" vertical jump.  That number, although unverified, would be the best jump at the 2014 NBA combine and has only been bested by 3 guys in the DraftExpress database.

It was a rather brilliant PR move by his team.  First, getting the picture out there to salivating fans, then confirming a practically historic jump from a top prospect, all the while being able to selectively release information and shielding Wiggins from the scrutiny that everyone else (except Embiid and Parker) in the draft process is facing.

Game, set, and match Wiggins.

Big men athletic results

The 3 big men (Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon) have drawn particular interest among Sixers fans, both because of the possibility that one of them could be selected in the worst case scenario (Sixers falling to 5), and in the hope that one of them could last until 10, where the Sixers are projected to be with the pick the Pelicans owe them.  Yesterday we noted Vonleh's ridiculous length and Randle's better-than-expected measurements, and they didn't disappoint today either.

Gordon led the way, with a ridiculous 32.5" no step vertical and an asinine 39" max vertical.  Both of those rank in the top 10 among all power forwards drafted in the top 15 in the DraftExpress database, with the max vertical beaten only by Al Thornton, Rudy Gay, and Tyrus Thomas.  Gordon also posted the second best lane agility among PF prospects at the 2014 combine, which is part of the reason he's such a great all-around defender.

Vonleh and Randle, while not quite as explosive, still impressed.  Vonleh's 37" max vertical, combined with his ridiculous 9' standing reach, combined for the best max vertical reach at the combine, 1" above the aforementioned Aaron Gordon and tied with Bauser's bestie Thanasis Antetokounmpo.  Randle's 35.5" max vertical is respectable in its own right, and he posted a solid 3.27 seconds in the sprint, which equaled Aaron Gordon and slightly beat Noah Vonleh (3.28 seconds).  If there's one concern with his performance at the combine it's the average 8'9.5" standing reach combined with the average 29" no step vertical, which combine for a below average 11'2.5" no step vertical reach, a figure I put more weight in for a big man than the running max vertical reach, as elevating in the paint is more important for blocking shots, rebounding, and the like.

Dante Exum is quick

Dante Exum measured out very well yesterday (6'6" in shoes, 6'9.5" wingspan, 8'7" standing reach), and was extremely quick in the athletic tests today, finishing the lane agility test with the 3rd best time at the combine, while finishing 11th in the 3/4 court sprint.  His leaps were a little bit less impressive, finishing the day with a 31.5" no step vertical and a 34.5" max vertical.

The results of the athletic testing mostly confirmed the scouting reports that were out there on Exum: incredible size and length for his position, great first step, silky smooth athlete, average explosion.

He also spoke a bit about the Sixers, mentioning his past relationship with Brown, his interview with the Sixers, and his playing in a 2 point guard set.

Sixers Q&A with Sam Hinkie conduction a Q&A with Sam Hinkie on the combine.  There was nothing particularly earth shattering in Hinkie's answers, as is typical in Hinkie's public statements, but he emphasized the importance of the interviews while also stressing that if you've done your homework, these two days should not overrule what you've already come to know about the prospects.  It's worth a read.

A caution on athletic tests

While we all inspect these results, let's keep in mind that they're not always representative of the athletes actual athletic ability.  After all, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner posted identical 34.5" max verticals, which were beaten only barely by Dwyane Wade's 35".  Those results, despite being virtually identical, are from three wildly different athletic profiles.

We sit here as a statistical community and talk over and over about the necessity of sample size, then we ask athletes to jump one or two times in order to gauge their athletic merits.  Is the athlete sore?  Did he slip?  Does he have a nagging injury he hasn't told anyone about?  Did he swat at the high jump at the wrong time?  Did he not practice the drills all that much, focusing his time on, you know, playing basketball instead?

That's not to say don't look at the results.  It's great fun.  Just be careful when changing your evaluation on prospects because of them.

Other measurements of note:

  • Andy Katz is better at covering sports than playing in them.  20.5" no step vertical, 25" max vertical, 14.6 second agility, 3.7 second 3/4 court sprint.  The sprint actually beat 2 prospects.  Still, I bet Andy's wpm is tops of the group.
  • Zach Lavine had a pretty ridiculous day.  Even though his 41.5" max vertical didn't match the 47" self-proclaimed leap, it's still a very good number (4th best at the combine), and combined with his reach is pretty special for a wing.  He also posted the best agility time at the combine and a solid 3.19 second 3/4 court sprint.  Things become a little bit shakier when you put a basketball in Lavine's hands, but we all knew he would look good in this atmosphere.
  • Nick Johnson also had an incredible 41.5" vertical to go along with a solid wingspan, helping him overcome his 6'3" height in shoes.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Jordan Adams had a less than stellar day, with a 26.5" no step vertical, 29.5" max vertical, and slow agility (12.13 seconds) and 3/4 court sprint (3.5 second) results.
  • Tyler Ennis came with questions about his athleticism.  After a 36" max vert and solid showings in the sprint (3.30 seconds) and 11.12 on the agility, he may have answered some of those questions.

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