Thursday and Friday in Chicago is the NBA Draft Combine, where 60 invited players — guys likely or at least in the mix to be drafted — get measured, tested, go through interviews with teams, and occasionally run drills.
It’s a place where a guy can get noticed, although mostly it is just part of a broader picture for teams. Still, every team is there measuring and interviewing guys. Here are some notes out of the first day from watching the television broadcast, as well as tweets from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and others.
• Give UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad credit: While most of the lottery picks choose not to play he wanted to go out there and compete. But he’s already slid down draft boards and he didn’t help himself on Thursday.
How bad was it for Muhammad? A number of NBA decision makers told Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com he could fall out of the lottery all together. This for a guy who one year ago was Top 3 on everyone’s board.
• One of the overseas player invited — Dennis Schroeder, a point guard out of Germany — was in the building but didn’t go through drills, claiming a toothache. Chad Ford of ESPN said the toothache is actually a promise from a team in the middle of the first round do take him. DraftExpress had him No. 16 on their prospect list, so that sounds about right.
• Likely Top 5 pick Anthony Bennett of UNLV did not attend the combine as he had rotator cuff surgery on Wednesday. This is not expected to be a long-term issue, but he will not be working out for teams.
• Guy who turned heads? Rudy Gobert, a center from France. According to Chad Ford he officially measured 7’2” in shoes with a combine-best (and flat out ridiculous) 7-8 1/2 wingspan and a 9-7 standing reach. He was impressive in the drills.
• DraftExpress has Gobert at No. 11, but this kind of performance and measurement may have him moving up.
• Louisville’s rim-protecting center Gorgui Dieng had the second biggest measurements at the combine. However, he was in a walking boot for a sprained ankle and is not participating in drills.
• Chad Ford said Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo got a promise near the end of the first round.
• Kansas’ Ben McLemore measured on the short side — 6’4.75″ in shoes. Good wingspan, but that number doesn’t help his cause.