By Ryan Feldman
Monday, June 1, 2009
At the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this past week, Draft hopefuls were measured, performed in drills, and conducted interviews with NBA teams as well as the media. Based on the results on the Combine, there are many players who helped their Draft stock as well as many who hurt their stock.
DeJuan Blair, Pitt: Blair only measured in at 6-foot-6, but he showed up in his toned down body, weighing in at 277 pounds. Blair's wingspan measured at 7-foot-2, so although he is very undersized for a power forward he can make up for it with his long arms. Blair also was very likeable in his interview, as he was constantly smiling and letting everyone know how much fun he's having making it to the NBA.
Tyreke Evans, Memphis: Evans wasn't very impressive in his interview, as he doesn't say much to impress, but he did say one thing that was important. Evans stated that he won't be one to complain about playing time, and that he'd be fine with sitting on the bench for a while to learn from a player like Gilbert Arenas. Most importantly, Evans measured at 6-foot-5 and 221 pounds, which is very big for a point guard. As fast and athletic as Evans is, his size will give him a huge advantage against other point guards in the NBA.
James Harden, Arizona State: Harden was easily one of the most impressive players in his interview. Harden is very smart, both on and off the court. Harden measured at just about the same size as Evans, at 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds. His wingspan measured at almost 6-foot-11, which helps him a lot on defense.
Stephen Curry, Davidson: As expected, Curry excelled in his two best areas of expertise: shooting and being interviewed. Curry dominated the shooting drills, showing off his incredible range and sweet touch. He's also very smart and he knows how to talk to the media. Curry is easily one of the smartest and most impressive players in this draft class.
Jrue Holiday, UCLA: Holiday is also well-spoken and a bunch of NBA teams have been impressed with him in a variety of ways. His stock has been rising at a daily rate. He measured in at 6-foot-4 and 199 pounds, which is great size for a point guard.
Earl Clark, Louisville: Clark measured at 6-foot-10 and 226 pounds, which is great size for a player who can play small forward. There have been a lot of questions about Clark's work ethic, but his size will certainly help his cause in the Draft.
Omri Casspi, Israel: Casspi showed up great shooting touch in the shooting drills. He also showed up his athleticism, throwing down some emphatic dunks in the fast break drills. Casspi measured at 6-foot-9, which is terrific size for a small forward. The one negative (which could be a positive for some teams) is that Casspi said he would likely not come to the NBA for at least another year.
Austin Daye, Gonzaga: Daye is easily one of the most impressive players in interviews. He is smart and well-spoken, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Daye measured at about 6-foot-11, which is incredibly impressive for a small forward. He only weighed in at 192 pounds, which is very frail, but that was expected. Daye is very impressive in workouts. For a 6-foot-11 player, he can really shoot the ball, handle the ball in transition, and play above the rim.
BJ Mullens, Ohio State: Mullens has been scrutinized a lot lately, mainly because he didn't play well as a freshman at Ohio State. But Mullens had a good week. He measured at 7-foot-1 and 258 pounds, which is good enough size to compete against any NBA center. He was also well-spoken in his interview. It seems that Mullens will impress a lot of NBA teams, and because of the lack of centers in this Draft, he could go anywhere from the late lottery to the late first round.
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse: One knock on Flynn has been that he's small, but he measured at about the same height as Ty Lawson and Patty Mills, and only about an inch shorter than Jeff Teague and AJ Price. Not only do many believe Flynn is undersized as far as heigh is concerned, but also weight. Flynn weighed in at 196 pounds, plenty strong for a point guard who is barely 6-foot. Flynn's stock is certainly rising and could even be the second or third point guard drafted.
Eric Maynor, VCU: Maynor's height for a point guard is pretty good at 6-foot-3, but his weight was not impressive. Maynor weighed in at just 164 pounds, the lightest of anyone at the Combine. To successfully defend NBA guards, he will have to hit the weight room.
James Johnson, Wake Forest: Johnson's measurements were rather interesting. Johnson's stock has been what it is because of his ability to play both small forward and power forward in the NBA. But Johnson measured in a tad bit under 6-foot-8, making him undersized at power forward. He weighed in at 257 pounds, rather large for a small forward. His wingspan is more than 7 feet, but NBA teams will have to figure out what type of player Johnson will be in the NBA.
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest: One of the reasons that Teague was mentioned among the top point guards by many NBA teams was because of his size, as a 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 point guard. But Teague only measured in at 6-foot-1 with shoes on and just 6-foot without shoes, so size is no longer a plus for Teague. He was known as a combo guard, but playing shooting guard at 6-foot-1 would be tough. Teague also didn't do much to impress when he was interviewed.