NBA Draft Chatter: NJ Nets Combine
After playing well in Portsmouth, Delroy James had a positive weekend in New Jersey. (Icon SMI)
By Ryan Feldman
Sunday, May 08, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - This weekend, 44 NBA Draft hopefuls participated in the New Jersey Nets Draft Combine. After the two-day combine, NBA scouts walked away impressed by a handful of players but not convinced that any of them will be first-round picks.
Here's what I learned after talking to NBA scouts, executives and others in attendance in New Jersey:
According to NBA scouts and executives, they were most impressed by College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, San Diego State's Malcolm Thomas, Providence's Jamine Peterson, Louisiana Tech's Olu Ashaolu and Rhode Island's Delroy James. Those were the names mentioned by just about every NBA person I spoke with.
The other names mentioned by some NBA people in a positive light were Washington's Isaiah Thomas, Syracuse's Rick Jackson, Iowa State's Diante Garrett, Texas's Cory Joseph and Georgetown's Hollis Thompson.
Every NBA person I spoke with was unimpressed by any of the big men. The big men that came into the weekend with the best chances of being drafted were Greg Smith, Josh Harrellson and Jackson. Nobody was overly impressed by Smith and Harrellson. Smith was an intriguing prospect coming in, but scouts feel that he is too raw right now and doesn't have much skill. I heard some positive feedback on Jackson - nothing too negative - but it wasn't a consensus. The word was that Jackson played superb defense and rebounded the ball, which is what he has always been known to do.
A couple of intriguing prospects coming into the weekend were Washington's Justin Holiday and UTEP's Julyan Stone. Both players were vastly unimpressive at Portsmouth and again were quiet and unimpressive this weekend. Scouts agreed that Stone is capable of being an NBA point guard but that he didn't show any sign of NBA skills.
Ohio State's Jon Diebler shot the lights out in drills, but he couldn't make shots during the 5-on-5 action. Scouts did not come away impressed with his game.
Garrett is a guy who could quietly find his way into the NBA Draft and/or onto an NBA roster. He's a 6-foot-5 point guard who put up big numbers at Iowa State. He can score, he's athletic, and he makes good decisions.
Peterson hit three consecutive 3-pointers at one point on Saturday and had a few highlight reel plays to show off his athleticism. Every scout came away impressed by Peterson but they still can't figure out where the 6-foot-5, 239-pound former NBDL player can fit on an NBA roster. What position is he? Nobody knows.
Isaiah Thomas did well penetrating and finding open teammates in the 5-on-5 action, but his teammates weren't knocking down many shots.
Goudelock shot well from the outside, just like he did in Portsmouth, and he also had the opportunity to run the point. He did a nice job running the point, as well as knocking down shots.
James continued to do what he does best and showed the same skills he showed in Portsmouth. He attacked the rim relentlessly - he was sometimes wild - and found ways to score.
Malcolm Thomas played well, just like he did in Portsmouth. He had the highlight of the weekend with a baseline dunk off a spin move.
All of the players were measured and tested athletically. They were also each given a 170-question mental aptitude test that looked like the SAT. There were no wrong questions on the test. It was geared to gauge how players think in certain situations.
Here are the results of the measurements and athletic testing:
Mustapha Farrakhan had the best vertical jump, at 41.5 inches. Next up was Gary Flowers at 39.5 inches. Farrakhan also was the fastest in star agility.
Goudelock was the fastest in the baseline sprint and was third in star agility.
Isaiah Thomas and Thompson measured favorably in height. Isaiah Thomas was thought to be 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 but he measured 5-foot-10.5 in shoes. Thompson measured 6-foot-8.5 in shoes.
Guy Marc-Michel measured at 7-foot-1 in shoes with a 7-foot-6 wing span.
Malcolm Thomas was the most athletic of all the big men. He had the highest vertical jump max height, both without steps and with steps. He reached 11-foot-7 without steps and 12 feet with steps. His max height with steps tied with Mamadou Diarra and Terrence Jennings for the highest.
Jerai Grant had the fastest foot speed, followed by Joseph, Kim English and Xavier Silas. Goudelock and Holiday were next among the fastest foot speeds.