THE tone for the NBA Draft Combine was set before the actual event even started. Top talents like Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Lonzo Ball opted to skip the combine with only two top 10 ranked players Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox even showing up, and both of them only did interviews! Regardless of the lack of ‘star power’ there were plenty of movers and shakers throughout the weekend, who did their best to make themselves known to the NBA scouts in attendance.
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AT the start of the combine Duke point guard Frank Jackson still hadn’t declared whether his intention was to stay in college or go pro. After he burst onto the scene in the five-on-five gameplay it was clear what decision he would make. The potential first round pick Jackson ranked 2nd in max vertical leap (42″) and 3rd for standing vertical jump (35.5″) showing off his first class athleticism that has him tabbed as a 1st round pick.
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ANOTHER uber athletic freshmen in Hamidou Diallo was generating plenty of buzz in Chicago. After enrolling midseason and never actually stepping on the court during his time as a Kentucky Wildcat, Diallo had plenty to show the scouts. The 6’5″ wing hasn’t got the body of work that his college peers have, but his pure athleticism could see a team take a gamble on him. Diallo still hasn’t declared whether he will be going back to school or to the draft and he’ll be one of the players to track over the coming days and weeks as the deadline draws nearer.
ONE player who I fell in love with in the latter half of the year was Oregon’s Jordan Bell, and it seems like I’m not the only one. After collecting 17 rebounds and blocking six shots throughout the 51 minutes of gameplay, Bell is carved in the Draymond Green type and may be one of the best defenders in the entire draft. What he lacks in height (6’8″) he makes up for in heart and hustle and he can legitimately guard three to four positions in the NBA, a big tick for potential investors.
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EACH year there is an international mystery man who generates plenty of hype as the draft nears and this year it’s Frenchman Jonathan Jeanne. The seven foot center has been compared to Rudy Gobert after his measurements became official and the long term project could develop into rim protecting big man who runs the floor.
ANY secretive questions surrounding OG Anunoby’s ACL injury was quashed with the Indiana forward declaring that he suffered an ACL injury, nothing else. If healthy Anuoby has the chance to shoot into the top 10 and he fits the mould small ball center in the current NBA.
PJ Dozier was happy to be in Chicago throwing down this highlight dunk from the Tyler Dorsey feed. Dozier’s draft stock has slowly risen all year particularly in March when he helped lead the South Carolina Gamecock’s to their first final four in school history.
THE deadline for players to declare for the NBA Draft is May 24th and there are still plenty of guys on the fence regarding the future. Some of them have a better idea of where they rank after the combine which will help them to make their choice. As talked about briefly before the combine was lacklustre from a personnel standpoint. With the top prospects not even in town, many of the other first round pick opted to sit out the five-on-five gameplay, largely due to the fact that there is a high risk, high reward associated with the play. With little incentive for guys to play the result was a bunch of guys trying to get drafted in the second round playing hero ball. Something needs to change to alter the mentality surrounding the combine if we want to see the top prospects lured back into competing.
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