The annual NBA draft combine is in the books. NBA teams got to take a close look at prospects during two days of drills, athletic testing, measurements, interviews and medical testing. It also gave us a chance to talk to numerous NBA general managers and scouts over the two-day event in Chicago to get a better feel for how they were being evaluated.
But how does all of that affect their draft stock? Well, it's time for our 10th Big Board of the 2014 NBA draft.
1. Andrew Wiggins | SG | Kansas
Wiggins didn't even travel to Chicago, let alone participate in the Combine. There was no reason given for his absence other than both Parker and Embiid also were skipping the event as well. But that didn't stop Wiggins from having a major impact. P3, the group that is training Wiggins, tweeted out an iconic picture of him measuring his vertical jump. His agent, Bill Duffy, later told me that Wiggins jumped 44 inches in that photo -- good enough to top everyone at the combine. It's no surprise that Wiggins can jump out of the gym, but the photo was more evidence that he's the best athlete in this draft.
2. Joel Embiid | C | Kansas
NBA general managers were especially disappointed that Embiid didn't show. There are major questions about his back and teams were hoping they would be cleared up in the medical tests. The impact of Embiid skipping the medicals could be profound. Without those tests, most NBA GMs would be very wary to draft him. Did he skip because his back is still ailing? Or was this a power move by his agent to control which team drafts him? I suspect it's the latter. But until something leaks, we are left in the dark about Embiid's back and thus his draft status.
3. Jabari Parker | SF | Duke
There was no definitive answer why Parker didn't attend, though several sources in the Chicago area told me Parker was in less than ideal shape for the combine. Many general managers and scouts heard the same thing. Parker's group disputes that, but unfortunately, true or not, that was the refrain running through the gym, which doesn't exactly help Parker's cause in his quest to be the No. 1 overall pick. Of the three players that totally skipped the event, his absence was the only one that appears to have dinged his draft stock.
4. Dante Exum | PG | Australia
Exum's first public appearance in the U.S. since the Nike Hoop Summit last year drew a lot of buzz. Exum did not participate in the drills portion of the event, but he did go through the athletic testing, interviews and medicals. Exum tested well in the athletic portion. While his vertical jump was middle of the road, he measured as one of the fastest and quickest athletes in the draft. Given his measurements, (6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan) that's going to help his cause. He was also a hit in interviews with a number of GMs raving about his maturity. Workouts will ultimately decide where he goes, but I still believe that several teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic will consider him with the No. 1 pick.
5. Noah Vonleh | PF | Indiana
No one helped his draft stock this week more than Vonleh. He did not participate in the drills, but his measurements (6-foot-9 1/2 inches in shoes with a crazy 7-foot-4 1/2 inch wingspan, a 9-foot standing reach and the largest hands in the draft) combined with excellent athletic testing numbers (he had a 37 inch maximum vertical) gave Vonleh the edge physically over the two players he's competing with -- Randle and Gordon. Combine that with his ability to shoot, rebound and block shots, and I think Vonleh might end up beating out Randle and Gordon as the first power forward taken in the draft.
6. Julius Randle | PF | Kentucky
Randle continues to be in that three-way scrum with Vonleh and Gordon. He too skipped the drills portion of the camp. His measurements were solid, (6-foot-9 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan and 8-foot-9 ½-inch standing reach), easing some concerns that he was undersized for his position. He also tested well athletically, scoring a 35 ½-inch vertical and identical scores to Vonleh on the three-quarter court spring and lane agility drills. If teams prefer a bruiser who loves contact in the paint, he'll go ahead of Vonleh. But the overall metrics lean Vonleh's favor right now.
7. Aaron Gordon | C | Arizona
Gordon wowed scouts with his athletic testing numbers. It's no surprise that Gordon is one of the elite athletes in the draft, yet his numbers still impressed. Not only was his 39-inch vertical the third highest ever for a player his size, but he bested every player in the draft in his shuttle drill. He also measured decently, nearly 6-foot-9 in shoes with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and a 8-foot-9 standing reach. He's essentially a half-inch shorter that Randle, but he's much more explosive. Gordon also drew raves in the interview portion. The big question is where he'll get his offense from and unfortunately, he missed a chance in the drills to show scouts he's better than he given credit for.
8. Marcus Smart | PG | Oklahoma St.
Smart was another player who helped himself with strong measurements and athletic testing. While he measured slightly shorter than he was listed (6-foot-3 instead of 6-foot-4), he had a crazy 6-foot-9 wingspan and measured with a strong 36-inch vertical and a very good 10.82 second lane agility score. For someone who weighed in at 227 pounds, those are great numbers. Smart's interviews were a mixed bag, however. While teams love the passion he brings to the table, they felt his explanation of what happened earlier this season when he lost his temper on several occasions was vague. Look for him to be matched up in lots of workouts with Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine, Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris.
9. Dario Saric | SG | Croatia
Saric's play at the Adriatic Final Four put an exclamation point on a terrific season. Saric not only led his team to the Adriatic League championship, he won MVP averaging 22 PPG, 13 RPG and 6.5 APG while shooting a red-hot 8-for-16 from beyond the arc. There's no question he's an elite talent. The bigger issue is whether he's actually going to come to the NBA this year. His father wants him to stay in Europe at least one more season, possibly two. Saric's agents would like him to come now as many of the teams in the lottery are more interested if he's available this season. If he can get a promise from a team in the Top 10, he'll likely stay in the draft.
10. Gary Harris | PG | Michigan St.
Harris has a mild groin strain and missed both the drills and athletic testing. He measured 6-foot-4 ½ in shoes, essentially what he was listed at Michigan State, and had a 6-foot-7 wing. Those are a tad undersized for his position, but many scouts believe Harris has the potential to play point in the pros.
11. Nik Stauskas | SG/PG | Michigan
Stauskas didn't participate in the drills, but I'm not sure he really needed to. Everyone knows he's one of the elite shooters in the draft. He tested better than expected in the athletic portion, knocking off a good 35 ½ -inch vertical and an even better 10.79 score in the lane agility drills. He also measured at 6-foot-6 ½ in shoes, which makes him one of the bigger two guards in the draft. The big question for him is: Can he prove to scouts that he can be a playmaker as well as a shooter? He and Harris are on the same mission here. If he can, Stauskas could crack the top 10.
12. Zach LaVine | SG/PG/ UCLA
Among guards, LaVine might have helped himself more than anyone. He was the highest ranked player to participate in the drills and looked great with the point guards. He shot the ball well in drills and stood out to be a step ahead of every other guard in both size and athletic ability. He ended up measuring nearly 6-foot-6 in shoes with a 6-foot-8 wingspan. He also tested as possibly the best athlete in the draft with a 41 1/2-inch maximum vertical and terrific scores in both the sprint, shuttle and lane agility drills. He cracked the top 5 in every category. He's raw, but more and more scouts think he's the one guy outside the top 10 who has the chance to be a superstar down the road.
13. Doug McDermott | SF | Creighton
McDermott's biggest achievement might have been graduating from Creighton on Saturday. But he did alright for himself at the combine as well. His measurements were just about what we expected (6-foot-8 in shoes with a 6-foot-9 wingspan) but his athletic testing numbers surprised everyone -- especially that 36 ½-inch vertical and very solid lane agility numbers. McDermott is trying to sell himself as a small forward to NBA teams and given his measurements, he might have to. Those athletic numbers will go a long way to show he has the quickness and pop to guard that position.
14. Tyler Ennis | PG | Syracuse
Ennis didn't participate in drills, but fared well for himself at the combine. He's just average size for a point guard at 6-foot-2 ½ in shoes. But his 6-foot-7 wingspan helps make up for that. And after getting knocked in college for being an average athlete - at best -- Ennis posted very good athletic numbers at the combine. He ended with a 36-inch vertical and an impressive 2.84 second shuttle run. He also was among the most impressive in interviews according to teams. Don't read too much into his small dip on our Big Board. That has more to do with huge weeks for Stauskas, LaVine and McDermott than anything Ennis did wrong. He'll be in the mix for picks Nos. 7 through 14.
15. James Young | PF | Kentucky
Young didn't participate in basketball drills either, and had limited participation in the athletic drills thanks to a small groin strain suffered while doing the vertical jump testing. He measured with a good 36-inch vertical and impressed in his measurements with a nearly 7-foot wingspan.
16. Adreian Payne | PF | Michigan State
Payne sat out the combine after discovering he's been dealing with mono. I'm not sure he had to. I saw him working out two days before in Chicago and was really impressed with him. Payne has been battling mono, undiagnosed, since January, making his senior season even more impressive. He's about another week away from being able to do team workouts. His measurements, 6-foot-9 1/2 in shoes with a 7-foot-4 wingspan continue to make him one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft.
17. Elfrid Payton | PG | Louisiana-Lafayette
Payton surprised people by refusing to participate in the drills. Given his limited exposure, some GMs were grumbling about the decision. But they shouldn't. As his stock continues to rise, sources say some teams in the mid-first round were pushing for him not to do the drills. They'd prefer he remain a secret. His measurements and athletic testing numbers were both above average for his position. He also drew raves in his interviews. I believe Payton is the true sleeper in this draft and is being underrated by scouts right now. Once he gets into workouts, he will work his way into the lottery.
18. P.J. Hairston | SG | Texas Legends (D-League)
Hairston was the second highest rated prospect to participate in the drills portion. It didn't particularly help him. He shot just OK and didn't seem to be going full speed most of the time (a big no-no among GMs). However, I'm told he aced his interviews. That was huge for him. He was inundated with questions about his off-the-court problems and multiple GMs said he handled them openly, honestly and humbly in ways that gave them hope that his troubles were behind him. "I think the trouble he got into and the stint in the D-League were a real eye opener for him," one GM said. "He stayed out of trouble in the D-League, and I think he's learned his lesson."
19. Rodney Hood | SG | Duke
Hood had a good showing at the combine. He shot the ball well and put up solid athletic testing numbers. He measured as one of the tallest wings in the draft, though his wingspan wasn't anything to write home about. The question for him is -- how much of his good showing was due to all of his competition sitting this one out?
20. Jusuf Nurkic | C | Bosnia
Nurkic wasn't at the combine, though I bet he wishes he was. The group of bigs the NBA put on the floor was pretty poor (notice only one other big is left on this list that played in Chicago). Nurkic clearly has the size and skill level to be a NBA player. The question is how many teams are willing to invest in someone how lacks real athleticism for his position? There was a time in the NBA when that mattered less for bigs. But not anymore, teams prefer mobile bigs if they can get them. Still, with such a dearth of centers out there, Nurkic could go considerably higher than this.
21. Jerami Grant | PF | Syracuse
Grant went out there and did what he does best - looked athletic, crazy long and ran his butt off. He also shot the ball fairly well, averaging 50 percent from 3. The two big things for Grant were his measurements (a 7-foot-2 ½-inch wingspan and 8-foot-11 standing reach both gave him credibility as a power forward) and his interviews. A number of teams came away deeply impressed with his Grant's basketball IQ and knowledge of the game. He didn't do athletic testing because of a late injury, but no one needs to see the numbers to know he's a freak athlete.
22. Cleanthony Early | SG | Wichita State
Early's rise in the NCAA tournament continued with a very good showing in Chicago. He measured 6-foot-7 ½ inches in shoes with a nearly 6-foot-11 wingspan. He also wowed scouts with a very impressive 40-inch vertical -- one inch higher than Aaron Gordon. His lateral quickness numbers also were impressive for his size, easing concerns about his ability to defend wings in the NBA.
23. Shabazz Napier | PG | UConn
Like Early, Napier also capitalized on his magical performance in the NCAA tournament in two ways: Scouts didn't even bat an eye when he skipped the drills portion. Then he went out and tested impressively with a 37 ½-inch vertical. That might have been the single most surprising athletic test of the camp. Napier didn't measure well, just a hair over 6-feet in shoes with a 6-foot-3 wingspan, but for teams looking for a quick guard who can knock down shots, there is a lot of appeal.
24. K.J. McDaniels | SF | Clemson
I thought McDaniels would have killed it here. He's such a great athlete and has a great motor. But scouts say he didn't stand out in the drills (he shot just 8-for-25 from 3), and though some of his athletic testing numbers were very good (37-inch max vertical and a camp leading 3.16 second sprint), he tested dead last in lateral quickness. Frankly, most teams expected McDaniel to have a 40-inch plus vertical. At barely 6-foot-6 in shoes, he's a bit undersized for his position at the 3, though his 6-foot-11 wingspan makes up for some of that.
25. T.J. Warren | SF | South Carolina
Warren was the lowest ranked prospect to skip the drills. Given the concerns about his jump shot, maybe it was a good idea. But, there was some positive momentum here in Chicago. First Warren measured a bit taller than expected at 6-foot-8 ¼ in shoes with a 6-foot-10 ½- inch wingspan and an 8-foot-8 standing reach. He also tested well athletically, with a 35 ½-inch vertical and good scores in both the sprint and lateral quickness tests. He's one of the three most lethal scorers in the draft and those scores might help convince teams he can make the transition to a full-time 3 in the pros.
26. Clint Capela | PF | Switzerland
Capela's struggles at the Nike Hoop Summit practices and game continue to haunt him. Alas, he might have been able to help himself had he attended the combine. The good news? The group of bigs in the camp generally looked so mediocre that Cappella might get in just based on a lack of viable alternatives.
27. Kristaps Porzingis | PF | Latvia
No one really expects to see Porzingis keep his name in the draft. He could be a lottery pick next year if he stays in Europe. However, if he decides to stay in, he'll go somewhere in the first round. He's the perfect type of draft-and-stash candidate with big upside.
28. Kyle Anderson | PF | UCLA
Anderson had an ankle injury that kept him out of the camp. That's too bad as he was one of the players teams really wanted to see. They wanted to see how he moved with the other small forwards and wanted to get a closer look at his athletic testing numbers. Needless to say, he continues to remain a bit of a mystery and perhaps the most polarizing player in the draft.
29. Jarnell Stokes | PF | Tennessee
Stokes showed well in the camp. He had lost a little weight, shot the ball well from 15 feet and tested a little bigger than expected (6-foot-8 1/2 in shoes with a 7-foot-1 1/4 wingspan). He showed that he can be explosive, measuring an impressive 36-inch vertical. His lateral quickness numbers were poor, however. Not everyone loves Stokes, but there are enough teams that do who pick in the 20s that I think he cracks the first round.
30. C.J. Wilcox | SG | Washington
Wilcox proved to be one of the top shooters at the combine, going 40-for-50 from college and NBA 3 distances during drills. He also measured well at 6-foot-5 in shoes with a nearly 6-foot-10 wingspan. His 37 ½-inch vertical topped off a really successful camp for him. If he was two or three years younger, he'd be much higher on the list.