Day one of the 2013 NBA Draft Combine is officially in the books. The interesting thing about today though, was the bigger story may have been the prospects who didn’t participate in drills, as opposed to the ones who did.
Top prospects who did not participate in the drills portion of today include Trey Burke, Cody Zeller, Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore, Michael Carter-Williams, and Mason Plumlee to name a few. Not that unusual as top prospects usually decline to participate in these type of drills because it can only hurt their stock, but speaking as someone who was in attendance it was disappointing.
As far as the players who actually did participate though, here are my personal thoughts on who stood out and who struggled when it came to actual on the court play.
Shane Larkin, PG Miami – Point guard was one of the most anticipated groups in my eyes and Larkin easily performed the best in my eyes. Larkin showcased what looked to be an improved, consistent jumper and made crisp on-point passes all day.
Lorenzo Brown, PG North Carolina State – For a player I didn’t expect to mention much, Brown performed extremely well on Thursday. In shooting drills he put a great shooting touch on display and played tough defense in the 1 on 1 drills.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG Michigan – Hardaway Jr. came into the combine being known as a solid spot-up shooter and a decent defender. Question marks surrounded his ability to handle the ball at the next level (spent little time handling ball at Michigan as he played alongside Trey Burke) and would he be able to create his own shot. I thought Hardaway made great decisions in the open court as the playmaker and showed he can create for others if necessary.
Jeff Withey, C Kansas – In a league where back to the basket players are becoming more and more of an extinct species, Withey showcased some very nice hook shots with either hand. Already thought to be a great potential defensive presence at the next level, if he can consistently hit that hook some team will get a great young big man in the draft.
Shabazz Muhammad, SF UCLA – Numerous reports from other media outlets will tell you Muhammad struggled today but let me explain why I put him on the standout list. At a combine where almost all the potential lottery picks sat out the drills, Muhammad was one of the few who actually was confident enough to participate, which I respect. Although he struggled with his shot today, in my eyes I already know Shabazz can score. Questions surround his commitment to the defensive end and I felt like he showed good lateral quickness on defense and defended very well in the 1 on 1 drills. If he is truly committed to defense at the next level as he showed today, I think Shabazz can be a very nice piece for a team.
Players who Struggled
Peyton Siva, PG Louisville – In an already weak draft, I felt that with a good combine showing Siva would be able to cement his status as a solid PG option for teams. He failed to do that today as he struggled with his jumper in shooting drills. And for all the questions regarding his diminutive stature, Siva struggled mightily to get a good look at the basket in 1 on 1 drills.
Pierre Jackson, PG Baylor – As one of my favorite college players to watch this past season, Jackson disappointed me greatly today. He just couldn’t find the touch all day on his jumper and for a shorter player who will struggle to finish around the rim amongst NBA centers, I thought showcasing the ability to shoot was key for his draft stock.
Archie Goodwin, SG Kentucky – I thought a key for Goodwin coming into the combine was to showcase that he can consistently hit a jumper when given the opportunity. Goodwin struggled all day when it came to the shooting drills in my opinion. In terms of explosiveness, he did finish well around the rim though.
Kenny Kadji, C Miami – Kadji struggled defending the basket in the 1 on 1 drills and I thought a key for him coming in was his defensive ability. Although he performed ok offensively, his inability to protect the rim today during drills was concerning.
Rudy Gobert, C Cholet (France) – One of the international prospects I was interested to see live, Gobert showed little to no skill on the offensive end. For a foreign big man (where offense is usually the strength) it was mildly disappointing.
Day 2 of the combine will commence tomorrow and BSO will be in attendance once again. Be sure to catch my follow up report on day 2.