The Draft Combine serves as a job interview for many hopeful prospects
Every season, the NBA holds a showcase event before the draft in June to allow teams to evaluate the draft prospects more thoroughly. This event is known as the Draft Combine, and performance at the Combine has been known to elevate or drop a player’s draft stock. The Combine includes medical evaluations, team interviews, scrimmages as well as the much-anticipated measurements, from the basic ones such as height and wingspan to athletic assessments.
At the 2018 NBA Draft Combine, held from 17 to 20 May in Chicago, approximately 70 prospects were invited to display their talents for their potential NBA teams. This brought the opportunity for several young players to boost their ratings in the eyes of NBA scouts in a variety of ways.
For Mohamed Bamba, this was through his almost-unbelievable measurements. He set the record for longest wingspan in Draft Combine history at 7-foot-10, which surely played a part in the 3.7 blocks per game he averaged for the University of Texas. This gives him a shot at moving into the top three picks in the upcoming draft, coupled with the maturity that he reportedly displayed during interviews.
In terms of athleticism, two guards from Duke and Georgia Tech shone through. Grayson Allen posted impressive numbers across various drills such as shuttle run, lane agility and vertical leap, while Josh Okogie was even more remarkable with top marks in both the vertical leap and three-quarter court sprint categories. Both players will be hoping that this showing catapults them into the first round of the draft.
Of course, the scrimmages provided the best setting for many scouts to evaluate the talents involved.
Through these mini-matches, a few names stood out. Kevin Hervey from the unheralded University of Texas-Arlington showed off his NBA-ready body and his versatility, while Gary Trent Jr from Duke finally got the chance to display his sweet stroke after playing on a stacked collegiate roster. Rounding off the list was Kevin Huerter out of Maryland, who proved that his smooth outside shot, passing and basketball instincts could translate to the professional level despite his slight build.