The NBA Draft combine is an important tool for scouts and general managers alike. Players are put into an environment where their individual height, wingspan, weight, body fat percentage, hand size, and athletic tools are all measured at the same facility. Though many of these players have gone through similar measurements throughout their high school careers, this is the definitely place where it’s more consistent and accurate across the board for all who are draft eligible.
With that in mind, players and agents begin to play games to get into better position in the draft. For some, it’ll boost their stock if their athletic tools are deemed to score well. For others, it’ll drop them. Still, players who do not score well in the draft combine can still be drafted high. Kevin Durant, NBA’s reigning MVP, was ranked 60th in athletic testing. He still ended up being chosen #2 in the draft. One thing that could not be denied, was his center-like wingspan of 7’5″. No wonder why he’s such a great scorer.
Now, the Lakers draft position isn’t official since the lottery has yet to take place. It is pure speculation on which player wants to go where, but Embiid has shown his interest in Los Angeles before.
The answer that Laker fans who are aware of Embiid, want this:
Andrew Wiggins has nothing to gain if he were to join the combine. He could see how he stacks up against his draft class, but the media and a few NBA teams may have him listed already at #1. Any failure of expectations at the combine would allow his position to drop.
Jabari Parker could surprise a few people at the combine. He would measure well, and his athletic scores may not be as high, but it doesn’t make him any less an effective NBA player. Still, he’s projected top-3 and has nowhere else to go but down.
Joel Embiid though, could steal the #1 spot if he wants. Depending on how he recovers from the injuries suffered throughout the season, he would measure well for an NBA center (also 7′ with a 7’5″ wingspan), but likely score well in terms of 3/4 court speed, lateral agility, no-step vertical, and 2-step vertical. Teams and general managers alike are still enamored with centers of great size and athleticism, and it would be enough to take the risk, even over his back injuries. Guys like Greg Oden were projected #1 straight out of high school, and despite knee issues, his results were similar to a point guard in terms of athleticism. No wonder why Portland still took him at #1.
It’ll be even more interesting to see the results of Dante Exum. He’s the one who shares the agent, Rob Pelinka, with Kobe Bryant. He’s also the one who shares the trainer with other NBA greats, Tim Grover. He may skyrocket all the way to the top three picks if his athletic tests do well.
The Lakers would be very fortunate to draft any of the aforementioned names. It would begin the foundation for the Laker franchise, not just the next two years, but the years after Kobe Bryant has retired. Hopefully the Lakers take all of the lottery picks in for individual workouts, and make the best decision from there.