The NBA combine officially started earlier this morning and ends tomorrow. Here, players get their measurements, athletic testing, and skills evaluated of the entire draft crop. It’s the first time there has been a three-on-three setting.
The Lakers with the projected #6 pick, may have Marcus Smart as their primary target. Talent at the point guard position is difficult to fulfill. Teams are reluctant to trade point guards and value them highly, not just by the importance of the skill level, but the leadership provided at that position.
Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) has been providing excellent coverage of the event. Yesterday, draft prospect Glenn Robinson III did a max vertical jump test, and scored highly.
Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak are in attendance.
The point guard portion of athletic testing was evaluated, but to my surprise, a number of key prospects chose not to take part.
One player from UCLA, Zach Lavine switched groups and chose to participate.
Why is this important? The point guard crop of Shabazz Napier, Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton, and Tyler Ennis aren’t the most explosive point guards. The NBA has been fortunate to see the likes of John Wall and Derrick Rose come out, and show elite athleticism in terms of quickness, speed, agility, and vertical ability. Zach Lavine has some of those physical tools. Now, he gets to demonstrate what kind of upside he has compared to his draft competition at the combine.
NBA management of different teams can interpret this in different ways. Some may perceive it as players trying to protect themselves from reducing their athletic testing results. Some may perceive it as a lack of competitiveness against peers. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for the players to show that their basketball skills exceed their athletic testing results. NBA teams can work out the players in an individual setting, or a group setting, even after the NBA combine is complete.
It just would have been nice to see what Smart can do on the floor, without the basketball. Zach Lavine is stepping up at least. Perhaps Marcus Smart will get a chance to prove himself against Zach Lavine, down the line.