NBA Draft Combine: Athleticism Test Analysis
Cody Zeller 35.5″ no-step vert, 37.5″ max vert, 10.82 lane agility, 3.15 sprint, 17 bench reps
While people knew that Cody Zeller could run the floor better than just about any other big man in the draft, he still managed to surprise with just how well he did as an overall athlete. He had the heighest no-step vertical in the draft, with his 35.5″ leap actually being the highest no-step vert in draft combine history for a player taller than 6-9. With his length being a concern, even while measuring at a legit 7-feet, Zeller’s combine numbers should have teams in the mindset that he could make a successful move to the PF spot. If he shows legitimate shooting range in his individual workouts, than they could combine with these strong results to move him up the lottery.
Victor Oladipo 33″ no-step vert, 42″ max vert, 10.69 lane agility, 3.25 sprint, 15 bench reps
Another Hoosier who was destined to kill the athleticism testing, Oladipo lived up to his reputation as an athletic monster. He showed speed, agility and strength that give him the potential to be a great perimeter defender, plus potential on the offensive end. Oladipo equalled top SG prospect Ben McLemore on the max vert, than bested him in every other measurement. While not possessing McLemore’s picturesque shooting mechanics or overall offensive acumen, Oladipo’s testing almost guarantees he stays at the top half of the lottery.
Shane Larkin 34.5″ no-step vert, 44″ max vert, 10.64 lane agility, 3.08 sprint, 12 bench reps
Players with a lack of size tend to make up for it in other ways and Larkin painted a picture of exactly how he managed to propel himself from relative unknown to a first round lock. Larkin posted numbers that might make Nate Robinson envious. Seeing what Nate did this year on the Bulls and his impact as a scorer, spark plug off the bench should only help Larkin’s standing. Though Shane does not possess a football build like Robinson, he still shows strength and toughness with his combine numbers. Speed kills in the NBA and this is a prospect who showed he has an ability to be a potential game changer with his athletic tools.
Tony Mitchell 33.5″ no-step vert, 38″ max vert, 13 bench reps
Already known as an explosive athlete, Mitchell once again tantalized with his physical and athletic tools at the combine. He cleared the vert mechanism at one point, they actually had to raise it to accomodate him. His long arms also make the 13 bench reps even more impressive. While he was not a huge standout in the sprint and agility portion, these will be things that he can work on. What he showed with his athletic ability will make him a very hard player to pass up later in the first round with potential to eventually fit in some rotation with his raw ability.
Peyton Siva 33.5″ no-step vert, 41.5″ max vert, 10.59 lane agility, 3.16 sprint, 15 bench reps
One has to mention Peyton Siva as a winner here, even if it was not surprising to see his vertical being over 40″. He measured slightly taller than expected and while that still leaves a bit to be desired, it seems he has gained a great deal of strength during his time at Louisville. Siva has toughness and leadership ability, his inconsistent play had some questioning whether he truly did possess the elite athleticism to be drafted. His numbers seem to improve those odds.
Solomon Hill 37.5″ max vert, 10.77 lane agility, 3.19 sprint, 14 bench reps
Hill managed to best most average numbers put up by small forward’s which should give teams confidence he could come in and compete as a 3. Certainly his maturity as a 4 year college player does not hurt, he seemed to be in solid shape and his numbers showed he had been working as an athlete. While Carrick Felix and Adonis Thomas also were standouts at the SF spot athletically, Hill’s prowess had to be an unexpected surprise. Certainly his running times besting both players should gain some recognition.
CJ Leslie 32.5″ no-step vert, 40.5″ max vert, 10.19 lane agility, 3.1 sprint
Sitting out the drill portion of the combine due to a wrist injury, Leslie proceeded to show no such ill effects in the athleticism testing. He posted the fastest lane agility time, highest max vert reach and blazing speed in the 3/4 court sprint. His athleticism still does not answer questions about his perimeter ability or ball skills, or his propensity to sometimes check in or out of games. What it does show is he has rare athleticism even by NBA standards and his fitting in at either forward spot could be a possibility if a team is willing to work with him.
Tim Hardaway Jr 31.5″ no-step vert, 37.5″ max vert, 10.68 lane agility, 3.25 sprint, 16 bench reps
With the look of a prototypical NBA 2-guard, Hardaway Jr. posted athleticism numbers that went along with the visual. Not an explosive leaper, yet a very solid one while his agility does show something to work with. Also, his 16 bench reps tied him with Isaiah Canaan for the lead amongst guards. He was a name being brought up quite a bit during the combine and the testing only furthered the belief that Hardaway Jr. could go somewhere in the early 20’s, or possibly higher.
Kenny Kadji 34″ no-step vert, 38″ max vert, 11.47 lane agility
Known mostly for his perimeter skills, Kadji was a surprise as a leaper. How much of this could be contributed to being in his athletic prime, as he just turned 25, yet his numbers still have to make teams take notice. Kadji displayed some strong ability as someone who could stretch the floor and while his rebounding is nothing to write home about, he definitely looks like a worthy gamble in the second round. Showing this kind of athleticism at this size, plus having a senior season on a team that was very strong for a majority of the season, solidifies this former highly rated recruit back on the NBA Draft radar.
Michael Carter Williams 31.5″ no-step vert, 41″ max vert, 10.68 lane agility, 3.22 sprint
He threw down a few highlight dunks this season at Syracuse, though his max vert still seemed like a definite surprise. Carter-Williams athleticism may not be world class, it just makes his being a potential PG at the NBA level seem much more viable. He already displayed quick hands and some ability to penetrate, with his athletic testing numbers giving a sample of other possible things he could develop as far as his on-court ability. His shooting issues are still ever present, though he also displayed athleticism that have to be seen as a big positive.
Kelly Olynyk 24.5″ no-step vert, 29.5″ max vert, 3.59 sprint, 5 bench reps
Watching Olynyk try to get off of the ground is not a pretty sight. He was not known as an athlete and has a skill package that makes up for it in some ways. He also had a solid time in the lane agility, which at least could point to a possible display of lateral quickness, though his straight line speed is well below average. Also, measuring with a wingspan under 6-10, his lack of reps on the bench press could point to major issues as far as upper body strength. By no means did Olynyk kill himself at the combine and he still has the makings of a potential top 20 pick in this draft. The bottom line is, these numbers did not really do him any favors as far as how he may adjust to facing the speed and strength in the NBA’s trenches.
DeShaun Thomas 28.5″ no-step vert, 32″ max vert, 12.94 lane agility, 3.53 sprint, 5 bench reps
One ESPN analyst commented on day one “what is the difference between Shabazz Muhammad and DeShaun Thomas”? While there are indeed some similarities between the two in style and body type, the major difference came in the form of their athletic testing numbers. Thomas looked like he was in good shape and showed that he is just not really a great athlete by NBA standards. His lane agility was the worst in the draft, with Thomas actually finishing with a slower time than former teammate Jared Sullinger did before. You are drafting Thomas for his ability rather than his athleticism, however his results left a major question mark as far as exactly who he can defend at the next level.
Rudy Gobert 25″ no-step vert, 29″ max vert, 12.85 lane agility, 3.57 sprint, 7 bench reps
One of the major subjects on Day 1 of the athletic combine was the freakish measurables of Rudy Gobert. He definitely measures out impressively, with the down side being definite awkwardness in his movement. Gobert appears to be very much a plodder rather than a runner and this could be a serious problem. His vertical is not as much of an issue as his speed and lateral quickness, as well as possible issues with his upper body strength. The French center should be able to block shots, however he also looks like he can be taken advantage of inside and off of the dribble. He is very intriguing due to his length, just will caution that it does come with a definite downside.
Myck Kabongo 27.5″ no-step vert, 33.5″ max vert, 3.34 sprint, 2 bench reps
Apologize for having it seem like I am ganging up on the Canadians, Myck’s numbers were just a tad underwhelming. Known for his blazing quickness, he did quite well in the lane agility drill while the rest of his numbers left you scratching your head. He seemed to have gotten quite a bit stronger during his time at Texas, though at the same time it appears that his long (unfair) suspension might have been a large deterrent. Kabongo did not post the scores that help his draft stock and while the combine does not measure attitude or leadership, athleticism is still a large part of what one looks for in a NBA PG.
Archie Goodwin 30″ no-step vert, 36″ max vert, 3.27 sprint, 1 bench press rep
It seems almost like people are ganging up on Archie Goodwin as his draft stock has taken a tumble, however it is hard to leave him off this list. Archie’s combine numbers were supposed to be a breath of fresh air and elevate him, instead they just leave further question marks regarding how ready he is for the NBA. His lateral quickness was solid in lane agility, though his vertical numbers were at least a few inches below what many might have expected. For a player whose athleticism was supposed to be a big selling point, his combine numbers will probably not have too many buyers.
Top 5 No-Step Vert
1. Cody Zeller: 35.5″
3. Kenny Kadji: 34″
Top 10 Max Vert: aka “The 40+ Club”
1. Shane Larkin: 44″
t-2. Victor Oladipo: 42″
t-2. Ben McLemore: 42″
4. Peyton Siva: 41.5″
5. Michael Carter Williams: 41″
t-6. CJ Leslie: 40.5″
t-6. Adonis Thomas: 40.5″
t-6. Isaiah Canaan: 40.5″
t-6. Glen Rice Jr: 40.5″
10. Ray McCallum: 40″
Top 3 Positional Lane Agility
Top 3 Positional 3/4 Court Sprint
Top 3 Positional Bench Press