The NBA Draft Lottery is over. Now the draft season can really begin.
The Orlando Magic know they will now pick sixth and 11th in the draft thanks to the Lottery results. But a lot of the purpose and work in Chicago is still ongoing. The NBA Draft Combine is the first big event directly involving NBA teams in the draft process.
Teams have reviewed all the game tape and scout notes. Now they get the opportunity to do two things.
The first is to sit down and interview players for the first time. Most of the teams are using these NBA-arranged interviews to build their draft file and perhaps sit down with players they may not otherwise get to see. Then teams are likely to coordinate with agents when they could get players in for workouts.
The second came Monday when the league did official measurements for all the prospects in attendance — giving everyone the baseline for their actual heights, wingspans, etc. They also began running through some basic drills before the 5-on-5 scrimmages began Wednesday.
The NBA Draft Combine has come and given us some new data points — and wingspans — as we think about the Orlando Magic’s needs and who they typically like to draft.
The Magic indeed are already pretty busy. We will go over the players with the longest wingspans a little later. And Orlando has been confirmed to have interviewed prospects Amen and Ausar Thompson at least.
The Lottery order is set now, so a new mock draft will be coming next week.
The Combine and the results of these measurements and drills give us at least a glimpse of whether some of our previous analyses were correct or not.
It is a good time to update our big board. So with this big board, we will look at the draft class based on the Magic’s wants and needs. But also noting the Combine results and what the Magic like to see from their draft prospects.
The Magic will have a lot to consider and it is clear there are a lot of options for them to weigh.
There is no debating who will go first in this draft. So congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs. Victor Wembanyama is the only major prospect who is not attending the NBA Draft Combine. His team in France is finishing up their season and preparing for the playoffs.
Neither Scoot Henderson nor Brandon Miller got their measurements taken during the NBA Draft Combine. This is the typical process for players at the very top of the draft.
These two players are very close and should be very close in the Orlando Magic’s mind.
Henderson fits a clearer positional need as a driver and guard to fill in that shooting guard spot. But his poor shooting stands out.
Miller does not have a clear positional fit, but a 6-foot-9 forward who can playmake, defend and hit shots is still worth consideration. Even if it means pushing Paolo Banchero or Franz Wagner into some uncomfortable spots.
Amen and Ausar Thompson are twins.
How much of twins are they? Every one of their measurements was exactly the same — or virtually the same.
The duo clocked in at 6-foot-5.75 without shoes and a 7-foot wingspan. Their other measurements were almost exactly the same — Ausar had a 9.25 inch hand width while Amen came in at 8.5 inches. The other big difference was Ausar had a standing reach of 8-foot-8 compared to Amen’s 8-foot-7.5.
That is enough to keep Ausar ahead for me. Althoguh concerns about both of their jumpers is warranted.
Taylor Hendricks is going to have his work cut out for him to prove himself in the NBA. He stood out on the college floor with his shot-blocking and solid defense. He looks like a very versatile defender who will be able to switch on the floor.
His numbers should confirm that he can do a lot of these things too. Hendricks measured out at 6-foot-8.25 without shoes and a 7-foot-0.5 wingspan with an 8-foot-11 standing reach. That is plenty long to affect shots.
His agility looks good too. He had the ninth-best standing vertical leap at 32.5 inches although his max vertical leap of 38.0 inches will leave something to be desired.
Nobody probably had a better showing at the NBA Draft Combine than Villanova forward Cam Whitmore. And this is already a prospect who many believe can be a difference maker. Whitmore does have lead ballhandler potential.
Whitmore measured at 6-foot-5.75 without shoes with a 6-foot-8.5 wingspan. That is not going to get him drafted alone. Instead what you should look at is his toughness and his athleticism, especially in tight spaces.
Whitmore posted the fourth-best max vertical leap at 40.5 inches. Whitmore is really good jumping off two feet with a running start. And that showed in this Combine shooting.
Gradey Dick is still the best shooter in this Draft. That obviously has value for the Orlando Magic especially. And that is going to be an important thing to look at.
Dick was never going to measure well. But here they are: 6-foot-6.25 height without shoes, 6-foot-8.75 wingspan, 8-foot-5 standing reach, 29.0-inch standing vertical leap and 34.0-inch max vertical leap. Again, that is not where Dick is meant to impress.
Jarace Walker also had a really impressive NBA Draft Combine. He did not disappoint and he is the kind of player that at least physically matches what the Orlando Magic like to see.
Walker may have measured with a smaller-than-expected 6-foot-6.5 height without shoes. But he had the longest wingspan among likely first-round picks at 7-foot-2.5. You can insert your jokes there.
But that is not where Walker stopped. Walker had a 38.0-inch max vertical leap and a 34.5-inch standing vertical leap (the fourth-best at the Combine). His 10.89 seconds lane agility drill time also suggests he will be able to move laterally pretty quickly.
From a physical standpoint, Walker checks off all the boxes for a team. He is basketball smart too and that warrants consideration from around the league, even if there are questions about his offensive abilities.
Anthony Black probably had the best Draft Combine showing among guards. And it deserves some mention and merit. And, for now, a bump up in our big board. Because Black does fit a lot of what the Magic have historically drafted as one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft class.
Black measured in at 6-foot-5.75 without shoes with a 6-foot-7.5 wingspan. Not the greatest for a plus wingspan. But his athleticism showed out in the agility drills. He posted a 32.0-inch standing vertical leap, 13th overall, and a 39.0 inch max vertical leap sixth overall.
I will certainly start pumping the brakes on my love for Jordan Hawkins. I am personally pretty locked in on drafting Hawkins with the 11th pick of the draft. His shooting ability is really strong and that is something the Orlando Magic need so desperately.
He is the one slipping in our big board after the Combine because of what others do, not necessarily for what Hawkins did.
Hawkins measured in at 6-foot-4.25 with a 6-foot-6.75 wingspan. Like Gradey Dick, the Magic are probably not drafing Jordan Hawkins for his measurables and more for his skills. Unfortunately, these measurables are our latest data points for now.
Cason Wallace might very well win the award for most Orlando Magic player in this draft — if not for Jarace Walker. Wallace also has the measurables we all love about the Magic’s draft history under Jeff Weltman. He posted a +6-inch wingspan, measuring in at 6-foot-2.5 with a 6-foot-8.5 wingspan.
That stuff is impressive. And certainly backs up the defensive reputation Wallace has built up.
His biggest drawback is that he is not the athlete everyone thought he might be. He posted a 36-inch max vertical leap and 28-inch standing vertical leap, the third-worst among guards.
There is always a lot of good that comes with the bad with this draft class.
Quite surprisingly, Keyonte George, Brice Sensabaugh and Nick Smith Jr. did not participate in the NBA Draft Lottery. So we are going to knock them down as punishment.
All three though are prospects the Magic should be considering and looking at. Keyonte George looks like a knock-down shooter. Brice Sensabaugh is a bowling ball of a scorer with some range and ability to shoot off the dribble. And Nick Smith Jr. is a great athlete and finisher who had injuries hamper his lone season in college.
Jalen Hood-Schofino is going to turn heads with his measurements at the NBA Draft Combine. He measured in at 6-foot-4.25 without shoes with a 6-foot-10.25 wingspan. That kind of measurement is going to turn heads.
Hood-Schofino is going to be the lesson of a player with some more experience who is good at a lot of things, but maybe not fantastic as any one thing. That is going to be why some people do not want to draft him. But he can play and these measurements will help his cause to climb boards.
GG Jackson is known right now for his raw length and energy. That was on display at the NBA Draft Combine. He measured in at 6-foot-8.25 without shoes and a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan. He also had an 8-foot-10 standing reach. His 37-inch max vertical leap was among the top marks in the Combine.
Rayan Rupert is you mega-long player of the NBA Draft. The French forward measured at 6-foot-6 without shoes with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. A +6 wingspan that is over 7-feet is enough to make Jeff Weltman and John Hammond fate — at least in Orlando Magic inside joke lore.
But buyer beware for now. Rupert does not necessarily know how to use all that length. His 27.5-inch standing vertical leap was the ninth-worst at the Combine. His 32.5-inch max vertical leap was equally unimpressive.
Rupert projected as a raw prospect anyway. And this is a sign that there is less to work with than anticipated.
Dereck Lively II did not participate in the NBA Draft Combine. He is the second-best center in this Draft class and is known as a solid rebounder and potentially good shot blocker. But he will have to show a lot in his pre-draft workouts.
Just when Kobe Bufkin was seemingly gaining some momentum, the NBA Draft Combine is going to knock him down a few pegs. Bufkin measured fine at 6-foot-4.25 without shoes and a 6-foot-7.75 wingspan. But his athleticism measured only slightly better than Cason Wallace. And Bufkin is not exactly thought of as highly as Wallace.
That is our update to the Big Board after the NBA Draft Combine. We will be back next week with our first Mock Draft after the Lottery.