New Orleans Pelicans at the Draft Combine: Day One

Published: May 16, 2013

Today was day one of the NBA Draft Combine, and here were some takeaways from the first day.

Victor Oladipo is Dwayne Wade

Well, at least when it comes to measurables. It is kind of scary how close the two are when it comes to their measurements at the combine. Wade was a quarter of an inch taller and boasts an inch longer wingspan and standing reach, but Oladipo has slightly bigger hands and lower body fat while weighing in at one pound less than Wade. Tomorrow we will see Oladipo’s athleticism tested. For the record, Dwayne Wade had a max vert of 35 inches, was average in the agility drill (10.56 sec.), and absolute killed it in the 3/4 sprint (3.08 seconds). Production wise, Wade was a much better scorer in college and created more for others, while Oladipo was the better on-ball defender and perimeter shooter. The two are very similar in terms of rebounding and intangibles.

Oladipo probably won’t have the career that Wade has had, but there weren’t many who predicted this kind of career for Wade coming out of college. There were questions about his ability to knock down the perimeter shot and some thought he was extremely turnover prone as well. Wade slowly added a perimeter game to his repertoire and once teams had to respect that, he got into the lane at will. Once he could get into the lane at will, he lived at the free throw line. If reports of his work ethic are true, expect a similar progression in Oladipo’s offensive game.

Trey Burke Isn’t Who We Thought He Was!

There were whispers coming into this combine that Burke would measure under six feet. Wrong. In shoes, he came in just a tad over 6’1″ and he had a wingspan of 6’5.5″. Both were higher than Chris Paul’s measurements coming out of Wake Forest and he even weighed five pounds more than Paul. As I wrote in my Missing Piece last week, though, it will be all about tomorrow for Burke. He has enough size to be a Tony Parker/Lawson kind of point guard, but those guys had blazing speed and agility to make up for their lack of ideal size. If he tests well in those areas and has good individual workouts, he could be a top three pick, which is amazing when you consider he was projected around twenty just 2-3 months ago. And for the record, the New Orleans Pelicans were one of the teams to interview Burke.

Shabazz Had a Very Good Bad Day

Shabazz Muhammad was praised for being one of the only big names to participate in all the drills and he said all the right things in interviews. The problem came when teams actually watched him in those drills and got the results of his measurements. He defended fairly well in the drills, but he bricked shot after shot, and he measured more like a shooting guard than a small forward today. The guys over the last five years that Muhammad’s height and wingspan measurements are most similar to are Xavier Henry, Marquis Daniels, Caron Butler, Alec Burks, Brandon Rush, and Nick Young. If you notice, all of those guys (except for Butler) play primarily at shooting guard.

Muhammad could be a beast at shooting guard in the NBA for the right team because he should be able to post up 90% of the guys at that position in the league. The question is, however, whether he can stretch the floor as a two and whether he can defend shooting guard’s in the league. As of right now, the answer to the former is no, and we could get the answer to the later tomorrow when he does the agility drill. I have said in the past that he will be the small forward version of Eric Gordon – undersized, a solid scorer, but he won’t give you anything in the other categories. I was wrong. He won’t even be that good.

Other News and Notes

– Rudy Gobert killed it today. Last year, Meyers Leonard shot up 10-15 spots during the combine. Today, Gobert might have done the same thing as he had measurables unlike anything we have ever seen at the combine. He registered the second longest wingspan ever (7’8.5″) , the second highest standing reach ever (9’7″), and stood 7’2″ in shoes with very little body fat (4.4%). On top of that, he really moved well in defensive drills and was able to contest everything. This isn’t Hasheem Thabeet; this guy can move. It’s all about the agility drill for him tomorrow. If he can run anywhere between 12.00 and 12.50, he could shoot up into the top seven. He will definitely be a lottery pick, and he is now battling Alex Len for the #2 center spot after Nerlens Noel.

– Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk are bound to plummet down draft boards. They both had wingspans that were shorter than their height and scouts hate that. It severely limits their ability to protect the rim. Olynyk might be okay if he can show his range in workouts, as he can sell himself as Okur 2.0, but I just don’t know how Zeller sells himself to teams because he didn’t show a perimeter game in college this year. This would have sounded crazy two months ago, but as of today, I could easily Zeller being drafted after Jeff Withey, Steven Adams, and Gorgui Dieng.

– It’s not a huge concern, but Otto Porter weighed in at just 197 pounds. He had very similar measurements to Danny Granger with regard to height, wingspan, standing reach, etc. but was nearly 30 pounds lighter than Granger coming out of college. That is kind of a big deal. We saw Rivers struggle mightily because of how frail he was this year and Porter could have similar struggles early on. He is similar in size to Corey Brewer coming out of college and Brewer had difficulties early in his career despite being a terrific college player. Porter is more skilled than Brewer coming out of college, but the thin frame will worry some GM’s.

– As of today, I believe the Pelicans Big Board goes: Noel, McLemore, Oladipo, Porter, Len, Burke, Saric, Gobert. Barring somebody coming out of nowhere in individual workouts, it will be one of those guys or a trade. My money has been on Oladipo for over a month now. That could change, however, depending on the results of the lottery on Tuesday.

– Some guys were 1 inch bigger in shoes vs. w/o shoes. Others gained an inch and a half. What!?!?!


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