New Orleans Pelicans at the Draft Combine: Day One

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!?!?!

24 responses to “New Orleans Pelicans at the Draft Combine: Day One”

  1. You guys cover the Pelicans better than NOLA. Great recap of day one. If we plan to keep EG, Olidipo would be a good pick b/c someone has to play D in the rotation.
    I do think we have a chance for a PG in FA comapred to a SG. Burke’s numbers were surprising to me and I think he is higher on the board than Porter.

    Is this Saric kid better than Gobert? Bigs are hard to come by and I think we are better looking at one this year. Next year there are a lot of wing players and some PG.

    • Saric is a 3, not a big. I do like him though. Woulnt be upset with that pick. Gobert, if he looks good today might be tempting too. That paint defense could be frightening. Oladipo is who I’m hoping for though.

  2. If the Pelicans get the #1 pick, they should trade back, because Noel is rail thin and recovering from a major knee injury. That being said, he would be nowhere near #1 on my big board because right now even if healthy, he couldn’t play either of the big positions in the NBA.

    Oladipo and Porter would be my picks, McClemore, Burke and McCollum are intriguing though. If we traded back a bit after the lottery, I could envision one of the bigs like Saric, Gobert, or Len developing so we could play with Memphis and other big teams out West.

  3. I like mclemore and oladipo as the best prospects though as of now we have 4 2 guards already, many masquerading as point guards. Otto definitely fits a need better though drafting for need is never a good idea. I’m still imagining a trade down might be nice for mcw, shroder, saric et al. Starting to really like the idea of packaging our pick in a trade for bledsoe and clippers pick. Maybe even clippers pick + lopez or other asset to move up to saric / shroder range

  4. I say if Oladipo’s not available, we trade down and get

    Adetokunbo. (put him at SF and play point forward, leave Greivis in as off-the-ball shooter PG)

    Kid has tremendous potential, like a Magic/Durant hybrid. Could be VERY interesting. My question is whether or not he’s had solid competition.

      • Just to give an idea of the level of competition he is playing against in those videos – most AVERAGE United States high school teams could destroy those teams. That is the big question with him. He is at least 2-3 years away from even being a rotation player

      • Seriously though, the kid can’t even pronounce HIS OWN name. How are Ryan and Michael gonna manage? 🙂

        Competition will hurt him. He may fall to the 2nd round if he’s selected at all. The combine may be his only shot. He’s got very unique physical tools.

  5. Hope someway, somehow Stern gives us.. I mean we get top pick so we can trade the pick for a lower spot within top 5. Gives us leverage for people who want Noel.
    I like your Big Board but I’d just put Burke in front of Len.
    Geaux Pels

  6. Zeller’s doing some good work in the drills right now. Predictions of his free fall might be premature.

  7. I know that Alex Len isn’t at the combine due to his ankle surgery, but I’d love to see you guys break down why his stock is rising and how he’d (if healthy) fit next to AD23 and allow the Hornets to continue their slow buildup towards domination of the Western Conference.

  8. “but I just don’t know how Zeller sells himself to teams”

    And that’s how he did :
    Zeller : standing vert 35″5 max vert 37″5 sprint 3.15, agility 10.82

    For comparison :
    Blake Griffin : standing vert 32″, max vert 35″5, sprint 3.28 , agility 10.95
    Andre Drummond : standing vert 31″5, max vert 33″5, sprint 3.39, agility 10.83
    Dwight Howard : standing vert 30″5, maw vert 35″5, sprint 3.14, agility 11.21

    Even though I’m pretty sure Zeller cheated on his reach (downsizing it to improve the impression on his explosiveness), this guy is on the same level of the best athlete bigs in recent years and his speed is amazing (comparable to… John Wall).

    So he’s an explosive 7-footer with high bball IQ, great tools for playing pick-&-roll (both offense and defense) and legit low post game. Why not have 10 of them ?

    I could even write a 1000-word post on why he’s the perfect fit for the pelicans!

  9. Is there a link to the “measurables” coming out of the 2013 pre-draft camp? I looked but couldn’t find them.

  10. I’d draft C.J. McCollum (and put him at PG) before I draft Len. C.J. McCollum had great college productivity (including destroying River’s Duke team last year) and strong camp numbers.

  11. I hope you’re right and Shabazz isn’t on the top of our board! I think it’d be awesome if the Kings took him hahahaha…

    Also the thought of Noel and AD together makes me kinda giddy.. but I also think that with Noel you’re hoping you get some one like Larry Sanders… and I wouldn’t take that with my top pick! If we got him at 5 or 6.. that’d be nice

  12. @lsutigers33 Thank you sir! Give big props to Mr. McNamara he’s been doing his thing of late. Be sure to follow him on twitter as well!

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