To understand just how well Zach LaVine did at this week’s NBA Draft Combine, take a look at these numbers: first, second, eighth, fourth, third.
That’s what he placed in strength and agility drills among 59 participants, doing so with — respectively — a 10.42-second lane agility drill, a 2.8-second shuttle run, a 3.19-second three-quarter sprint, a 33.5-inch standing vertical, and a 41.5-inch max vertical. No one else placed top-10 in all five.
The NBA combine doesn’t usually move draft stock as much as the NFL’s does, so top prospects often sit out of drills. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid all sat out completely this year, not even traveling to Chicago for interviews and measurements.
That said, this is exactly the type of environment LaVine was going to use to his advantage. Though his production fell off dramatically through the latter half of his freshman season at UCLA — single-digit scoring in 14 of his last 18 games — he nevertheless declared for the NBA based on the idea that: a) his promise made him a potential lottery pick, and b) he would develop that potential better in the pros than under Steve Alford.
Of note is that LaVine worked out as a point guard, the position he and his family have insisted he is better suited for. I’ve long thought that a best-case scenario for LaVine is fellow Washington native Jamal Crawford, who recently won his second Sixth Man of the Year trophy. LaVine probably needs two or three seasons before he starts averaging double-digit scoring, much like Crawford did before finding his niche as a combo guard.
His spot-up shooting was inconsistent. LaVine made 12-of-20 NBA 3-pointers from the corners and break areas, but was 2-of-5 from the top of the key. He was slightly worse at the college range: 7-of-10 from the break, but 3-of-10 from the corners and 3-of-5 from the top of the key.
He looked better on the move, hitting 14-of-18 off the dribble from 15 feet away.
» Jordan Adams only measured 6’3.5″ without shoes, but balanced that with an impressive 6’10” wingspan. However, he had the fifth-highest body fat percentage at 10.8 — despite weighing in at 209 pounds, down from the 220 listed on UCLA’s roster. Considering the way his body seemed to yo-yo in college, he likely played at over 15 percent body fat at one point. An NBA nutrition program would probably make this less of a concern.
Though Adams was at the bottom of nearly every strength and agility drill — ranking even behind several big men — he shot 17-of-25 on spot-up threes from NBA range, and 19-of-25 from the college arc. He shot 13-of-18 off the dribble.
» Kyle Anderson sat out of drills with an injury, but measured well against the other prospects. He stood 6’7.5″ without shoes to sneak into the top 20, but was seventh in standing reach (8’11.5″) and sixth in wingspan (7’2.75″). While his 13.35 percent body fat was the third-highest at the combine, his game has always been predicated more on vision and instincts than athleticism or quickness.
» DraftExpress currently has LaVine going at No. 16, Anderson at No. 23, and Adams at No. 26.
» Elsewhere out of the Pac-12 …
— Arizona’s Aaron Gordon narrowly missed out on the 40-inch vertical club, hitting a 39-inch max to lead all players taller than 6’6″ without shoes. His most impressive drill was his 2.76-second shuttle run, which bested LaVine for first place by 0.04.
— Arizona State’s Jahii Carson was the combine’s shortest player at 5’9.75″ without shoes, but tied for first with a 43.5-inch max vertical. However, he was in the middle of the pack in every other drill.
— Nick Johnson is literally a foot shorter than ASU 7-footer Jordan Bachynski, but his hands are barely smaller: 8.75 inches long and 9.75 inches wide vs. 9.25 and 10.0.