NBA combine roundup: Zach LaVine wows with athleticism

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.

  • Mark

    Don’t nobody care about Lavine. He bailed on Ucla so I don’t care. Hope to see him in the D-League.

  • NOBSisdaMAN

    I love the guy. Knows smelly fish. Got out.

    • ProbationU

      Lucky for you, SC seldom has a problem with players leaving early for the league.

      • NOBSisdaMAN

        If they can’t get a job, they join the military. Like a.k.a. you know who

        • ProbationU

          You are a sick and perverse old Trojan. There is only 1 kind of job you can get…and you have to be on the giving side rather than the receiving end.

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            Oh, go play war. You can be the Army and sonny boy the Navy. Just like football.

          • ProbationU

            Such a child. You should change the name from NOBS to ALLBS.

          • NOBSisdaMAN

            You should change yours to Pea You.

            And YES, I know the spelling.

            Pow Pow. Pow. BOOM! Grenade attack! Duck.

            Burp. Pass the beer sonny.

    • Tommy B Low Us

      You must be talking about your Mom.

      • NOBSisdaMAN

        Actually yours

      • NOBSisdaMAN

        FlAGged again.

  • Curio

    With all of the public discussion by the Lavine family about how Zach was used by Alford, why has the Daily News not written much about it? I would be interested in hearing the take of a beat reporter.

    Did Alford play his son over Lavine at the point because of nepotism?

  • Biglar

    There’s a reason why many skip the combine – measurables don’t mean much if you have huge holes in your game. Lavine is fast. But he is also weak physically, an inconsistent shooter, and shows a bad attitude and low basketball IQ. And despite his speed he hasn’t shown himself to be any kind of defensive stopper whatsoever – he mostly just used it in transition. That said, somebody is going to take a flier on him in the middle of the first round in hopes that he matures mentally and physically while ironing out the inconsistencies in his game because of his core speed and jumping ability. Odds are that team will be wrong about him, but odds are they would have been wrong about most other players they would have drafted in that position.

    It looks like Anderson and Adams were the fat kids of college basketball the last couple of years. It makes me wonder whether they weren’t partying a little too much at UCLA, which could help explain the pudge factor. In many ways they are the anti-Lavine – they both have high basketball IQs, core strength, and a good shooting stroke. They’re just fat. So what’s better, a fast, weak kid with poorly developed basketball skills, or a fat, slow kid with strength and excellent basketball skills? It seems more likely to me that Jordan and Kyle lose the weight and gain some speed and athleticism than Lavine gets strong (actually pretty easy to do, but not for everybody) and improves his attitude and skills (much more of a crapshoot, but doable), but I could be wrong about that. And the final answer could be none will make it, or all of them.

    But Jordan and Kyle can just talk to Kevin Love about what they need to do to slim down and take their game to the next level. In Jordan’s case, it seems as though if he could drop another 9 or 10 pounds, his speed is likely to be nicely improved. Given his already strong hands and core strength, he may then be fast enough to adequately guard the NBA 2, given his inherent strength. And the 2 was always suspected to be his NBA position, given his lack of optimal NBA small forward length even with the “stretched” measurements.

  • Brrrrruins

    Who cares about the visitors who claim to be Bruin scholar athletes? Not me. Let’s show the real Bruins, like Troy Aikman, etc. who really are scholar athletes and get their degrees, the love. These kids don’t know better, so no animosity, but they aren’t Bruins.

  • George Valbuena III

    Lavine had some flashes of brilliance….he OBVIOUSLY wore down in a 30 game college schedule (2 games a week)…that was a as a bench player…so how will he handle playing 3-4 games a week in a 80 game schedule…he had some lame turnovers in key games…TOO INCONSISTENT…

  • George Valbuena III

    …NO WONDER…the NBA insists on promoting a few superstars & not the whole of their product…CAUSE…their product is dull boring lousy basketball…RIGHT NOW…their is some kid prepping for his senior year in high school…who could probably play circles around Lavine & half of the NBA non-talents

  • George Valbuena III

    …4got to mention…Lavine truly was adept at passing the ball…to the players on the other team