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NBA Draft Combine Measurement Analysis: Winners and Losers

The measurement results of the NBA Draft Combine were released Wednesday, and with that, scouts are scouring to see if prospects fit a certain mold of position when projecting to the NBA. Some prospects really benefit from these results, while others see their stock decline if deemed too short, lacking length or their body fat percentage causes concern.

Some notables at the event were UConn point guard Ryan Boatright, who was the smallest player in attendance, measuring 5-11 in shoes. Kentucky center Dakari Johnson weighed in the heaviest, at 264.6 pounds. Robert Upshaw had the tallest standing reach and wingspan, at 9-5 and 7-5.5, respectively. Frank Kaminsky measured out to be the tallest in attendance, at 7-0.75 in shoes.

Those raw numbers are short-sighted, however, rarely showing the whole picture. That’s why they need to be taken with a grain of salt when assessing a prospect’s overall game. That being said, here are three winners and three losers from the measurement portion of the NBA Draft Combine.

Winners

3. George de Paula
6-6 200 PG/SG Brazil

Coming to the draft combine as a relative unknown, de Paula’s measurements for a point guard are off the charts. He measured in at 6-4.5 in socks, which put him at 6-5.5 in sneakers. He combines this size at point guard with an immense 7-0 wingspan, which would put him as arguably the longest point guard in the league. To compare, Shaun Livingston, a 6-7 Golden State backup point guard, has a 6-11 wingspan, which is one of, if not the longest, reach in the game for a lead guard.

Being a relative unknown to scouts, de Paula benefits greatly from his numbers. But how will his game translate when he gets out in front of scouts for the 5-on-5 portion? That’ll likely determine how much his stock increases, and if he’s able to make a push to be a late first-round pick.

2. Rakeem Christmas
6-10 243 PF/C Syracuse Senior

When scouting Rakeem Christmas, it was obvious he had NBA-level length, but a 7-5.25 wingspan (the second-longest of all prospects) is great for his projection for the next level. His numbers are borderline identical to Taj Gibson when he came out of USC. Both were 6-9.75 in shoes, Gibson’s wingspan was 7-4 while Christmas’s is 7-5.25 and their standing reaches were very close with Christmas edging Gibson 9-2.5 to 9-1.

Christmas also has almost 30 pounds on Gibson at the same stage, which will help him fight in the paint as a backup power forward or center almost immediately. Christmas was seen as a second-round pick originally, and with a solid performance in the 5-on-5 portion, could be picked at the end of the first round a la Gibson.

1. Robert Upshaw
7-0 260 Washington Sophomore

Upshaw was my No. 2 prospect most likely to win the measurement and athletic testing portion of the combine, but I didn’t expect him to be this big. Upshaw was the third-tallest player in attendance, at 7-0, and had the longest standing reach and wingspan, at 9-5 and 7-5.5, respectively.

To compare, DeAndre Jordan measured at 6-11 with a 7-6 wingspan and 9-5.5 standing reach, giving him enough size to compete with centers at the NBA level. He comes into the league along a similar developmental path of Jordan, extremely raw on the offensive end but a menacing shot blocker, averaging 7.2 blocks per 40 minutes at Washington this past season.

The question with Upshaw is his maturity level after being kicked off Washington midseason. When will teams take the risk on his immense size and shot blocking with his past history?

Losers

3. Frank Kaminsky
7-1 230 PF/C Wisconsin Senior

You might be asking yourself this: How can the tallest player at the event be a “loser?” Well, Kaminsky’s length, at 6-11, leaves a lot to be desired from a frontcourt prospect at the next level. It leaves open the question of: Which position will he be able to guard on defense? Kaminsky already has problems in the pick-and-roll due to a lack of lateral quickness, so how will that be exposed if he has to play power forward in the NBA?

If you play Kaminsky at center, he could have problems due to his lack of strength and elite length to contest the shots of bigger, more athletic centers. He’s a tweener defensively, but one bright spot for Kaminsky is his standing reach was tied for ninth among prospects, at 9-1.5. Kaminsky’s stock shouldn’t take much of a hit, as teams will value his versatility to play either a stretch 4 or 5 almost immediately, despite his defensive shortcomings.

2. Ryan Boatright
5-11 170 PG UConn Senior

Boatright was the smallest player in attendance, measuring the smallest in height, at 5-11 in shoes, and wingspan, at 6-0.5. His measurements don’t bode well for him as a potential second-round pick. Boatright ought to perform awfully well in the athletic portion of the combine to help compensate his lack of size and length.

Boatright’s best chance to make it in the league is as a change-of-pace backup point guard. His low weight will make it hard for him to stick in the league defensively, and his lack of length will make it difficult finishing at the rim. Boatright will have to prove people wrong in the 5-on-5 portion to show scouts he belongs with the best point guards in this draft.

1. Stanley Johnson
6-6 242 SF Arizona Freshman

Hyped as a physical specimen before arriving at Arizona, Stanley Johnson measured poorly compared to what many people thought. Johnson measured closer to 6-6 than 6-7, and his wingspan didn’t quite reach 7-0. At prior events, Johnson measured at closer to 6-7, 230 pounds, but didn’t hit those numbers at the combine.

His size now opens up a few more questions about whether he can effectively contest longer wing players at the NBA level. Johnson was known for his intensity and defensive acumen, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson often guarded the other team’s best wing player for Arizona. Johnson’s weight should give plenty of resistance on drives, but is he quick and athletic enough to stick with the explosive wing players he’ll see on a night-to-night basis in the NBA? Time will tell.

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