For the first time in NBA Draft Combine history, top prospects will be divided into four teams and play 5-on-5 scrimmages in front of NBA scouts. This gives prospects, specifically international and mid-major prospects, the opportunity to show what they bring to the NBA level.
It also allows scouts to see prospects in different positions and play roles similarly to what they’ll play at the next level, along with each prospects’ adjustment to an extended three-point line. Who are the players to watch that’ll take advantage of the opportunity and boost their stock at the NBA level?
Reminder: You can watch the NBA Draft Combine, which airs at 3-7 p.m. ET, on ESPN2.
George de Paula
Brazilian point guard George de Paula was one of my three winners of the measurement testing at nearly 6-6 with a 7-foot(!) wingspan, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles bigger, more athletic players than he saw playing in junior leagues in Brazil. How will Ryan Boatright compensate for his lack of height in this environment?
J.P. Tokoto needs to prove he can hit an outside shot after making only 21 college three-pointers in three years at North Carolina. This team has versatile athletes in its frontcourt, with Brandon Ashley, Rakeem Christmas and Aaron White all capable of playing multiple positions.
Corey Hawkins (UC-Davis) will need to show he can produce among high quality opponents after playing in a lower league in college, and shooters Olivier Hanlan and Anthony Brown must show they’ve adjusted to the NBA three-point line with ease.
How will this team hold up in the trenches? French big man Mouhammadou Jaiteh must show he can compete with the top frontcourt prospects in the draft. At nearly 6-11 with a 7-3.25 wingspan and 250 pounds, he has the size and girth to do so.
Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green) and Larry Nance (Wyoming) come from a lower level of competition, so they might be in for an adjustment. How will Terry Rozier fare playing point guard in a structured setting? Will Quinn Cook play point guard like he did before Tyus Jones arrived at Duke?
Dez Wells, a small forward at Maryland, measured out poorly at 6-4 in shoes, so which position will he be able to play and guard? Shooters Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame), Terran Petteway (Nebraska) and Treveon Graham (VCU) will need to show scouts they can hit a three-point shot from NBA distance.
Michael Frazier II
Brandon Dawson (MSU) will need to prove he can play inside at the NBA level, as his athleticism and strength allowed him to do so in college. Four-year mid-major prospects Keifer Sykes (UW-GB) and Marcus Thornton (William & Mary) get their chance to prove they belong while scrimmaging against the best guards in the draft.
Michael Qualls (Arkansas) will have to improve his perimeter ability to survive in the NBA. Joseph Young (Oregon) will have an opportunity to show scouts he can handle playing point guard in the NBA and hope they see him as a potential change-of-pace, backup point guard at the next level.
Shooters Michael Frazier III (Florida) and Aaron Harrison (Kentucky) will have to prove they aren’t one-dimensional and have extended to the three-point line. TaShawn Thomas (Oklahoma) and Jordan Mickey (LSU) will have to display strength and toughness to survive in the trenches to make it in the NBA.
Chris Walker (Florida) has the most to prove on this list after two underwhelming seasons in college. Is he more than just an athlete? This is his time to show exactly that. What position will Andrew Harrison play? Can he handle point guard at an NBA level?
Tweener Chasson Randle (Stanford) will have to show he can handle playing point guard for his NBA chances to increase. T.J. McConnell (Arizona) has to prove he can handle point guards defensively to improve his stock, despite his athletic shortcomings. Shooting guard Norman Powell (UCLA) has to improve his perimeter ability (31.9 percentage from three as a senior) for his chances to improve at making it in the NBA.
What position will Jonathon Holmes (Texas) play and defend? He played everything from 2-4 in college. Up front, undersized big men Alan Williams (UC-Santa Barbara) and Vince Hunter (UTEP) will have to shoulder the load against quality competition. How will they hold up against NBA athletes? This is Tyler Harvey’s (Eastern Washington) chance to show he belongs as a late first-round pick.