Does the NBA Draft Combine really matter? The NFL Draft Combine is one of the ways that players can sky rocket up team's draft boards or plummet down draft boards. The NBA Draft Combine is an whole different animal. While some parts of the combine are just a way to compare player's to the current draft eligible players, it is also a way to compare current NBA players, stars and flameouts.
In past Drafts, Kevin Durant was only able to not even be able to muster 1 rep of the bench press at 185 lbs. Obviously that doesn't matter today as Durant in the current NBA MVP. The combine has been able to teach some team's valuable lessons. There are other parts of the combine that matter a whole lots more. Before we go into specifics, it gives NBA Brass, coaches and scouts a chance to compare players to their peers. This is a way to compare body types, size and athleticism while players stand side by side.
While certain measurements at the combine are lousy indicators of potential and a player's ability, other measurements are much more important. Colleges and European clubs inflate all player's heights and weights. At the combine, their real height is measure with and without shoes. Their weight and their body fat are recorded. Another notable measurements include a player's wingspan and reach. Max vertical leap and max vertical reach are a way to for player's to build a little extra buzz about their leaping ability, while the agility and sprint drills can move player's above others.
A more important part of the combine are having the player's meet with each team's NBA doctors for a full medical evaluation. Every NBA team will then receive a report for all of the players that are examined. These reports can have a dramatic impact on a player's stock. While current NBA players like the Mavericks' DeJuan Blair and the Celtics' Jared Sullinger have had impact for NBA teams in their brief careers, the medical impacted their draft stock negatively. Ultimately, a lousy medical report will knock certain players down a few pegs, but does not mean they won't be serviceable or even a starter in the NBA. But for every Sullinger and Blair, there are players like the former no. 1 overall pick Greg Oden, who has turned out to be total bust. Perhaps NBA team's should have been more concerned with his medical history and evaluation, rather than just his skill set and potential. The combine presents NBA GM's, coaches, scouts and team psychologists their first chance for interviews with the potential draft candidate.
Three of the top players in this year's draft class all have decided it was best to skip the combine altogether. Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, and Kansas' Joel Embiid thought they had the most to lose by showing up to the combine in Chicago. Embiid would have had the most to lose from his medical evaluation. Embiid struggled towards the end of the season with a stress fracture in his back. These player's are not exempt from measurement, drills and medical evaluations but they are allowed to be selective about which teams they allow to test, measure, and talk to privately. These player's had a choice to show up and only participate in certain combine drills, but chose not to even show up.