Watching the NBA draft combine on NBA TV you’ll hear a lot of talk about verticals, wingspans, reach and other metrics that are supposed to create a profile of a player and help teams weigh their options. I’m not sure exactly how much GMs read into these stats, but I can’t imagine it being much. These are statistics that should be used as a coarse filter for players, and little more than a cursory check. It’s kind of like when a child is born and you check their vital signs, see if they got 10 fingers and 10 toes etc. Sanity check for whether things are close to what’s being advertised.

I’d even argue that the results of the drills that are being performed in the combine are largely irrelevant beyond the aforementioned sanity check, and that GMs are more interested in the manner a player approaches the drill. The professionalism they display, the seriousness with which they approach the task, their attitude towards other players, etc. Scouts have been following these players all year long, they’ve seem them play countless competitive games so I find it hard to believe that their results in a controlled non-competitive environment is going to be the key to where they’re drafted. Sure, this camp will result in individual workout invites and what-not, but the off-the-court is what’s key here. GMs are putting a lot of emphasis on how a guy interviews, because the biggest potential problem for NBA players isn’t their core skill, but their attitude, professionalism, and mental approach to the game.

There aren’t many guys in the NBA who couldn’t make it because they weren’t athletic enough or couldn’t jump high enough, it’s always been whether they have the motor, the base skill (shooting for a shooter, passing for a PG, etc.), and whether they have a desire to collect more than a big paycheque.

On to some nonsense. You’ve already heard about the talk of the Raptors being interested in Dion Waiters, and the man is getting rave reviews by the combine analysts. Chad Ford, though, is sticking to his guns about the Raptors drafting a small forward. When asked what the top five small forwards were, he responded with Royce White, Quincy Miller, Moe Harkless, Harrison Barnes, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. When asked which small forward the Raptors would go for, he promptly said Terrence Jones. I don’t know how that works. Draft Express has the Raptors taking Jeremy Lamb which I think is asinine, because that guy just looks like he’d take lazy shots. And I didn’t like his comments about playing for the Raptors.

If the Raptors decide to keep the pick in favor of trading for a veteran, you have to ask what type of guy would Casey be interested in. Obviously, he’s not going to be draft a defensive dud and that’s why the Dion Waiters talk holds some weight. I remember when RR was calling for the Raptors to draft Avery Bradley to address the perimeter defensive issues in the 2010 draft; I’m sure if Casey was in charge at the time that would’ve happened. Now that he is, I fully expect a defensive-minded, solid instinct player who requires little direction to be drafted. With Jonas coming in, Bargnani and DeRozan staked as the 1/2 guys in terms of shots, there aren’t going to be shots available for a Beal or Barnes type player, so you have to be creative and get the best-fit guy.

The scene would’ve been different if the Raptors had a high pick, which is when you’d just draft the best player available. The #8 pick is just where you start looking at fit more than talent.

  • Theswirsky

    The 8th pick isn’t a high pick?  Anyone in the lottery should be drafting the BPA and not for need (I’d say anywhere in the draft really).  Thats how high quality players get missed.

    The Raps need every position. Colangelo drafting a SF when a better player at PG, SG, PF or C is available is a huge mistake. 

    • Sam Holako

      Can’t agree more; drafting for need gets you a Raphael Araujo and gifts Andre Iguodala to the Sixers.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        .

        But at 8th spot, BPA becomes subjective – so why not take a guy who’ll be able to produce for the team. As opposed to a PF who “might” be better than the player you take for need, but who’ll never get the court time to demonstrate.

        By the way Arsenalist … another great article.

        .

        • sleepz

          Why are you certain that selecting a player at another position that this player will be able to produce for the team?

          Raps have “needs” from pg – center.

          By not selecting the best player available you open up the possibility of not selecing a 4 (based on your example) that is currently better than any of the other 4’s you have on your roster just because you think you are set in that position.

          A 23 win lottery team has holes everywhere.

          You probably don’t draft a 3 if you are OKC and have Durrant or Miami as you have Lebron, but there is no position on the Raps that doesn’t need a talent upgrade.

          The problem I find with this way of thinking is that you think that the Raps are actually set up now and for the future, at any position. I could see the optimism for JV at the 5 but that would be the only position I feel even remotely comfortable with.

        • Theswirsky

          “But at 8th spot, BPA becomes subjective ”

          BPA is always subjective, whether at 1 or 60. 

          Need is also subjective. 

      • Phat AlberG

        Andre Iguodala is brutal the dude average 12 points a game last season

        • Sam Holako

          LMFAO

    • Tonystark

      I suggest Arsenalist read that post by Blake Murphy a little awhile ago about the kind of talent you can acquire with the number 8 pick over the last few drafts. Seriously, dude, read your own material before posting this junk. Wow.

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    “…..there aren’t going to be shots available for a Beal or Barnes type player….”
     That’s not true. It’s up to the coach decide who is shooting and who is not. You can play a rookie like Beal coming from the bench instead of DD and he could be your second option. In general unless the rookie name is KD/LBJ/DR/CP3/RW coaches are not giving them the 1nd/2nd option but Bobcats.
    This team is better than that as results and as potential.

    The real deal is how BC will use the TPE (7.6 m) before expiring. Ariza and 10th giving up the 8th and getting a PJ3 if available

    • sleepz

      The fact that the bulk of shots is being allocated to AB and DeRozan and therefore the non-drafting of players that fit around them or won’t be a possible primary or secondary scoring option, is the definition of insane.

      Are we watching the same team?

      • voy

        yeah, you cant not take a scorer just because ab/dd are supposedly intended to take the most shots for the raps.  they may very well end up taking the most shots during this next season but that doesn’t mean you dont take the best player available, even if he is a scorer, and hope he develops into a better player than DD. 

  • Jameyedwards04

    I believe Araujo was a “fit” pick for the Raps at 8th overall in 2004…Take the best player available and go from there (If you keep the pick of course).

    • Sam Holako

      The joke was Babcock passed over the likes of Al Jefferson, Kris Humphries and Josh Smith in favour of Araujo. There were much better fits than Araujo available.

      • mountio

        Araujo has nothing to do with fit. It has to do with picking a brutal player, when many better players were available (at all positions).
        Yes, of course, take the best player available .. but if its a legit toss up (which it looks like it could be) – then why would we not lean towards a SF or PG…?  

      • sleepz

        Interesting thing about that draft. Babcock drafted based on “need”. They had no other 5 on the roster but Nate Huffman at the time, so he reached for a player that he shouldn’t have.

  • jeffdg

    What did Lamb say about The Raptors?

    • sleepz

      Nothing at all. Saying he wasn’t picky about where he was going to be drafted.

      • Nilanka15

        That means he hates Toronto, and all of Canada!  KILL HIM!  KILL HIM NOW!!!

        • Phat AlberG

          He didn’t say that at all! He doesn’t care where he plays he wants to go to the best situation possible

          • Nilanka15

            It was a joke…

      • Morgan

        Just like every player.

  • voy

    terrance jones?!? certainly not with the eigth pick.  imagine a 2/3 of dd and t.jones? neither can shoot it consistently from deep and neither can consistently create their own shot against their better than average peers.

    terrance jones is an interesting player with his size and skill set but not with the eighth pick and not if you are planning to play him with dd.

    • sleepz

      I do really like Terrence Jones. I actually like him 2nd best of the Kentucky players that re coming out. He posted great “intangible numbers” (blcks, stl’s) at Kentucky, was a well established rebounder his 2 years there and although he has to work on the hitch in his shot he is a big body that can actually create.

      Maybe 8 is indeed a stretch but if a GM truly feels he can faceup consistently and play the 3, there are few prospects like him in this draft.

      • Bendit

        I understand he also gave up much of his game last season because of the talent on the team. It accounts for why he started the year off somewhat slowly

        • ckh26

          Doesn’t Terrance Jones game and projected game look very similar to what James Johnson does ?  Maybe he can do it better over time.. but the phrase “got one” comes to mind.  We need more talent. It may wind up being a Jones..  but the one from Baylor.

          • Nilanka15

            I was thinking the same thing about TJones and JJ.

          • sleepz

            For me he’s taller, wider and has far more scoring ability than Johnson will most likely ever have.

            I think Johnson might be a better man to man perimeter defender at this stage in his career but I beleive Jones potential exceeds what Johnson brings to the table imho.

  • Scott

    Who says the Raptors keep DeRozan?  He can score when force fed the ball but what else does he do?  Trade DeRozan and draft a SG who can dribble, shoot, and defend…. all of which are three areas that DeRozan struggles..

    • Dc

      I ca say the something about bargs too. Trade him first he’s already got his 7 years franchise try.

  • dribbles

    First of all, at the 8th pick, just who is going to be a consensus BPA? If there isn’t going to be one, it’s easier to draft for need so long as there’s not a clear difference in overall talent AND potential (e.g. Hoffa over Iggy).

    The potential/upside issue makes the BPA term itself pretty fucking problematic. Between Terrence and Perry Jones, for example, Terrence is probably the consensus better player NOW. But some GMs are going to want to swing for the fences, and sometimes (not often), it works out and they look like geniuses.

    I think if anything, GMs tend to underrate guys who have proven themselves during college, or who have proven they have elite NBA skills. If I had to pick a sleeper in this draft, it’s easily Draymond Green. He looks like a classic San Antonio pick. Nothing flashy, just a guy who knows how to play ball and does a lot well.

    • Nilanka15

      Colangelo needs to choose who HE thinks is the BPA, regardless of whether a consensus choice exists.

      • sleepz

        +1

        He’s paid to have his big board ready to go, so whomever is available at the #8 pick and is highest on his board is all that matters, not what the consensus is.

      • dribbles

        At #8 in this draft, I think most GMs are going to have a few guys in a similar tier. You’re not not going to have the same clarity as you would if you were picking in the top 3 or top 5. How the fuck could you? Look at the history of NBA drafts. Some of you guys seem to think there’s a science to this. Unless you’re
        Sam Presti and/or really lucky, it’s pretty much educated guessing.

        If you don’t have a lot of confidence that Jared Sullinger is going to be a better pro than say, Moe Harkless, and you like them both, and you’re certain Moe Harkless fills a need better, maybe it’s better to guess on Harkless.

        If BC has a clear, and I mean clear, BPA at 8, fine. He should take him. I just have a hard time seeing how a GM is going have a clear cut BPA at #8 unless someone slips.

    • Theswirsky

      “who is going to be a consensus BPA”

      whoever the executive staff (scouts, management etc.) thinks is the BPA. 

      “If there isn’t going to be one”

      there is ALWAYS going to be one. 

      • Katman

        If that were true then every mock draft would be the SAME

        • Theswirsky

          hardly…. every GM and individual will have different BPAs at each slot going into the draft.

  • Tevinpeterson

    The raptors should get Lillard or waiters either will contribute immediately . Lamb is a horrible fit for this team moving forward . Not big on his upside or attitude .

  • raptors

    terrence jones is a PF not a SF, a tweener at best!

  • Dave

    What did Lamb say about playing in Toronto?

    • raptors

      some reporter asked if he had workouts for toronto and if he would like to play there. he said he had no preference “not saying I want to go there, not saying I dont want to go there.” ,,,,he said nothing bad at all

    • Bendit

      At best/worst he was non-committal. Personal opinion: he doesnt do good interviews! …not going to wow anyone with his demeanor

      http://www.nba.com/raptors/video/jeremy-lamb-jun-7-2012 

      • FLUXLAND

        Non committal?  Need a translation?  How about:  “If I have to get drafted by the Raptors to get into the NBA, so be it; but really I’d like to be drafted by an organization not a circus show.”  Same comments were made by DD and Ed Davis when drafted. 

        Like FAQ always says: these kids don’t want to play here because it’s the Gulag of basketball. There’s no tradition, no culture, no development.. there is nothing here.You either come here to prove you belong in the L or to prove you shouldn’t be kicked out.

        • Raps416

          What did DD and Ed say about the raptors when drafted ?

          • guest

            nothing, he’s making shit up again

            • Bigt15

              I never heard of this either please provide the proof …..

        • voy

          did everyone not hear him say “I”m not picky” like, two seconds before the “controversial” statement.  totally overblown. reading subtext that isn’t there, in my opinion.

    • Phat AlberG

      He is looking for the best situation for him and he doesn’t care where he is drafted

  • Tonystark

    Honestly, the only reason I still visit RR is for Blake Murphy. This is one of the most ignorant posts I have read on RR in a long while.

    Really, Arsenalist? GM’s don’t read much into verticals, wingspans, and reach? Do you realize how incredibly stupid that statement is?

    This used to be a great blog but it has fallen on the wayside in recent months. Keep up the good work Blake Murphy.

    • ckh26

      We will miss ya laddie and your visits. Write if you get work. 

    • Lorenzo

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAA1xgTTw9w

    • Morgan

      No, he’s right, the combine is not a huge thing, doesn’t necessarily sway GM to drafting one guy over the other, that’s what college performance is for. I read a post where someone asked why the NFL combine gets way more publicity than the NBA one, the reason:

      I think the physical attributes tested at the combine mean more to the NFL than they do the NBA. The key things teams get out of this week are the interviews with players, the medical testing, the measurements and the chance to mingle with the other 30 teams. The stuff that happens on the court doesn’t make a huge impact. It’s too watered down

      And by the way, if the only reason you visit RR is for work by a particular writer, then why read this story, who isn’t by that said writer?

  • Phat AlberG

    I find a lot these comments on this site make me laugh seriously!  Some of these guys on this site have no idea about basketball and thinking that Rudy Gay and Iggy is worth a 8th pick in the deepest draft in 10 years is flat out ridiculous.  So your beloved Raptors want to trade the 8th pick with Calderon and Ed Davis for Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala wow! I rather keep the pick and over pay for Steve Nash and Ray Allen then see Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala in a Raptor uniform.   

    • Guest

      I agree that rudy gay is not worth the money. Iggy for sure isnt . I rather keep the pick draft lillard or marshall if barnes isnt available . This is a rebuild…… Amnesty Calderon

      • Malefax

        Because 1 less year of his contract is SO IMPORTANT. And it’s not like we could trade him for anything good at the deadline (like we did with Barbosa)

        Totally clueless.

      • Theswirsky

        You can’t spell rebuild with Andrea……

      • Thrillho

        Why are people so in love with amnestying Calderon?!  It seems like a casual fans go-to solution to well…nothing. 

  • Malefax

    boy was this a lazy post.

    Just for the record, lots of guys don’t make it in the NBA because of lack of athleticism or failing to have NBA type physiques. Basically everything in this article is wrong, as far as I can see.

  • Mike

    Metrics is a good way to show what type of player they will become. Dwight Howard when going through the combine had high scores in the atheltic areas, he is still one of the top athletic forwards in the game. Where as Bargani ranked low in all the strength categories, hence why he is still one of the worst rebounders for his position…and yes strength equals better rebounding, need strength to box out and move bodies to rebound.