NBA Draft Combine 2022: 5+ winners, 2+ losers of tests, measurements, scrums

NBA Draft Combine 2022: 5+ winners, 2+ losers of tests, measurements, scrums

The NBA Draft Combine has never been mistaken for being as impactful as its football counterpart. This year provided a good example of that dynamic in the NFL: Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker went from projected first-round midfielder to first overall pick because his athletic tests were so impressive. The top four prospects projected by the NBA have already been set in stone for months, and nothing that happens at the combine changes that.

Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Jaden Ivey didn’t even bother to weigh in this week in Chicago, let alone take sports tests or scrimmages. With the top prospects already earning their lofty status ahead of the June draft, everyone was trying to show the NBA how big and athletic they were. Players on the fringes of fake drafts even took to the field for scrums.

Here are the biggest winners and losers from the combined 2022 NBA Draft now that it’s over.

Winner: Jalen Williams, G, Santa Clara

Williams spent three years in Santa Clara, getting better with each season. As a junior, he earned All-WCC First-Team honors and put his name on NBA radars as a 6’6 winger who showed impressive pick-playing skills. and-roll while shooting 40% from three points.

We already knew Williams had ridiculously long arms, and the combine confirmed it: he was 7’2.25 tall, giving him a almost 10 inches difference between his height and reach. Williams also achieved a maximum vertical leap of 39 inches, the fifth highest of any player on the combine.

Williams played in the scrum on day one and showed off her combination of size, skill and leap. It was a nice dunk as a roll man.

This drive showed his one-on-one scoring ability and finishing touch.

And that was an example of his high basketball IQ.

Williams has played ball for Santa Clara all season. He used 37.5% of his possessions as a pick-and-roll ball handler and ranked in the 86th percentile of efficiency on those types of play, per Synergy Sports. He also finished in the 97th percentile on points after going 42 of 106 (39.6%) on three with plenty of dribble pull-ups mixed in.

The sell for Williams is his combination of passing skills and facilitation while being as long as some crosses. Although he has proven to be a great jumper at the combine, teams will wonder about his speed. This lack of speed shows up at both ends of the floor on the boards, but especially in defense. At the same time, it should be noted that he completed the fourth fastest three-quarter sprint of any player in the combine this year.

We had projected Williams as the 30th overall pick in our post-lottery instant draft simulation. It now feels like a safe first ride – even though there is a statistical argument against his complete game. By the time he left the combine, he was even making the buzz at the lottery.

Williams feels like the biggest winner in the combine. Watch this season’s flagship package from No Ceilings to get a better look at his game.

Winner: Terquavion Smith, G, NC State

No one expected Smith to be a one-and-done after entering NC State ranked as the No. 94 freshman in his class. The Wolfpack had a miserable year finishing 11-21 overall, but Smith’s instant offensive punch was enough to plant him firmly on NBA radars. After a stellar performance at the combine, Smith now feels like the next slippery combo guard who can provide some nice value late in the first round.

Smith was 6’3.75 and weighed just 165 pounds with a 6’6.5 wingspan, then showcased his shooting prowess on the first day of combined scrimmage by scoring 17 points. He’s made 37% of his three-shots this season with 8.1 attempts per game from deep and showed the deep reach of his jump shot both out of the grip and out of the dribble.

Smith’s game is something of a question mark after averaging just 2.7 assists per 40 minutes as a rookie, but he dropped a few nice assists during the scrimmage to hint he could have more upside as a facilitator than he showed at NC State.

Here are two examples:

Smith finished with 17 points in the first combined scrum, then pulled out of Day 2 games knowing he had already increased his stock. He also has fired the lights in the shooting exercises.

Smith is in a similar archetype to another player who moved up to the draft after an impressive showing in last year’s combine: Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland. Hyland moved up to No. 26 overall last year, and Smith now feels like he could go in a similar range.

Loser: the athletics of Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Baldwin also had the second-worst lane agility time and the fourth-worst three-quarter sprint.

Winner: The Height of Patrick Baldwin

Baldwin was one of the top five rookies in the nation at the start of the season who opted to play for his father in Milwaukee rather than accept an offer from Duke. He had a nightmarish freshman year, playing just 11 games due to a lingering ankle injury, shooting just 27% from three and watching his dad get fired as head coach after one season. 10-22.

Baldwin’s idea is still incredibly appealing: a 6’10+ forward who should project as a 40% three-point shooter based on his reputation as a prep player. Baldwin is legitimately huge, but he’s also a lousy athlete. He’s going to have to live up to his pre-college hype as a shooter to succeed in the NBA, but if he does, he could possibly be a steal after falling on boards after his grueling freshman year.

Winner: Jaden Ivey, for this quote

Loser: Blake Wesley’s tests

Wesley came as a unique surprise after the first season at Notre Dame. The tape showed a tall guard who could go anywhere he wanted on the floor, but he struggled to finish at the edge. While we still love Wesley as a first rounder, he measured a little slower and a little smaller than expected.

Wesley had the eighth agility time in the slower lane. His 36-inch max vertical was solid but unspectacular, and two inches lower than a beefy forward like EJ Liddell.

Wesley also measured with a wingspan of 6’9.25, when most reports had him with a wingspan of 6’11.

Of course, Wesley still has plenty of talent to work with. Its tools just aren’t as impressive as expected.

Winner: Mark Williams, C, Duke

Williams didn’t do the sports testing, but he was measured at the combine. And holy cow, the enormous Duke center: Williams was 7’2 in shoes with a wingspan of 7’6.5 and a standing reach of 9’9.

Only Tacko Fall has measured with greater standing reach in the history of the combine harvester. Dude can basically touch the rim just by raising his arms.

He will be one of the greatest players in the NBA from the moment he is drafted.

His sister Elizabeth Williams has been a solid WNBA center for several seasons. Little brother is next.

More NBA Draft winners combine….

Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard looked phenomenal in the second scrimmage as a 6’4 guard who can shoot and control the pace of the game. Purdue big man Trevion Williams also showed his combination of excellent passing and inside goals during the scrums. Meanwhile, potential lottery pick Dyson Daniels set up incredibly fast shuttle time.

On the other hand, the prospect of a Canadian prep school Leonard Miller measured huge but looked a little rawer in scrums than we hoped.

Read our instant draft after the lottery. Here’s why we think the Orlando Magic should take Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick. We also made bigger outages on Gonzaga’s Banchero and Chet Holmgren, who are our top two prospects in the category.

The 2022 NBA Draft will take place on June 23 in Brooklyn. We will follow this class closely throughout the process.

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