Draft Lottery Day: Winners and Losers post-NBA Combine

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nbadraft13_300x250_3 (1)Woo-hoo! Draft lottery day has arrived, and there will be a whole new level of hope for some playoff outlier by the time the second half of the Spurs-Grizzlies game begins.

Do we know who is going to go No. 1?

No we don’t. As mentioned here, Orlando and New Orleans are likely to trade the No. 1 pick if they win.

But the way the ping-pong balls fly will change the landscape across the NBA, and could lead to a significant amount of wheeling and dealing by the time it is time to report to Brooklyn, where 30 players will be the last to have their names called by commissioner David Stern.

May and June are the months when draft stocks plummet or soar. This past week in Chicago one player stood out in the first couple days above the rest, Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams. When polled by NBA GMs and scouts, the one-and-done big man from New Zealand stood out with improved skills offensively as well as explosive athleticism. In fact, Adams emerged as the clear “wow” guy while in Chicago.

While group workouts and individual workouts remain between now and draft night, several prospects really helped themselves by participating in all the drills or exceeding expectations in Chicago, whereas several players missed out on a chance to boost their stock.

Here is my take after spending the latter part of last week in Chicago. I’ll have Mock Draft 3.0 posted by the time tonight’s playoff game goes into its second overtime.

Rising

Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh, 7’0″

StevenAdamsThe aforementioned Adams was the big winner at the combine, showing teams the freakish athleticism and tenacious energy that projects to being a plus defender, shot blocker, and rebounder. ‘

What was even more of a surprise to scouts was Adams’ offensive skill set, including his consistent mid-range jumper and soft hands.

While Adams remains raw, there were enough signs to encourage teams that Adams could develop into one of the better players in this draft in a few years.

Looks to be a surefire lottery pick now and could eventually crack the top-10.

BullockReggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina, 6’7″

Bullock is another player who has consistently risen up draft boards since the end of the college basketball season.

While P.J. Hairston broke out this year for the Tar Heels, many NBA executives believe Bullock is a better version of Danny Green and has more upside due to his length and athleticism.

Bottom line, Bullock can shoot the ball and plays very good defense, which make him NBA-ready now and is pushing his stock higher into the first round.

Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana, 6’4″

oladipoIt sounds silly to say that someone with a legit chance to be a Top 5 pick can really help his stock, but Oladipo looked amazing in the athletic drills, especially when he posted a 42″ max vertical to go along with a 6’9″ wingspan.

It’s easy to see why so many teams view Oladipo as a great defender, but it’s his progression as a shooter this past season that has vaulted him into top-5 pick territory.

Olapdip’s vertical was 2 inches shy of the NBA combine-record 44″ leap posted by Shane Larkin of Miami, as documented by our own Jeremy Bauman in his weekend report from Chicago.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan, 6’6″

TimHardawayJrHardaway Jr. was by far one of the best shooters in Chicago and surprised many teams with his athletic testing.

Smooth shooting wings with high IQs like Hardaway always are a premium on draft night.

While Hardaway never broke out in Ann Arbor and benefited greatly the last two seasons playing alongside Trey Burke, he showed NBA range and length to warrant a serious look in the first round.

 

Allen Crabbe, SG, California, 6’6″

Allen CrabbeAfter an impressive career at California, Crabbe came to Chicago to open some eyes. Crabbe will never be an elite lockdown defender in the NBA but he will be a serviceable starting SG and a capable shooter.

With his shot on full display, Crabbe didn’t disappoint by showing great touch and range but appearing most comfortable as a catch-and-shoot player.

It’s also worth noting that scouts were impressed by Crabbe’s 6’11″ wingspan.

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