2013 Nets Combine Recap

2013 Nets Combine Recap
May 24, 2013, 01:29 pm
44 NBA prospects from diverse backgrounds were brought into the Nets Combine in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which was attended by all 30 NBA teams this week. This group workout was organized by the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, and featured measurements, agility testing, interview sessions and drill-work similar to the NBA Combine in Chicago.

Here is a list of the prospects that were in attendance in New Jersey, including their measurements and athletic testing results.

You can also see how players stack up historically in our massive database, with measurements dating back to 1993.

Here is Brooklyn Nets Director of Player Personnel Gregg Polinsky discussing the format of the Combine, the challenges of putting together the event, as well as his thoughts on what can be learned from it. He also shared his thoughts on the strength of the 2013 NBA Draft as a whole:

We also spoke with Houston Rockets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas about the same topics and others, including what happens off the court at an event like this, and the next step in the draft process for him and his team.

The workout also featured a competitive five on five component, which was very well received by the scouts in attendance, and allowed certain prospects to separate themselves and potentially increase their standing in the eyes of teams present.

(Video Highlights from day one, and day two)

Some of the top performers included:

-James Ennis, Long Beach State – Ennis stands out first and foremost thanks to his strong physical attributes, measuring 6-7 in shoes with a 6-11 ½ wingspan and solid athletic ability. He's a relatively versatile player who can create his own shot reasonably well thanks to his strong first step and solid aggressiveness, and is also an acceptable perimeter shooter, having made 36% of his 3-point attempts as a senior. Ennis shows great potential defensively as well with his long arms and strong athleticism. Somewhat of a late bloomer having only played two seasons of Division I basketball, he is a prospect a team could decide to take a flyer on in the second round to see if they can continue to round out his skill-level and feel for the game and develop him into a rotation player.

D.J. Stephens, Memphis-
Stephens made his mark before he even stepped onto the floor for the competitive portion of the workout with his freakish athletic testing results, measuring the highest no-step and max-vertical leap in the history of our database, at 40 and 46 inches respectively, as well as the fifth best ¾ court sprint time ever. He put the entire scouting section on the edge of their seat any time he touched the ball as you could collectively hear virtually the entire gym holding their breath to see what he would do next. With that said, Stephens reiterated in New Jersey that he is for the most part a very limited basketball player at this stage. He sports a very ugly flat-footed jump-shot that he struggles to make with any real consistency and is a crude ball-handler who can't do much outside of attacking the rim in a straight line.

Stephens spent some time guarding the perimeter, with limited success, looking much more comfortable around the rim where he can use his 7-foot wingspan and freakish explosiveness to challenge and reject shots. While he made some very impressive plays getting off the floor for blocks and offensive rebounds, that might be somewhat of a challenge in the NBA considering he measured just 6-4 ½ without shoes, and weighed in at only 194 pounds. Some scouts compare him to Utah Jazz power forward Jeremy Evans, a similarly freakish and extremely lean athlete, but Evans is listed at 6-9.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary's –
Dellavedova did a good job making up for lost time after electing to skip the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and seeing that decision backfire after not being invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago last week. He ran his team very effectively in New Jersey, showing strong ball-handling skills, timing and court vision on the pick and roll, and the ability to make jump-shots off the dribble when defenses went underneath screens. Dellavedova measured a solid 6-3 without shoes, but sports just a 6-4 wingspan, which hampers him primarily on the defensive end, an area he struggled in both in college and in this setting. His unselfishness and high basketball IQ could nevertheless convince a team to use a NBA roster spot on him as he appears to be more than talented enough to hold his own on the offensive end of the floor at either guard spot. He also looks willing to, at the very least, put the effort in defensively to not embarrass himself.

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota – Mbakwe did a terrific job of reminding scouts of just how effective he can be inside the paint in short spurts, as he simply changed the game at times with his ability to push opponents around and crash the offensive glass. He's one of the most physical, competitive big men in this class, sporting a man's frame at 6-8 in shoes with a 7-4 wingspan, and bench pressing 185 pounds 21 times at the NBA Combine, tops among the 2013 draft class. Mbakwe is limited on the perimeter and is also one of the oldest prospects in the draft at 24 years old, but he's also the second best rebounder in this class, which has to count for something.

Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon –
Kazemi is another prospect who elected not to attend Portsmouth but found himself left out of Chicago, which added to the urgency of his situation in this 60-minute workout. Kazemi did a terrific job of reminding scouts of what he brings to the table, as he was dominant at times as a rebounder on both ends of the floor, and also showed solid potential in other areas as well, which will certainly help his cause. Kazemi spent a decent amount of time defending the perimeter in New Jersey as his team had more big men than guards, which ended up working out in his favor. He did a solid job in both straight-up man to man situations and as a pick and roll defender, moving his feet well, coming up with a number of deflections and steals, and looking very much under control despite the reckless abandon he plays with. Offensively, he made good decisions, passing the ball effectively and finishing the looks created for him around the basket. Even if Kazemi doesn't hear his name called on draft night, he will certainly have plenty of teams calling to get him on their summer league roster. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see him make a NBA team's roster and stick around thanks to his rebounding prowess and overall toughness.

Pierre Jackson, Baylor-
After being forced to pull out of the second day of the NBA Combine due to illness, Jackson showed up in New Jersey despite other similarly highly rated prospects electing to pull out. That ended looking like a very smart decision, as he played very well and undoubtedly helped himself by showing off his terrific athletic ability pick and roll skills in person.

Pierre Jackson Interview at the Nets Combine:

Jackson got to wherever he wanted on the floor with his strong first step and excellent ball-handling skills, splitting defenders at will and threading the needle time after time with intelligent passes to rollers cutting to the basket or open shooters spotting up on the wing. He also showed off his perimeter shooting prowess with a number of off the dribble jumpers, even if he struggled at times to finish around the basket in traffic due to his average size and length. Jackson is hampered by his diminutive dimensions on the defensive end of the floor in particular. His 7'6” standing reach would be the smallest of any prospect in our historical database to ever play in the NBA. He did put a solid effort in in New Jersey, even though the player he guarded, Julius Mays from Kentucky, was able to score quite a few points.

Next up, NBA teams will move onto another group workout in Minnesota, which is expected to be weaker in terms of the caliber of prospects attending, and will not feature any five on five play. After that many scouts will travel overseas to the adidas EuroCamp in Treviso which kicks off June 8th.

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