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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Draft Camp Champs

by Connor Witt

Marshon Brooks SG, Providence - Coming into the combine, GMs already knew that Brooks could score the ball. His 24.6 points per game were tops in a loaded Big East conference that sent eleven teams to the tourney. The questions surrounding Brooks centered on his ability to play shooting guard at the next level because of his height and athleticism. Brooks, like the vast majority of players projected to be drafted, skipped out on the athleticism drills but made an impression when he measured at 6'5.25" in shoes with a 7'1" wingspan. Those specs should allow him to be considered a legitimate NBA 2-guard and give him some leeway for his perceived lack of explosiveness.

Enes Kanter PF/C, Kentucky - At the Chicago combine Kanter proved that he has the size to play center in the league, measuring out at 6'11.25" in shoes. Weighing in at 259 pounds was expected for Kanter, but the remarkable 5.9 percent body fat that he registered was a welcome surprise for teams selecting at the top of the draft. To put that figure in perspective, it was leaner than Josh Selby (7.9%), Shelvin Mack (7.1%) Tristan Thompson (6.2%), and equal to Kemba Walker. Kanter was already projected as a top 5 pick, but his figures and impressive performance in drills could have caused him to jump up to number 2 had Derrick Williams not measured out equally well.

Derrick Williams SF/PF, Arizona - The aforementioned Williams has been insistent that he projects as an NBA small forward since he declared for the draft. Though it is unknown how his future team will put to use his unique blend of skills and athleticism, his measurements suggest he could easily play the power forward should he need to. His 6'8.75" height is ideal and his 9'0"standing reach is a full three inches better than Blake Griffin managed in 2009. Regardless of which spot on the court he plays, his combine results display that he will be fully capable physically.

Nikola Vucevic PF/C, USC - Vucevic suffered from the Pac-10's mediocrity this season, as he failed to gain national recognition despite his statistics. But no player at the draft combine in Chicago did more to help his stock this week than Vucevic. His 6'11.75" in shoes was the tallest of any prospect projected to be drafted and his 9'4.5" standing reach also ranked atop the field. The impressive measurements coupled with Vucevic's advanced skillset for a player of that size make him an intriguing option for teams picking later in the first round.

Court adjourned.

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