With the NBA Draft just a month away, teams and scouts spent the better part of last week at the draft combine getting every last bit of data they can from potential NBA prospects. Players underwent interviews, medical tests, physical and athletic tests, and also took part in 5-on-5 drills. Some players were able to use the combine to help their draft stock, some did the opposite, and some sat out certain events. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic broke down his thoughts (subscription required) from this year’s NBA combine.
Chandler Hutchison, who has been a favorite to the Blazers in mock drafts, was one of the players to skip the NBA combine entirely after a supposed “promise” from an unknown team — although during the combine it was said the Blazers did not give the promise. Here is Vecenie’s take on the situation:
Boise State wing Chandler Hutchison was the best of the bunch, with rumors swirling in Chicago that he decided to stay away after securing a “promise” from a team with a pick in the 20s that it would select him if he’s on the board.
Those promises happen fairly rarely this early in the process. The idea behind such a move would be to hide a certain player from other teams, with something of an implicit agreement between the player and the organization to mostly shut down individual workouts.
A mature, intelligent kid with long arms and terrific, fluid athleticism, Hutchison was seen as someone who likely would have performed well in a setting like the one in Chicago, raising even further questions about his decision. Hutchison is signed with up-and-coming Priority Sports agent Kieran Piller.
Piller, along with Priority’s head agent Mark Bartelstein, has helped place multiple clients in Portland (Zach Collins, Wade Baldwin, Cliff Alexander) and Chicago (R.J. Hunter, Bobby Portis). My bet is that he doesn’t get past Chicago at No. 22 and could end up being picked earlier.
Vecenie then moved on to the players that did the most to help their stock, naming Tulane’s Melvin Frazier, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, Villinova’s Donte DiVincenzo, West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans, and UT Arlington’s Kevin Hervey.
Players such as SMU’s Shake Milton, Witichita State’s Landry Shamet, and Missouri’s Johntay Porter were all on the list of players that hurt their draft status according to Vecenie.
Many of the top prospects, including the top two prospects in the game, Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton, skipped the combine entirely.
The strategy of tests that prospects decide to participate in is always big combine news, and the feedback of the tests they do take is even bigger news. Often times, those test results have career-changing effects come draft day.
You can read the rest of Vecenie’s article here with a subscription to The Athletic.