Technically this was the first ever NBA Combine and it just concluded yesterday and the ability tests have been released. Nothing all too shocking, except Hasheem Thabeet didn’t test, which was strange.
I think the two that did the most for themselves were Stephen Curry and James Harden. I’m beginning to turn and find my way to the Curry bandwagon. He’s a much better athlete than I anticipated and he’s polished in every way. A 35.5-inch vertical, good agility numbers and nice speed results. Plus he’s smart, can shoot and… can shoot. I like him more and more.
And I think Harden put to bed some of those “subpar athlete” criticisms. Maybe it was the baggy t-shirt he wore in college that tagged him with that stereotype. He had an excellent vertical and tested well in everything else, especially the strength numbers (he benched 185 17 times – one of the top numbers at the camp).
On the flip side, I really don’t know why Hasheem Thabeet would turn down athletic testing. I feel like someone just knocked on my door and handed me a red flag. And I just took it to my Thabeet closet and tossed it in there with my other 50 red flags. Only one other player refused testing and that was Demarre Carroll. Even Blake Griffin, who doesn’t have to do anything and is still going No. 1, tested. I don’t know if Thabeet is trying to hide a 7-inch vertical or maybe mask the fact Jim Traber in high heels is faster than him. I have no clue. But the whole thing stinks.
How about Jonny Flynn and his 40-inch vertical? And Wayne Ellington wasn’t bad with his 38-inch one either. DeMar DeRozen who is evidently able to jump and touch the moon, checked in with a 38.5-inch vert. Blake Griffin had a 35.5-inch vertical, but his no-step vert was 32 inches, good for third of all the people at the combine. That really shows you his explosion. He gets up faster than anybody. That’s what makes him such a monster on the boards.
My mind hasn’t been totally changed on anything just based on some numbers, but I do think you can put a lot more stock into the NBA Combine than the NFL Combine. In the NBA, you actually use the skills you’re tested on during actual gameplay. You actually run, jump and move side-to-side. In the NFL, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player broad jump his way into the endzone. So these numbers have weight and help to clear the picture a bit.
Just 22 more days…