NBA Combine notebook: Bamba’s wingspan record, Young’s size
The NBA Combine is a good time of year for NBA Draft fans to get a bit of confirmation on measurements.
There’s also the recently added 5-on-5 scrimmages, which are much more geared towards guys on the bubble of either the first round or being drafted at all getting a chance to show what they’ve got in the best way possible: playing a real basketball game.
Beyond that, it’s hard to really react or properly dig into any hardcore takes.
For the Suns, the focus is obviously on the decision at No. 1, but both Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic are not at the combine.
Phoenix, though, will receive plenty of information they can use at their three other selections: Nos. 16, 31 and 59.
On the first day of the combine Thursday, measurements were revealed. Here’s what stood out.
Mohamed Bamba is long
Texas center Mohamed Bamba had a supposed 7-foot-9 wingspan as we went through the draft process, which would have been the longest in the combine’s history.
As it turns out, Bamba measured an inch longer with a 7-foot-10 wingspan, making him easily hold the top number this year.
It’s what we expected from Bamba, but it’s still a number that is incredibly impressive and testifies to his potential as a defensive anchor rim protector.
That type of potential is why it’s unlikely Bamba will fall out of the top-5 or top-6 of the draft.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is a center
Jackson looks like the perfect modern NBA center with the ability to shoot 40 percent from 3-point range while also having the defensive versatility to protect the rim and hold his own switching onto perimeter players.
Listed at 6-foot-11, a not so popular argument was Jackson could be undersized and should spend time playing power forward.
While he might not exclusively play center, a wingspan of over 7-foot-5 alleviated any real concern that he wouldn’t be able to compete around the rim to block shots consistently at the NBA level.
His hand length of 10 inches was tied for the highest, backing up what you’d see on film of his tremendous ability to track down shots as a shot-blocker.
Like Bamba, Jackson seems to a hard lock to be taken in the top-5.
Trae Young is small
More of what we already knew here with Trae Young out of Oklahoma, but in a negative light.
Young had the smallest wingspan (6-foot-3), was the lightest (nearly 178 pounds), tied for the smallest hand length (eight inches) and was one of the shortest players (nearly 6-foot-2).
The evaluation for Young is all about his skill on the offensive end, but concerns about his finishing around the rim and defense will not be helped by his physical stature.
Young could fall in the draft because of this and be in a position where the Phoenix Suns could trade up from No. 16 to form an electrifying backcourt duo with Young and Devin Booker.
Kentucky needs a weight program
Last year, No. 5 overall pick and former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox weighed under 170 pounds at 6-foot-2.
This year, potential lottery pick and former Kentucky point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander weighed 180 pounds at 6-foot-6.
Because of his on-court play for the Wildcats and a wingspan that is nearly 7 feet, Gilgeous-Alexander projects as someone who can defend both guard positions well. In order to deal with most shooting guards and even a good chunk of point guards, though, he’s going to need put on weight.
Gilgeous-Alexander is projected to be drafted in between the late lottery and the mid-first round, within range of the Suns at 16th.