EMPIRE OF THE SUNS
Lottery-bound PG Coby White leaves NBA Draft Combine, per report
North Carolina point guard Coby White left the NBA Draft Combine on Friday after interviewing with teams and being measured, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
That means the top two lottery-bound point guards after expected No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant have left the combine with the event still ongoing, a sign they feel confident they will be drafted in the top-10.
White told media members on Wednesday that he believed he would be selected in the “five-to-nine range,” according to The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry.
He did not take part in any drills or athletic testing but measured in at 191 pounds. He stood 6-foot-4 and 3/4 inches in shoes and has a 6-foot-5 wingspan.
Darius Garland, who a majority of draft analysts view as the second-best point guard in this draft crop, left the combine Wednesday and was not even measured, leading many to believe a high-lottery team promised to pick him. Many outsiders speculated the Phoenix Suns, in dire need of a point guard, had promised Garland, but 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro reported the Suns had not done so.
Garland flexed his shooting talents in five games as a freshman at Vanderbilt before missing the rest of 2018-19 with a meniscus injury. He shot 54% overall and 43% from three while averaging 16.2 points and 2.6 assists per game.
White started at point guard all year as a freshman for the Tar Heels, averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game on 42% shooting. A more streaky shooter with better size than the 6-foot-2 Garland, White likewise must prove to scouts he can run an offense as a true lead guard.
White is not as strong in the pick-and-roll and doesn’t have the handles of Garland, but he did flash strong finishing abilities at the rim and was a force — although a sometimes erratic decision-maker — in transition for the high-tempo North Carolina squad.
As for teams who could be eyeing either Garland or White to fill holes at point guard are the Suns and Bulls, who respectively draft sixth and seventh. Though the Cleveland Cavaliers have point guard Collin Sexton entering his second season after he was selected eighth last draft, they could also be considering an upgrade with the No. 5 spot in the order.
It’s also easy to draw a connection between Garland and the Los Angeles Lakers. Their star player, LeBron James, is represented by Klutch Sports, who is also managing Garland.