While the Eastern and Western Conference Finals continue to make headlines in the NBA, the 2022 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. Now about a month away from the draft, the NBA Draft Combine is currently taking place in Chicago this week.
Over 70 different draft prospects have attended this showcase to not only interview with teams, but to go through measurements, agility and strength testing and most importantly, play five-on-five live scrimmages.
Some of the top prospects have opted to sit out of taking part in many of the combine events, but there are still a ton of players trying to make a name for themselves and catch the attention of just one team that is willing to gamble on them in June.
While it is hard to put all of your faith into a prospect after one or two scrimmage games, these scrimmages at the combine have been very telling over the years and there have been plenty of current NBA players that made a name for themselves by partaking in these games.
Last season, Denver Nuggets’ Bones Hyland and San Antonio Spurs’ Joshua Primo both stood out during the NBA Combine scrimmages and they both ended up going in the first-round of the 2021 NBA Draft. New Orleans Pelicans' Jose Alvarado got a shot in the league because of his performances at the combine and earned himself an actual contract due to his play while he had a two-way contract.
There are quite a few names that will follow suit this year and with all of the scrimmages over now, let’s take a look at some notes from these games and some prospects who have improved their draft stock considerably.
Terquavion Smith - Guard - NC State
Scrimmage #1 Stats (Thursday): 24 minutes, 17 points (6-17 FG, 3-10 3PT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists
After a great showing in Day 1’s scrimmage, Terquavion Smith elected to sit out Day 2. Everything Smith did in his one scrimmage really impressed many scouts and executives in attendance at the NBA Combine this week and his measurements also have drawn interest, as the freshman was charted at just under 6’4” with a 6’6.5” wingspan.
At the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, Bones Hyland stole the show in Day 1 of scrimmages and was the talk of the event. So far, Smith has given off similar vibes and he has a certain aurora that resonates with evaluators right now.
Athleticism and scoring off-the-dribble are the two main things that have stood up in his game and Smith looked extremely comfortable on the offensive-end of the floor.
Jalen Williams - Guard/Forward - Santa Clara
Scrimmage #2 Stats (Thursday): 22 minutes, 11 points (5-8 FG, 1-2 3PT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Scrimmage #4 Stats (Friday): 27 minutes, 19 points (7-8 FG, 2-2 3PT), 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Another name that has skyrocketed up draft boards over the last few days is Jalen Williams from Santa Clara. Measuring in at just under 6’6” with a 7’2.25” wingspan, Williams’ measurements on Wednesday made plenty do a double-take.
He is very skilled in the pick-and-roll and Williams’ length is definitely something that has caught a ton of team’s attention at the NBA Draft Combine this week because of the potential he has to be a two-way threat.
Taking smart shots and showing off his high IQ on the floor, Jalen Williams has really caught the attention of many teams scheduled to pick near the end of the first-round. However, his stock may continue to rise throughout this pre-draft process, as nobody really has anything to critique about him right now.
After Thursday at the combine, one scout spoke with SI Fastbreak and claimed that Jalen Williams will be the biggest riser in this draft class.
A great blend of length and scoring, Williams will be a name to keep track of leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft.
Trevion Williams - Forward - Purdue
Scrimmage #1 Stats (Thursday): 18 minutes, 14 points (5-13 FG, 1-3 3PT), 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Scrimmage #4 Stats (Friday): 30 minutes, 4 points (1-11 FG, 0-3 3PT(, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
Overshadowed by Jaden Ivey while at Purdue, Trevion Williams really stood out at the NBA Combine this week, proving that he can do a little bit of everything on the basketball court.
He can score, he can rebound and Williams can even facilitate, drawing some attention to the fact that he can be a multi-position type of talent at the next level.
Williams unselfishness with the ball in his hands is what makes him a very intriguing prospect to keep tabs on and in his second scrimmage, this was very apparent. His shot was not falling, but Trevion Williams kept at it and found other ways to positively impact the game for his team.
Really an above-average passer for his position, the near 6’9” big man fits the mold of that “new era” big man teams are looking for that may not be a “bruiser” in the paint, but someone who can fill multiple different needs on the floor.
His performances at the NBA Combine should lock him into being drafted at some point in the second-round and Williams stock will continue to rise with performances like these.
Christian Braun - Guard - Kansas
Scrimmage #2 Stats (Thursday): 25 minutes, 6 points (2-9 FG, 1-3 3PT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
Scrimmage #3 Stats (Friday): 28 minutes, 17 points (7-17 FG, 3-8 3PT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Helping Kansas win a national championship this year, Christian Braun has helped himself at the combine this week, going from a second-round prospect in many people's minds to a possible late first-round prospect now because of what he did in the scrimmages.
While he did not shoot the best, Braun showcased his ability to score from anywhere on the floor and really got involved on Day 1 by being all over the court on both ends of the floor. He is not afraid of anyone and really does not back down to anyone, which is something that was definitely noted over the two days.
A utility-type player that can fill multiple needs, Christian Braun is definitely a prospect more teams would like to see ahead of the NBA Draft in June.
Dereon Seabron - Guard - NC Stats
Scrimmage #2 Stats (Thursday): 26 minutes, 17 points (5-8 FG, 7-8 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Scrimmage #4 Stats (Friday): 29 minutes, 15 points (6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Being aggressive on the offensive-end of the floor, Dereon Seabron stood out in the second scrimmage on Thursday. While not really a factor shooting from deep, Seabron used his strength to his advantage and put pressure on the defense by constantly getting to the rim.
His handles as a primary ball-handler are a small concern right now against lengthier, athletic defenders he will run into at the NBA-level, but Seabron’s mentality at the combine really stood out. Seabron is a primary facilitator and plays well above his near 6’6” frame. Both days of scrimmages, nobody was able to stop him from attacking the paint/rim and he was arguably the most impressive scorer at the combine.
Likely a second-round prospect at this rate, Dereon Seabron has plenty of room to grow and is catching the attention of many during the pre-draft process, which could possibly result in him continuing to rise up draft boards.
Other Key Notes and Takeaways From NBA Draft Combine:
- Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn tallied two double-doubles over the two days of scrimmaging and seemed comfortable in the low-post and he showed that he can extend his range during Day 2. Pre-draft workouts with teams will be vital for him.
- Kenny Lofton Jr. from Louisiana Tech stood out in Day 1, moving well given his size and stature. Some rumblings suggest that he could be a possible undrafted target for teams to sign to a possible two-way deal, others claim that his mobility is a concern.
- One of the better international prospects in the draft, Hugo Besson looked confident against this level of competition. He was not afraid to shoot from the perimeter, nor bring the ball up the floor as a primary ball-handler. Definitely a versatile combo-guard-like talent.
- Ryan Rollins from Toledo impressed scouts and league personnel during Day 1’s scrimmages, scoring 11 points on 5-9 shooting. He did go 0-3 from deep, but was impressive with the ball in his hands and he showcased his ability to get to his spots on the floor offensively. Rollins is projected as a possible late first-round or early second-round pick now.
- One of the four players from the G League Ignite at the NBA Combine, Michael Foster Jr. is projected to be a second-round pick right now. However, teams are intrigued by his length and potential to be a very mobile big man. Foster has a lot of upside as a second-round, possible late first-round prospect right now.
- Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard was the most impressive player during Day 2’s scrimmages. He sat out Day 1 due to a quad injury and was expected to miss Day 2 as well, but he geared up and played, scoring 26 points and dishing out 11 assists. Athleticism is still a concern, especially defensively, but his stock has pushed him to being a mid second-round prospect.
- A question mark entering the combine, Georgetown's Aminu Mohammed performed well over a two-day stretch in the scrimmages. He had 12 points and 6 assists the first day, followed up by 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists the second day. Talk at the combine surrounding Mohammed was about the good things he did defensively and the sense of calmness he plays with.
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