NBA Draft Combine Notes: Baylor Scheierman Shines in Scrimmage, Bronny James Opens Up

Here are five players who stood out during Tuesday’s scrimmages. Plus, news from off the court in Chicago.
Baylor Scheierman scores over KJ Simpson during the 2024 NBA draft combine.
Baylor Scheierman scores over KJ Simpson during the 2024 NBA draft combine. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s pre-draft festivities in Chicago continue, with the league’s draft combine in full swing. While this year’s combine marked a new era with all attending players forced to participate in some on-court work, a significant portion of the projected first-round prospects opted out of scrimmage competition. That provided opportunities for the players who did play to make an impression, and Tuesday’s scrimmage action featured several standouts who boosted their respective draft stock. 

Here’s a look at who shined on the floor, as well as some notes on media availabilities with Bronny James, Terrence Shannon Jr. and other big names. 

Scrimmage standouts 

Baylor Scheierman, Creighton Bluejays

Scheierman was the best player on the floor in Game 1 and a reminder of the value playing in these scrimmages can have, especially in a draft as wide open as this one. Scheierman’s elite shooting ability stood out throughout his college career, but what separated him Tuesday from other top marksmen in this class was his impact on the game outside of his shooting gravity. He held his own athletically in the open floor, helped his team get out in transition and made a few impressive plays defensively. Scheierman’s a winning player, a willing passer and high-end competitor who has improved leaps and bounds from his first time on the NBA stage two years ago at the G League Elite Camp. He’s certainly worth a guaranteed contract, and there’s a world that he could have played his way into the first-round conversation. 

Jamal Shead, Houston Cougars 

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that Shead, who took over more than his fair share of games while at Houston with his pace, passing and competitiveness, was the best player on the floor in this setting. While certainly on the short side to be an NBA point guard at just a hair over six feet tall without shoes, Shead is the consummate winner who seems destined to become a strong backup PG option in the league. His motor defensively disrupts opposing ballhandlers, and he sees the floor extremely well offensively to make the right play. Tuesday, he made a few very impressive anticipatory passes, set the tempo with his willingness to get out and run and raised the competition level every time he was on the floor. Those are the types of guys you want in your organization. 

Isaac Jones, Washington State Cougars 

Jones continues to rise through the pre-draft process, from starring at the all-seniors Portsmouth Invitational to a strong display over the weekend at the G League Elite Camp to now being one of the better bigs on the floor in the main combine scrimmages. At some point, Jones just becomes too productive to ignore, posting 14 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes of action Tuesday and knocking down all eight of his free throws. He’s impactful on the offensive glass, runs the floor extremely well and has looked better defensively than we might have expected coming into the week. He’d be a guy I’d prioritize for a two-way contract, either late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. 

Trentyn Flowers, Adelaide 36ers

Flowers had a lot to prove this week, trying to rebuild his stock after a late pivot overseas to play professionally in Australia that didn’t go particularly well. Electing to play in the combine scrimmages paid off, at least on Day 1. Flowers’s natural gifts as a jumbo ballhandler with athletic pop stood out in this setting. He made an incredibly impressive pass off a live dribble for a dunk early in the game and had several other positive plays on the day (including a sharp-looking catch-and-shoot three) as his team rolled to victory. One day is certainly not enough to remove all skepticism, but combine a strong scrimmage performance with very good athletic testing results and Flowers has likely boosted his standing so far in Chicago. 

KJ Simpson, Colorado Buffaloes

Simpson’s on-ball ability is a good fit for this setting, and he predictably shined in his first combine scrimmage with 16 points off the bench. His decision-making can be shaky at times and his lack of physicality driving to the rim may also cap his ceiling, but his total offensive package very much looks the part of an NBA guard. He takes and makes his share of tough shots and is a savvy ball-screen operator who does a good job creating space to get his shot off. Had he shot better from beyond the arc Tuesday, he could have put together a special scoring performance. 

Other notes from Tuesday’s action off the court

  • Bronny James posted a middling stat line in his first scrimmage after an impressive day of athletic testing Monday. James’s hot shooting didn’t translate to the game setting, missing all four of his three-point attempts. Perhaps more notably was that Tuesday represented one of the first times James has actually met with the media in an open setting, which attracted quite a crowd. Asked about playing on the same team as his father, LeBron James, Bronny said he had dreamed of playing in the league itself, not playing with his dad. “That’s, like, not my mindset at all,” James said. 
  • Another “first” from a media standpoint was Terrence Shannon Jr., the former Illinois Fighting Illini star who is currently set to stand trial on a rape charge in June. Shannon, who was initially suspended by Illinois following the charges before being reinstated via a temporary restraining order against the school granted by a federal judge, did not speak to the media once following his return to the team. Shannon declined to speak much about the charges he’s facing other than to say he’s “looking forward to his day in court.” 
  • One man of intrigue for both college and NBA observers is Minnesota’s Cam Christie, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers wing Max Christie. Cam Christie wasn’t initially projected to be on a one-and-done trajectory, but surged down the stretch and has continued that momentum into the pre-draft process. He’s sitting out of the combine scrimmages and indicated he’s all-in at the moment on the NBA draft, though his name is in the NCAA transfer portal to keep his options open depending on his draft feedback.
  • The ever-entertaining Coleman Hawkins, who’s also sorting through a portal-or-pro decision, was his typical self in front of a microphone Tuesday. If he returns to school, Hawkins says he doesn’t want to be the sport’s highest-paid player (a crown believed to belong to Washington Huskies commit Great Osobor) due to the added pressure it would invite. Hawkins did suggest his time with Illinois is over whether or not he returns to school, but won’t consider other Big Ten schools and also said he has no interest in playing in the Big East due to a lack of football on campus. Hawkins’s ultimate goal remains staying in the draft and becoming a professional, but he’s keeping college options on the table and sources have indicated the chances of him playing college basketball next season have gained steam since his initial portal entry. 

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Kevin Sweeney

KEVIN SWEENEY