June 8, 2012
By Joe Kotoch
While the first day of the NBA Combine has come and gone the NBA world has begun to react to the workouts and measurements of the players in attendance in Chicago. NBA brain trusts were scene out on the town socializing with agents, rival executives, and coaches.
A few players who stood out as having impressed with their interviews were Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Royce White, Festus Ezeli, Austin Rivers, and Jared Sullinger. Andre Drummond appeared rehearsed in some of his talking points but also came across as approachable and eager to prove naysayers wrong.
On the other hand a few players seemed uncomfortable by the swarms of media. Those players included Kim English, Tony Mitchell, and William Buford.
From a workout perspective some of the top performers included Meyers Leonard, White, and Perry Jones. Jones is an intriguing prospect because of his skills and athleticism and looked like a matchup problem especially if he plays PF. Jones did say he "prefers to face the basket."
The biggest winner of the first day though has to be Damian Lillard, who was electric in his interviews and during the workout portions. Lillard showed great range and form on his jumper and combined with excellent athleticism. Based on day 1, Lillard appears to have solidified himself as the top PG in the draft and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a team make him a promise very soon.
Speaking of promises, Marc Spears of Yahoo reported yesterday that Dion Waiters reportedly received a promise and withdrew from the Combine. Immediately after that report, PBD was the first to report that our sources indicated that the Phoenix Suns made that promise, which has since been reported by other outlets as well.
Quote of the Day - Belongs to Tyler Zeller, who when asked about playing against Cody said he has never lost a best of 7 series to his younger brother. When PBD followed up by asking if Tyler wins because of skill or pride he coyly responded "Both."
Other interesting nuggets from the first day included Brad Beal measuring in at a shade under 6'5" with his shoes on. Thomas Robinson appears to be a hot name in Charlotte, Washington, and Sacramento. It is not breaking news to say this but it appears one of these three teams will select Robinson on draft night.
A source tells PBD not to be surprised if Robinson goes 2 to Charlotte and Washington selects Beal, in part because he is a superior shooter to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and is tall enough. If that scenario were to play out it would be rather interesting to see what Cleveland does at 4. The Cavs, according to sources love Kidd-Gilchrist, appear to be very keen on Harrison Barnes, who has the same agent as Kyrie Irving.
Another source told PBD that Portland will select Europeans with its second round picks and that Tomas Satoransky is a player they would like to see fall to them.