The NBA Draft Combine is this week.
Just a few days ago, we thought we'd have four Gonzaga participants. Now, that's been whittled down to two, with only Brandon Clarke and Zach Norvell Jr. in attendance.
Now, we are diving into what Clarke and Norvell need to do to improve their stock at the combine, and what could happen to Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie's stock since they won't be in attendance.
I believe the combine is going to be huge for Brandon Clarke. He is one of the most underrated prospects in the country.
At six feet nine inches and 220 pounds, he can play the five position in the modern NBA. His three-pointer skills are an added bonus.
Clarke also became automatic inside the paint this season, shooting nearly 70% from the field. It got to the point during the NCAA Tournament that whenever Brandon shot the ball in the paint you could put two points on the board before it went in.
It goes without saying that his shot blocking ability is also huge.
The only real questions about him are his ball handling skills and his age. Obviously, one of those things he can't change.
If Brandon performs at the same level as he did this season, exudes confidence with the ball and makes his age, and therefore his maturity, a positive for scouts, fans can expect him to skyrocket up draft boards.
I expect Brandon to be a consensus top 15 pick if all of those things come to fruition.
Zach Norvell has a whole lot more to prove than Brandon Clarke, especially since Norvell isn't a consensus second round pick.
The main complaint about Snacks is how streaky he is. Over the final five games of the season, Norvell went 10-of-37 from three shooting 27% and committed 13 turnovers. To put it simply, he was sloppy.
Even in perhaps Norvell's best game of the season against Creighton, he was still really streaky. He went 9-of-21 from the field, which is acceptable.
Breaking that down a little more, though, he went 6-of-17 from three, which included step back heat check threes. He made seven of his first nine shots to start the second half and then missed the last four shots, which were all threes by the way.
Norvell's nickname is the microwave. The problem with microwaves is that they can heat up as quickly as they cool down.
Norvell will look to shake that identity over the next few days to secure himself a place in the NBA Draft.
Rui not participating could mean one of two things:
- He has been promised by a team that they will draft him, thus making the Combine null and void because he knows where he's going.
- His agency wants to hold him out of the combine so as to not have all 30 teams make up their minds at once about a player. This is the more likely option.
Hachimura essentially maintains a bit of mystique if he opts out of the combine.
The main question for teams about Rui is his three-point shooting, as the three-point line is obviously farther out in the NBA.
Regardless, Rui is a consensus lottery pick, so I would imagine his agency thinks he could only hurt his stock by participating this week in Chicago.
For Tillie, I believe he gains nothing by not participating in the Combine.
It's been well documented that he sprained his left ankle about a week and a half ago at an Atlanta Hawks workout so badly that he couldn't complete the session.
For whatever reason Tillie is withdrawing, even if it isn't injury related, this sure does look like a result of that sprained ankle to NBA teams.
The biggest question for squads about Tillie coming into the Combine was his durability. The ankle sprain is his fourth injury in fourteen months.
Tillie withdrawing definitely does not help answer any questions about that.