Our own contributor, Kris Habbas, is also a scout who runs NBADraftInsider.com, one of the best NBA draft and scouting websites in the country.
Tonight, Kris posted the raw measurements of all the top prospects for the draft (except Alex Len). Each year, there's a few guys who measure bigger than people thought they'd be, and a few who drop because of their alligator arms or lack of overall height.
For a shooting guard, it's tough to measure under 6'5" but it does help to have really long arms. Dwyane Wade is only 6'5" but his reach is almost 7'0" which always helped him overcome that deficiency.
The Phoenix Suns, who draft somewhere between #1 overall and #7 overall, must have come away with some new information to add to their databanks that just might shuffle their draft board. They have needed a top-end wing player for a long time, so let's look at how the top wings measured.
Victor Oladipo measured only 6'4.25" in shoes (which, after all, how they play the game). His reach is over 6'9" though, so that should help him at the next level. But still, 6'4" is short for a starting SG in the NBA.
Otto Porter, on the other hand, measured bigger than many expected. He's 6'8.5" in shoes (comparing favorably to Nic Batum) with a reach of over 7'1"! Consider that's a longer reach than many center prospects.
One guy who some are calling this year's Dion Waiters or Damian Lillard, for possibly getting drafted early in the lottery despite being an undersized combo guard, is C.J. McCollum. McCollum is a combo guard who can shoot and handle the ball and pass it.
McCollum, who missed most of last season due to injury, measured at 6'3.25" in shoes with a 6'6" wingspan. His size pushes him to the combo guard, sometime point guard, sometime shooter role in the NBA. If he can run a team, he could be a star (Lillard). But if he can't, he would be more like Leandro Barbosa or Dion Waiters.
Either way, given the dearth of star power in this draft, it's possible that McCollum could shoot all the way into the Suns drafting range.
Check out the measurements on Kris' website right now. Kris will be providing his own (real-er) analysis soon.
Athletic testing comes tomorrow, which can help but it also doesn't say a whole lot either. I remember when D.J. Strawberry was the "best athlete at the combine" years ago. Meant nothing.
But all this is just a little more information to add to the databanks. There's a whole lot of analysis that goes on, and video watching, and interviews, and private workouts, and all that jazz.
At the least, we can hope is that this year the Suns don't (a) fall in love with a single player to the detriment of their scouting and (b) don't overdraft someone that could have been drafted later.
Judging Brown based on this season vs. last season
Brown regressed nearly across the board, but most of the regression was fairly minimal. In fact, if Shannon had been able to convert on three point shots at the same rate as last season, there would have been a nearly imperceptible difference. More on that next paragraph. Should a slight decline be expected on a team that experienced a huge drop off? Absolutely. Is it reasonable to expect a 27 year old player to make huge strides on a bad team? I think not.
When I was perusing Brown's stats I did notice something that I could construe as positive. Shannon's three point shooting took a declivitous dive from last year to this year, but his attempts also went down from 4.8 per 36 minutes to 3.6 per 36. The entire team struggled from long range, so I don't put Shannon's decline completely on his shoulders... it was a team failing. Jared Dudley (.391) and Sebastian Telfair (.381), who was traded, were the only players on the team that shot above the league average. Maybe this suggests that Brown actually steered clear of an area where he wasn't as productive? Couple this with an increase in assists and free throw attempts and it suggests that Shannon may have been making smart basketball decisions (Gasp!).
Judging Brown compared to the Suns other shooting guards
This is kind of interesting. With Dudley and Tucker fitting better as SF, but capable of playing the two, the Suns went into the season with the misfit duo of Johnson and Brown expected to cover many of the shooting guard duties. Brown and Wes combined for 2,355 minutes (out of a team 3,961 shooting guard minutes) and 43 starts, which means they comprised a little more than half of the team's output at that position (Dudley covering the majority of the remaining half).
The dynamic duo led to the Suns being one of the worst teams in the NBA at the shooting guard position. Dudley is obviously the cream of this crop, as he was 65th in the league in eFG% and 19th among small forwards and shooting guards combined... and only six of the 18 above him played more minutes. Where does Brown rank? 331st. Which means that if the 330 ahead of him were equally divided between the 30 teams in the league Brown would be the 12th most efficient shooter on some team's roster. Ouch.
Ironically, Wesley Johnson (who turns 26 this summer) was given a larger portion of the shooting guard minutes in the second half of the season, but he was just as bad as Brown. The players rank Dudley first, Tucker second and Brown and Johnson tied for worst.
Judging Brown compared to league shooting guards
Ranking in terms of 98 shooting guards in the league. All statistics taken from Basketball-Reference.com.
65th in eFG%.
68th in WS/48.
31st in points per 36.
39th in rebounds per 36.
54th in assists per 36.
21st in steals per 36.
Brown is a borderline backup shooting guard. Many of his categories lend credence to his ability to fill such a role, but his inefficiency as a scorer, combined with the fact that he takes lots of shots, push him to the brink. If you want one of the worst backup shooting guards in the league then Shannon is your man.
Overall Grade: D
Shannon Brown is not a good basketball player. The Suns would be much better off giving his minutes to a young player with even a hint of potential (not Wesley Johnson) or a free agent upgrade. Then again, if the Suns plan on participating in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes... then Brown would be a perfect complement to a bottom of the barrel roster. My guess is, speaking of barrels of a different type, that the "Cannon" has fired his last shot as a Phoenix Sun.
Is Lon Babby the guy to bring some much-needed luck to a Phoenix Suns organization that's historically had little in that department? We'll find out on
Thursday Tuesday, June 21 when Babby is up on that weird stage waiting for the results of the NBA Draft Lottery to be announced.
The Suns have a 11.9-percent chance of winning the first-overall pick in a draft lacking a clear choice at the top of prospect pack.
I'm talking to a few people and working on a story asking the question: Do you even want to win the lottery this year?
Regardless, Lon will be the man on the stage who in every practical sense will have no influence over the result but will be credited for being filled with magical powers should the Suns win and will receive absolutely zero fault should the odds play out as expected.
It is not about who is invited, but about who actually participates at the NBA Draft Combine. Just like every year the Combine is like a school dance. The gym is at capacity, but most of the cool guys are not dancing while all the girls are left wanting.
This year there have been a handful of prospects with injuries that required surgery in No. 1 Overall prospect Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett (4), Alex Len (5), Seth Curry (68), and Ryan Kelly (74). They all had routine off-season surgery sacrificing the here and now to be ready to play in the 2013-2014 NBA season in some capacity. They could have held off on the surgeries, but made the right overall decision.
Then there is the group that will not participate on Thursday due primarily to agent decisions in Otto Porter Jr. (3), Michael Carter-Williams (8), Trey Burke (9), Cody Zeller (10), Mason Plumlee (13), C.J. McCollum (18), and Dennis Schroeder (21).
That is by all accounts seven potential lottery picks by ranking wearing sweats instead of basketball gear. In the end that means nothing in terms of stock. Noel will go No. 1 to the teams that need his services and the same for McLemore, Porter Jr, Len, Oladipo, and Burke.
Today the players are working out in sessions for roughly 30-40 minutes at a time running drills that include shooting, rebounding, fast-break offense, closing out, and other NBA situations that allow decision-makers to see these kids play.
For most NBA decision-makers they are looking at these players for the first time due to the long grind of an NBA season. They have to go off of what the scouts have told them and then combine that with their own eye test.
Measurements will be taken Friday and will be up as soon as they are released. Check back in with Bright Side all month for extensive and exhaustive NBA Draft Coverage.