20130516_jel_sl8_026

Centers/Power Forwards:

Measurements:

Name Height W/O Shoes Height With Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width

Gorgui Dieng

6' 9.75'' 6' 10.75'' 229.6 7' 3.5'' 9' 3.5'' 5.35 9 10

Rudy Gobert

7' 0.5''

7' 2''

237.6

7' 8.5''

9' 7''

4.4

9.75

10
Alex Len
NULL NULL NULL 7' 3.5'' NULL 6.4 9

10.75

Nerlens Noel

6' 10'' 6' 11.75'' 206.4 7' 3.75'' 9' 2''

4.15

9.5 10

Kelly Olynyk

6' 10.75'' 7' 0'' 234 6' 9.75'' 9' 0'' 6.65 8.5 10

Mason Plumlee

6' 11.25'' 7' 0.5''

238.2

6' 11'' 9' 0'' 6.15

9.75

9.5

Cody Zeller

6' 10.75'' 7' 0.25'' 230 6' 10.75'' 8' 10'' 4.75 8.5 10.5

The seven bigs listed above all have a chance of being lottery picks (along with Anthony Bennett who didn't attend), though some of their performances may have hurt those chances. Judging by the measurables alone, Rudy Gobert from France was by far the most impressive. Gobert has a massive standing reach of 9'7" and a 7'8.5" wingspan. However, when speaking of players you've actually heard of, Gorgui Dieng, Alex Len, and Nerlens Noel measured out the best. Dieng and Len edged out Noel in the standing reach category, but Noel has a slightly longer wingspan than Dieng. It's also worth noting that Alex Len only participated in a couple of these events because of a freshly repaired stress fracture, so with his wingspan and height, his standing reach would have been second only to Gobert.

Kelly Olynyk and Cody Zeller were the least impressive of the group, with shorter arms/reaches compared to other players their height. We knew Zeller's reach wasn't that great, but an 8'10" standing reach for a 7-footer is pretty low. The same can be said for Olynyk and his reach which is actually one inch shorter than his height. Therefore, Olynyk earns the T-Rex distinction of the group for this year's group of prospects.

Results:
Name 3/4 Court Sprint Time
Lane Agility Time
Modified Time
Standing Vertical
Max Vertical

Gorgui Dieng

NULL NULL NULL NULL NULL

Rudy Gobert

3.57 12.85
3.19
25 29

Alex Len

NULL NULL NULL NULL NULL

Nerlens Noel


NULL

NULL

NULL


NULL

NULL

Kelly Olynyk

3.59 11.42 2.99 24.5 29.5

Mason Plumlee

3.29 10.89 2.76 30.5 36

Cody Zeller

3.15

10.82

2.69

35.5

37.5

Just when you thought Cody Zeller was finished, he comes storming back to relevance by showing just how underrated his athleticism was this year. Everyone knew how skilled he was offensively, but super athletic?

I have mentioned it many times before...Zeller is a much better athlete than his brother and was very underrated in that respect, but even I was surprised by his results. Zeller not only had the best standing vertical of any big at the combine, it's the highest standing vertical by any player over 6'9" in the history of the NBA Combine. If you don't think this is important, ask yourself how many times bigs have to jump straight up from a stand still to grab rebounds or putbacks. Not only that, but his speed at running the floor and his lane agility were all tops as well...very impressive numbers overall for a big. Although Zeller lacks in wingspan and reach, his agility and hops help to make up for it...which could really help his case among scouts and front offices who may have been leery of him otherwise.

Mason Plumlee also showed off his expected agility and athleticism which could possibly help him to become a late lottery pick as well. As for Gobert who was highly touted as being very athletic for a man his size, well...maybe not so much. Gobert came crashing back down to earth on the second day with some less than impressive numbers across all categories. I still think he moves well for a big and seems to play more athletically than he tested at the combine, but I think these numbers significantly hurt his chances of rising up the mocks into the lottery.

Conclusion:

The bigs were far less telling than the guards, because of the number of top prospects who were injured and not participating. While Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee probably did the most to help their cases of being lottery picks, the real winners here were still Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, and Anthony Bennett, who although missed many, or all, of the categories, were still able to retain their top rankings...due to none of the other prospects doing enough to unseat them.

20130516_jel_sl8_006

Shooting Guards/Small Forwards:

Measurements:

Name Height W/O Shoes Height With Shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width
Shooting Guards
C.J. McCollum (SG) 6' 2.25'' 6' 3.25'' 197 6' 6.25'' 8' 0.5'' 8.6 8 9.5
Ben McLemore (SG) 6' 3.5'' 6' 4.75'' 189.2 6' 7.75'' 8' 4.5'' 5 8.75 9.5
Victor Oladipo (SG) 6' 3.25'' 6' 4.25'' 213.2 6' 9.25'' 8' 4.5'' 6.55 8.75 9.25
Small Forwards
Shabazz Muhammad (SF) 6' 4.75'' 6' 6.25'' 221.8 6' 11'' 8' 8.5'' 9 9 10
Otto Porter (SF) 6' 7.5'' 6' 8.5'' 197.6 7' 1.5'' 8' 9.5'' 6.65 8.75 9.25

For the shooting guards, Oladipo stood out the most overall with his 6"9.25" reach, making him the longest guard in this group. While McLemore is technically the tallest, it's hard to call that a win for him being that he is only one-quarter of an inch taller than Oladipo, when many scouts thought he was 1"-2" inches taller. McLemore is the leanest with only 5% body fat, but Oladipo isn't much more at 6.55%, and when you couple that with his weight of 213 lbs, it shows that he has the strongest, most NBA-ready body by far.

As for the small forwards, it's a two-man competition for the prospective lottery players with Dario Saric not participating in the NBA Combine. Porter wins the measurabes with ease as he registers nearly three inches taller than Shabazz without shoes. Although Muhammad's 6'11" wingspan is very impressive, Porter still manages to one-up him here registering a 7'1.5" measurement. Muhammad does win the size contest weighing in at 221lbs compared to Porter at a svelte 197.6, but he's also at 9% body fat compared to Porter at only 6.65%. Still, Shabazz calculates to around 20lbs of total body fat compared to Porter at around 13lbs....only a 7lb difference. So Muhammad's weight advantage is still mostly muscle...which is good.

Results:
Name 3/4 Court Sprint Time
Lane Agility Time
Modified Time
Standing Vertical
Max Vertical
Shooting Guards


C.J. McCollum (SG) 3.32 11.02 2.91 (14th overall)
32 (15th overall)
38.5 (14th overall)
Ben McLemore (SG) 3.27 (20th overall)
11.87 3.11 32.5 (13th overall)
42 (Tied 2nd overall)
Victor Oladipo (SG) 3.25 (17th overall)
10.69 (11th overall)
3.14 33 (11th overall)
42 (Tied 2nd overall)
Small Forwards
Shabazz Muhammad (SF) 3.32 10.99 2.93 29.5 37
Otto Porter (SF) 3.4 11.25 3.06 27 36

The story here for the guards is Oladipo's athleticism. While McLemore proved he is no doubt an elite athlete, Oladipo proved he is even more so. McLemore and Oladipo tied for 2nd place overall with 42" max verticals (only PG Shane Larkin registered higher at 44"). While Oladipo registered slightly higher in the standing vertical and 3/4 court sprint, the difference was very minor, so they are both fairly comparable in these regards. The biggest difference was in the lane agility drill, where Oladipo showed his lateral quickness and ability to move side-to-side, forward, and backwards with a substantial advantage over McLemore...who actually fell down at the conclusion of the drill by losing his balance. In contrast, Oladipo stayed very low to the court and showed terrific agility and body control...this was apparent just by watching him.

As for the small forwards, Muhammad ran the table on Porter here, but didn't really set himself apart from the rest of the pack in any substantial way. Porter is not an elite athlete, and while Muhammad is more athletic, he isn't considered high-level or elite by any means either. Tim Hardaway Jr. was actually the most impressive small forward in this regard, but is not considered a lottery pick by most accounts, so he was not part of this comparison.

Conclusion:

If the Suns are going to draft a wing with their first round pick, which will fall somewhere between 1-7, there's a 99% chance it will be one of these five players. For the shooting guards, Oladipo showed he was the fastest, strongest, quickest, and most athletic, as well as the longest of the potential lottery SGs. As for the small forwards, in my opinion, Porter was slightly more impressive overall by virtue of his measurables. Although Muhammad showed he is the more athletic of the two, even his scores were mediocre, so I wouldn't really call that a win in his favor.

One thing to keep in mind is that these measurements and skills are only a small part of the total package of what constitutes a great basketball player. However, in a league where relatively small differences separate the cream from the crop, these metrics are important to many scouts and front office personnel who are trying to find the best indicators of potential and productivity. In other words, this isn't the be-all-end-all by any means, but it can certainly help or hurt your draft stock.

*All officially recorded stats from NBA.com

Like so many veterans before him, Jermaine O’Neal came to Phoenix in search of rejuvenation. He had spent his previous two seasons languishing in Boston with seemingly insurmountable injury woes. The...

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Fastbreak_300_130426

Since the current iteration of the Phoenix Suns is on vacation during these playoffs, we at Bright Side thought it would be fun to relive the Suns' exciting 1993 playoff run with recaps of each game, starting with Game 5 of the Western Semis. Revisit yesteryear while we wait for the Suns to rise again.

After a thrilling come-from-behind first round series win over the Los Angeles Lakers ("and everyone's gonna say what a great series it was"), the Phoenix Suns faced an equally big opponent in the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had just beaten defending Western Champ Portland Trailblazers in round one, and saw the smaller Suns as their next step on a Finals run of their own.

David Robinson was a beast surrounded by role players that made them greater - and more frustrating - than the sum of their parts (where have I heard this one before). Avery Johnson. Sean Elliot. J.R. Reid. Antoine Carr. Dale Ellis. All good players, but all role players around a Hall of Fame center.

The smaller Suns had led the league in scoring, by a wide margin, and boasted a passable defense (9th in efficiency vs. 18th in points allowed) to win a club record 62 games before the playoffs started.

(again, where have I heard all this before?)

Charles Barkley was the Suns Hall of Famer in 1993, putting up 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game, along with a block for a good measure. Charles had truly an historic season, one that has not been topped in the valley - either in terms of raw stats or raw impact - since. You could argue that Steve Nash made the same, if not bigger, impact (and certainly a more long-lasting one) but Nash never guided the Suns to the Finals and never in the way that Charles did.

The Suns supporting cast was a who's who for Suns fans: PG Kevin Johnson (MIP, 3-time All-Star, 5-time All-NBA). SG/SF Dan Majerle (3-time All-Star, 2-time All-Defensive). F Tom Chambers (4-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA). Danny Ainge (1-time All-Star). Ced Ceballos (1-time All-Star). Mark West. Oliver Miller. Richard Dumas. Tim Kempton. 4th-quarter Frank Johnson.

Man, that was an exciting team. The Suns painted the town orange that year. Chambers, Kempton and West still work for the Suns to this day. Ceballos was their in-game entertainer for years. Majerle was a TV guy, then coach. Barkley still lives in the valley. In many ways, the 1993 team is still part of the franchise fabric.

May 18, 1993: Suns beat Spurs 109-97, take 3-2 series lead

Boxscore - courtesy of basketball-reference.com

The Suns returned home for Game 5 after letting the series get tied up 2-2. "It's never very hard to play on the road," shooting guard Danny Ainge quipped. "It's just hard to win on the road."

Feasting on home cooking and a rocking home crowd, the Suns muddled through three tight quarters before Charles Barkley lit up the night with 19 fourth-quarter points, including 16 in a 6-minute stretch. Barkley put the Suns on his back and carried them home when they needed it the most.

Barkley finished the game with 36 points (on 16 shots and 15 free throws) and 12 rebounds. He got great support from Kevin Johnson (15 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds) and Dan Majerle (17 points, 4 rebounds). As a team, the Suns shot 59.7% for the game, a huge improvement over shooting less than 42% in each of the losses in San Antonio.

The crowd was electric. The Suns attendance ranked 5th in the league that year, with every single game sold out and playoff tickets really hard to come by. My dad went to every game and will never forget that series.

Up next: another showdown in the Alamo for Game 6. Could Barkley and the Suns step up on the road?

Failure’s traditional plot in the NBA — where niches are as important as the fairytale dreams of superstardom — generally begins with talent and bloated heads. It’s not P.J....

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