Analyzing the 2011 NBA Combine Measurements

Analyzing the 2011 NBA Combine Measurements
May 21, 2011, 11:29 am
Opinions on the importance of measurements vary greatly, as they are just a small piece of the puzzle that determines whether a player will end up being successful. Measurements are still widely anticipated both by NBA draft fans and talent evaluators because they present a completely objective way of comparing prospects.

Check out our measurements database and see how prospects in this class stack up with players in our from the last 10+ years.

Keep in mind that you can sort them by position and by where they were drafted with the help of the drop-down menus at the top.

To narrow down the pre-draft measurements and look only at prospects projected to be picked in this draft, use the “minimum position drafted” filter or click on the following link.

Here is a quick look at some of the interesting facets of this year's measurements.

Unlike the past two years, where we were able to track the differences in the measurements of college prospects who attended the combine in multiple seasons under the NCAA old withdrawal rules, the most interesting time series comparisons we can make are based on the measurements of two “international” prospects.

One of the biggest enigmas in the 2011 draft class due to the ruling levied against his eligibility at Kentucky by the NCAA, Enes Kanter was measured at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit and again in Chicago. Jeremy Tyler bypassed college basketball altogether and was measured at least year's adidas EuroCamp before the 2011 combine. Though neither player's height and weight have changed radically, both players have seemingly grown and now stand well above the average height and wingspan for NBA centers.

Enes Kanter - 2010 6'10.5” 7'1” 255 (Hoop Summit)
Enes Kanter - 2011 6'11.25” 7'1.5” 260 (Chicago)

Jeremy Tyler - 2010 6'9.1” 7'3.8” 246 (EuroCamp)
Jeremy Tyler - 2011 6'10.5” 7'5” 262 (Chicago)

Similarly, we see major fluctuations in standing reach and wingspans between measurements conducted professionally in April at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and those conducted in May at the New Jersey Group Workout and the NBA Combine in Chicago.

Rick Jackson 6'8.5" 246 7'1" 8'9.25" (Portsmouth)
Rick Jackson 6'8.5" 245 7'2" 8'8" (New Jersey)
Rick Jackson 6'8.25” 242 7'2” 8'10.5” (Chicago)

Malcolm Thomas 6'7.25" 218 7'2" 8'10" (Portsmouth)
Malcolm Thomas 6'7.5” 223 7'0.5” 8'11.5” (New Jersey)
Malcolm Thomas 6'7.5" 218 7'1.5" 8'9.5" (Chicago)

Here we see a discrepancy of up to two and a half inches in standing reach and an inch and a half in wingspan –with the larger or smaller measurements not coming in from just one measurement location or another. Considering that all these measurements were conducted in highly professional settings, it makes you wonder just how much other players' figures would change if they were taken multiple times on different days and in different part of the day.

With that in mind, can teams really draw long-term conclusions about prospects based on these results?

Notable measurements:

Kyrie Irving's measurements (6-1 ¾ without shoes, 6-4 wingspan, 8-3 standing reach, 191 pounds) didn't quite live up to the ridiculous standard set by John Wall (6-2 ¾ without shoes, 6-9 ¼ wingspan) last season, and falls a bit short of Derrick Rose (6-1 ½ without shoes, 6-8 wingspan) and Russell Westbrook (6-2 ¼ without shoes, 6-7 ¾ wingspan) in terms of wingspan. However, he has the same height and standing reach as Deron Williams (6' 1.75" without shoes, 8-2 standing reach, 6-6 ¼ wingspan) and the same length as Chris Paul (5-11 ¾ without shoes, 6-4 ¼ wingspan, 7-9 standing reach), to put those comparisons in perspective.

Irving breaks the mold of the freak athletes we've seen drafted at his position in recent seasons, and he probably won't be defending many shooting guards on the NBA level, but he was amongst the biggest stars of the weekend in media interviews. His decision not to participate in the basketball or athletic testing portions of the NBA combine was widely publicized, but hasn't proven significant amongst teams.

See how Irving stacks up historically with other point guards drafted in the top 15 in our measurements database.

The closest comparison to Derrick Williams (6-7 ¼ without shoes, 7-1 ½ wingspan, 248 pounds) we can find in our database physically is former Georgetown standout DaJuan Summers (6-7 ¼ withough shoes, 7-0 ¾ wingspan, 243 pounds). Amongst power forwards drafted in the top-5 in recent seasons, Williams compares favorably to Michael Beasley (6-7 without shoes, 7-0 ¼ wingspan, 239 pounds), another player who was incredibly productive on the college level.

The Arizona product would rank right around average for a power forward in terms of physical tools, but measures out about an inch taller, weigh in 15 pounds heavier, and post a wingspan an inch longer than the average small forward in our database.

Looking at other small forwards drafted in the top-15 in our database, Williams would be the heaviest small forward picked since Rodney Rogers in 1993. Rogers didn't spend a significant time at the three-position as his career progressed. The next heaviest three drafted in that range was LeBron James, who tipped the scales at 245. By no means is it impossible to see Williams playing the small forward position full time at the next level, but he would rank as one of the more physically unique players we've seen there in some time.

Williams made major strides in his physical conditioning this season, but with a body fat percentage of 10.8 he could drop even more weight heading into his rookie season. Considering the transformation he underwent between his freshman and sophomore years, it will be interesting to see which direction his body heads on the NBA level.

See how Williams stacks up against other power forwards drafted in the top 15 in our measurements database.

Kemba Walker's measurements (6-3 ½ wingspan, 184 pounds) don't quite jump off the page. Standing 5-11 ½ without shoes on, he would rank as of the five shortest point guards drafted in the top-15 in our database if current projections hold true. His wingspan is shorter than that of Jonny Flynn (5-11 ¼ without shoes, 6-4 wingspan) and Mike Conley (5-11 ¾ without shoes, 6-5 ¾ wingspan), and T.J. Ford (5-11 without shoes) and D.J. Augustin (5-10 without shoes) are the only players he has a significant height advantage on.

He is however comparable height wise with the likes of Raymond Felton, Chris Paul and Allen Iverson, and bigger than other successful point guards such as Aaron Brooks, Jameer Nelson, Ty Lawson—meaning there is a roadmap in place already for him to make it in the NBA.

Measuring in as the 2nd lightest player in Chicago this season at 184 pounds, Walker showed unique toughness for a player his size while leading Connecticut to a NCAA Championship.

Brandon Knight (6-1 ½ without shoes) was the lightest player in Chicago at 177 pounds, and registered the second lowest body fat percentage at 4.2%. Amongst point guards drafted in the top-15, Knight's height/weight combination is similar to Jason Terry's (6-1.5 without shoes, 176 pounds). His 6-6 ¾ wingspan is well above average, and his size should be an advantage for him as he continues to pack weight on his frame.

As we mentioned above, this has been a productive couple of days for Enes Kanter who has impressed in workouts and measured out at nearly 6-10 without shoes with a 7-1 ½ wingspan and 260 pounds frame. His wingspan doesn't compare favorably to recently drafted PF/C's like Derrick Favors (7-4 wingspan) or Ekpe Udoh (7-4 ½ wingspan), but puts his right on par with Al Horford (6-8 ¾ without shoes, 7-0 ¾ wingspan, 246 pounds) and Nick Collison (6-8 ¾ without shoes, 7-1 ½ wingspan, 255 pounds. Kanter doesn't have long arms for his height, but he has a massive frame for a 19 year-old.

See how Kanter stacks up with other centers drafted in the top-15 historically.

Alec Burks (6-5 without shoes, 6-10 wingspan, 193 pounds) doesn't stand out in many combine measurement metrics on paper, but isn't below average in any category either. Perhaps the most pertinent comparison amongst shooting guards in our historical database from a physical perspective is former Stanford star Josh Childress (6-5 ¾ without shoes, 6-11 wingspan, 196 pounds). Burks is slightly smaller than Childress across the board, but he's certainly in that ball-park, and has the smooth floor game and versatility to match.

With a wingspan some 9 inches longer than he is tall at 6-6, Leonard has one of the most unique physical profiles in this class. His hands, as expected, are absolutely gigantic, ranking him amongst 7'0 foot centers in terms of hand width and length. His 7-3 wingspan is amongst the largest ever for a player 6-6 or under. Leonard's 227-pound frame actually weights in heavier than many of the power forwards in this class, which only adds to sentiments that he'll be able to guard the power forward position for stretches at the next level.

Marcus Morris is not an elite physical specimen, but he did register a positive wingspan to height ratio (6-10:6-7) at a solid 230 pounds. While he's still slightly short and not as long as the average power forward in our database, his mature offensive repertoire should help him overcome those limitations early in his career. Considering that many thought he would come in with a shorter wingspan than his height based on measurements conducted last summer, he probably helped himself in this regard, as he joked about in an interview with us. With that said, Morris would have the shortest wingspan of any power forward drafted in the first round according to our database.

Much like his brother, Markieff Morris didn't blow anyone away with his measurements, but he did measure ¾ of an inch taller, 10 pounds heavier, and with arms 2 ½” longer than his twin brother. His measurements are almost identical to those of fellow Kansas alum Darrell Arthur.

Measuring in slightly taller than expected 6-7.5, Tristan Thompson has average size but compensates with a 7-1 ¼ inch wingspan. Those measurements put his in the company of Josh Smith (6-7 without shoes, 7-0 wingspan) and James Johnson (6-7 without shoes, 7-0 ¾ wingspan) amongst recently drafted players. Amongst the younger players here, Thompson's 227-pound frame is also impressive.

Harris measured in at just 6-6 ½ inches tall without shoes on, but posted a 6-11 wingspan. To compare that to another first round combo forward, Jared Dudley only measured in at 6-5 ¾ with a 6-7 wingspan. Harris shares Dudley's high basketball IQ, and that should help him adapt to whatever he's asked to do as a rookie.

Jordan Hamilton's (6-6 ¾ without shoes, 6-9 ½ wingspan, 228 pounds) also measured out larger than expected, and is right on par with a handful of successful NBA small forwards. Joe Johnson (6-6 ¾ without shoes, 6-9 wingspan) is an almost identical match for Hamilton physically, while he has better height and similar length to the likes of DeMar DeRozan, J.R. Smith and Evan Turner.

Jimmer Fredette measured in a shade above 6-foot at 6-0 ¾, and registered a respectable 6-4 ½ wingspan. By no means is he a specimen amongst point guards, but he compares pretty well to Stephen Curry (6-2 without shoes, 6-3 ½ wingspan) and ranks just a touch behind Deron Williams (6-1 ¾ without shoes, 6-6 ¼ wingspan).

Isaiah Thomas (5-8 ¾ without shoes, 6-1 ¾ wingspan) measured out taller than Devan Downey (5-8 ½ without shoes, 6-0 ½ wingspan), but smaller than Keydren Clark (5-9 without shoes, 6-2 ½ wingspan) and Jerome Randle (5-9 ¼ without shoes, 6-0 wingspan) amongst undersized prospects we've encountered in recent seasons. If picked, he would be the smallest player ever drafted in our database besides Nate Robinson.

-Nikola Vucevic (7-4 ½ wingspan) and Jon Leuer (6-10 without shoes, 7-0 wingspan, 223 pounds) measured in just a shade under 7-0 with shoes on, with
Vucevic earning the nod for tallest player in attendance without shoes at 6-10 ¼, ranking as the second heaviest player at 260 pounds, and posting a standing reach half-an-inch higher than Greg Oden's at 9-4.5.
Considering how capable those two players are from the perimeter, those measurements are certainly intriguing, and Vucevic was one of the clear winners at the combine.

-Jeremy Tyler's 7-5 wingspan is amongst the largest in our historical database for a player standing 6-9. He's the heaviest player in this class at 262 pounds and had the second largest body fat percentage at 13.4%.

-Trey Thompkins (6-8 ½ without shoes, 7-1 wingspan) measured out well for a four, but had the highest body fat percentage at 15.5%, comparable to that of DeMarcus Cousins last year.

-Richmond's Justin Harper had the lowest body fat percentage amongst players in attendance at just 4%. Standing 6-8 with a 6-11 ¾ wingspan, Harper is clearly taking his conditioning seriously. That percentage is one of the lowest ever measured on a player weighing in near 230 pounds.

We made a note in our recent west coast workout report about just how big Greg Smith's hands are. Upon further review at the combine, his hands are one-foot wide, easily the top mark we've seen since the combine began measuring hands. This quantifies the way Smith (6-8 without shoes, 7-2 ½ wingspan, 252 pounds) can routinely snatch the ball out of mid-air and palm it away from his body.

Marshon Brooks measured in extremely well at 6-4 1/4 without shoes with a gigantic 7-1 wingspan, further adding to the strong buzz he has going for himself heading into the month of June. His wingspan is just an inch shorter than the likes of Josh Howard, Trevor Ariza and Tracy McGrady, players who saw more time at small forward than shooting guard in the NBA. For comparison's sake, the average power forward drafted in the first round has a 7-1.8 wingspan, while Brooks is clearly a shooting guard skill-wise.

-Also deserving of mention are
Michael Dunigan, who at 6-10 in shoes with a 7-3 1/4 wingspan and gigantic hands has more than enough size to play center in the NBA
, and
Keith Benson, who at 6-10 without shoes with a near 7-4 wingspan, 9-1 1/2 standing reach and massive hands is everything the NBA dreams of in a big man prospect. Benson needs to add a good 20 pounds to his lanky 217 pound frame, but has a nice build that should fill out in time, especially considering his late bloomer status.

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