Gauging Stock after the Chicago Measurements

Gauging Stock after the Chicago Measurements
Jun 14, 2005, 12:43 am
By Roy Schwartz

Heights are among the most ballyhooed of NBA statistics and often the most misleading. Take Tim Duncan, who was elevated to 7’ feet by the Spurs to promote the fabled “twin towers” theme (after David Robinson retired, Tim miraculously shrunk an inch and is now listed at 6’11). In the new millennium, we’ve had the liberty of getting pinpoint measurements every June from the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, but even these can be misread. In short, height is almost meaningless- standing reach and wingspan are far more important when calculating a prospect’s “true size”.

Elton Brand plays as big as any player in the league despite being substantially undersized- perhaps as short as 6’6 according to some. Yet his insane length practically makes him a 7 footer on the floor, and thanks to his smaller stature, he has coordination and quickness that only a select few of the really tall guys in the league possess. Likewise, bigger guys with T-Rex arms (think Rafael Araujo) frequently end up struggling in the NBA. Not to say that length is the entire story- athletic ability, skill, and mentality can more than make up for it- but you rarely find a truly great big man in the NBA with below average reach for his position.

As for the wingspan versus standing reach debate, I’m a proponent of the latter, primarily because wingspan doesn’t measure arm length so much as shoulder width. In this year’s draft for example, Danny Granger, who is almost identical in height and wingspan to Hakim Warrick, measured a whopping 5 inches shorter in the standing reach test. While a prodigious wingspan alone doesn’t hurt, and all but guarantees that the prospect in question has the frame to take on some serious weight, a high vertical reach allows a more universal impact: shot blocking, shooting over tough D, snagging high rebounds. But I digress.

Since college and foreign player measurements are equally unreliable, it’s easy to see why the Chicago Pre-Draft measurements are so important. They completely change the entire game- in essence players can grow and shrink several inches overnight. While the 2005 draft will probably not be radically transformed by these uncovered revelations, certain players will undoubtedly be rising or falling because of them. Listed below are the most important ones, as well as others of interest.

Stock Up:

Ike Diogu
6' 6½" (height without shoes)
7' 3½" (wingspan)
9' 1" (standing reach)

At first it seems like Ike got the short stick, measuring out at a paltry 6' 6½" without shoes. A closer look reveals that his overall results were fantastic, giving him a standing reach on par with Taft and Villanueva (who will be listed at 6’10 in the NBA), and a longer wingspan than Andrew Bogut. Combine that with his terrific skill set and he could now be considered all but a lottery lock, and has an outside chance at being the first true PF taken.

Wayne Simien
6' 7¼" (height without shoes)
8' 11" (standing reach)

Like Diogu, Wayne is another short post player who ends up benefiting from the measurements. As the Diogu/Brand comparison is now more appropriate, so is the Simien/Boozer one. Though he isn’t as long (Carlos has a standing reach of 9’1½), Wayne has the same rebounding instincts, bread and butter post game, and overall sturdiness. As his workouts continue, it seems more and more likely that his terrific collegiate play will translate into the big leagues.

Frye, Channing
6' 9½" (height without shoes)
243.6 (weight)
7' 2½" (wingspan)
9' 2½" (standing reach)

After looking at the above numbers, it’s not hard to envision Frye playing center in the NBA. His reach is virtually identical to Andrew Bogut’s and is only 6 pounds lighter than the Aussie. Additionally since Frye is one of the few real centers in the entire draft, he will most likely go lottery on the basis of that fact alone, as per Araujo and Robert Swift.

McCants, Rashad
6' 2¾" (height without shoes)
6' 10¾" (wingspan)
8' 7½" (standing reach)

Though McCants is barely taller than Jarrett Jack, clearly he’s a 2 guard, and shouldn’t even be considered undersized for the position. Lengthwise, he compares well to all of the SGs in the draft, and even some of the SFs, like Joey Graham. Look for him to slide up into the latter stages of the first round like Kevin Martin did last year.

Hodge, Julius
6' 6" (height without shoes)
7' 0½" (wingspan)
8' 11½" (standing reach)

Julius is in the second round right now, but couple his standing reach and wingspan, which many PFs in this draft cannot boast, the fact that he has legitimate point skills, a great attitude (on display during his recent workouts), and he too may end up working himself back into the first round.

Marvin Williams
6' 7" (without shoes)
228.2 (weight)
7' 3½” (wingspan)
9' 0" (standing reach)

Though not as tall as purported, Marvin nevertheless is big enough to play rotation minutes on the interior, thanks to his excellent length and bulk. Given his athletic abilities and various skills, he’s a lock to be off the board after the second selection, and might even end up in a close race with Bogut, like Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor did last June.

Jarrett Jack
6’2” ½ (without shoes)
6’7” ½ (wingspan)
8-4 (standing reach)

If we’re talking about the top four PG’s in this draft, Jarrett Jack leaves all of them in the dust when it comes to the physical attributes. Considering that he only gained an inch when being measuring out in shoes (as opposed to an inch and a quarter or an inch and a half like most players), he is 6-4 for all intents and purposes, with an outstanding 8-4 standing reach that is better than every other PG in this draft. Jack is not only a physical specimen; he also has all the skills NBA teams look for in a PG.

Stock Neutral:

Andrew Bogut
6' 11" (height without shoes)
7' 3" (wingspan)
9' 2½" (standing reach)

While Andrew turned out to be of above average height and length for a center (very similar to Chris Mihm and Joel Pryzbilla), I was pretty disappointed by his results, expecting him to post at the minimum, Darko-esque specs. He is as legit a 7 footer as you’re going to find these days, disproving the nasty rumors that he was actually 6’9 (as listed during the Athens games), but overall, it’s clear that he will be a top 2 pick based on skill more than anything else.

On the PF front, Chris Taft and Charlie Villanueva each measured out with a solid standing reach of 9’1, which isn’t a completely unsurprising figure. Charlie may have been listed at 6’11 by UConn, but if you watched any Huskies games it was obvious he was shorter than that. David Lee was helped more by solid play during the tourney than by measurements, ending up with an 8' 10½ standing reach. The widely held notion Hakim Warrick is very long was affirmed by his results- a standing reach nearly equal to that of Chris Taft and Charlie V. Unlike those two however, it is beginning to seem doubtful that Warrick, at 215 pounds, will be able to put on enough weight to ever play his natural position, PF, in the NBA. Chris Paul and Raymond Felton are both going to be undersized PGs in the league, sub 6’ footers (though Felton, at 200 pounds, is built like a tank). Deron Williams is a bit taller, probably enough to get listed as 6’3 in the NBA, which adds to the rather small list of similarities he shares with Jason Kidd. The two foreign players measured, Nemanja Aleksandrov and Martynas Andriuskevicius are both very lanky but equally narrow. Martynas’s height is actually 2 inches longer than his wingspan, a rather amazing statistic. Nemanja is most notable for the 2 inches he grows when putting on sneakers.

Stock Down:

Sean May
6' 7" (height without shoes)
8' 9" (standing reach)

May is the third of the undersized PFs vying for a place in the lottery, has great strength and hands but a sub par standing reach, 8’9. Despite a fantastic tournament, it is difficult to recommend him over Diogu or Simien; their length will allow them play on even ground with most NBA starters, but May’s weakness in this area leaves many question marks. His listed weight of 258 pounds isn’t doing him any favors either. Its one thing dominating 6’5 centers like Powell; how will May react to the situation being reversed?

Jawad Williams, once considered a first rounder, is falling out of the draft all together. At 6’7 (without shoes) and 218 pounds it is a forgone conclusion that he will never be a PF in the league, effectively dispelling the Cliff Robinson comparisons he was drawing earlier this year before his offensive slump. Equally hopeless is his future at the 3, unless he somehow develops a complete perimeter game.

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