Ike Anigbogu, Thomas Welsh, T.J. Leaf, and Lonzo Ball have been invited to attend this year’s NBA combine, which is slated to take place May 9-14 at the Quest Center in Chicago. According to ESPN, Lonzo Ball has declined to attend the entire event, while others may attend the drills but will bow out of the 5-on-5 portion. The event will also include medical testing and team interviews.
It’s not unheard of for potential first round picks to decline the invitation. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram did not attend last year’s combine and were the league’s top two picks. The combine can also help players decide whether or not they want to continue on to the NBA draft, and they can withdraw as long as they have not hired an agent. Players will have until May 24 to withdraw and maintain college eligibility.
As early as December, Ike was projected to go as high as the top 20, according to Bleacher Report. He was one of the youngest players in college basketball this year and played second fiddle to teammates T.J. Leaf and Lonzo Ball. All but Welsh have an agent so there’s no going back, so hopefully the combine and their contributions to this year’s team will keep their draft stock on the rise. Welsh contributed significantly to this year’s team and was often hailed as an unsung hero, so hopefully the scouts also have good material on him to get him drafted.
While we’re coming off of the NFL combine, Senior Bowl, and NFL draft, it begs the question: is the NBA combine just as important? The NBA can draft on potential talent and not necessarily results on the court (see: Zach Lavine). The NFL combine can result in a player proving their worth and getting drafted higher than they would have if they had not attended (see: Eddie Vanderdoes). Is the NBA combine a required event for some to raise their draft stock, but not for others who are pretty much a lock?
Now, the objective blogger in me is saying that Lonzo probably wouldn’t benefit from attending. He can’t really get drafted any higher and what if he did get hurt? I think his biggest task at this point is going to be getting his dad to keep his mouth shut.