Who's the biggest loser at the NBA Draft Combine? Steve Alford. Why? First, like Jeff Eisenberg said, having three underclassmen leave is a big blow to the program, and the surprise about-face by Jordan Adams was the straw that broke the camel's back. Second, Zach LaVine is exploding, and Alford is getting trashed all over Chicago.
ESPNU and ESPN2 are covering the Combine live, and the analysts can't stop wondering how LaVine didn't start or even play backup to Kyle Anderson last season. We've been over this road many times, but something Zach said hit home. I posted this Thursday. Zach wants to change the narrative in the face of questions regarding his virtually zero minutes at point guard and limited minutes overall last season. He came to UCLA as a point guard and he's ready to tackle the position at the next level. The dishing on Alford is warranted.
Ryan Kartje writes that LaVine is the Combine's top performer (recall that the big names, Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, etc. did not participate):
"Virtually every GM I spoke with had him pegged as a lottery pick," ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford wrote. "He'll have to keep up this pace in workouts (he'll see a lot of Marcus Smart, Tyler Ennis and Elfrid Payton in those workouts), but no one had a bigger first day than LaVine."
What if Zach turns out to be the the next Russell Westbrook? Alford will never live it down. OK, that's a bit of hyperbole, but you get the point. A college star and an NBA star are two different animals, but in a situation where you didn't have a backup point guard this year and no one on the books for next year, how do you not give Zach a shot?
Unfortunately, Kyle Anderson is injured and only participated in the measurements. You can see them all here. Interesting to note -- while Kyle came in at a body fat percentage of 13.5%, Jordan lost weight, and came in at 10.8%. I'll say again, I'm surprised that Jordan is 6'3 1/2" in stocking feet. His vertical leap is 29.5". How did he play small forward? And yet, he was number two on the team in rebounding. Guess its his craftiness again. Perhaps we should call him Mr. Intangibles of the NBA Draft.
Seth Davis is impressed by both Zach and Jordan:
Well, we all knew Jordan wasn't going to impress on athleticism, but his shooting is turning heads.
Let's hope for the best for Jordan, Kyle and Zach on June 26, and stay tuned to BN for updates on the Combine and the Draft.
UPDATE SAT 2:30 PM PST: Here's a good article from SBN that gives you the 360 on LaVine from UCLA to the Combine. I'm watching the replay on NBATV. Chad Ford mentioned LaVine for his highlight from Thursday, and Fran Fraschilla gave props to Jordan Adams as his. By the way, there is no 5-on-5 at the Combine.