The NBA Draft Combine returns to its normal spot in the schedule this week in Chicago where 76 players will measure, interview and compete for attention in front of NBA team scouts, executives and decision-makers. Workouts begin Wednesday and run through Friday, which should give us further clarity about how perhaps the draft next month may unfold.
Storylines abound as we prep for the momentous week from top picks to top (potential) promises, G League Elite camp standouts, late risers and more. Here are all the big stories to follow with surely more to unravel in the coming hours and days leading up to the event.
The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline is June 1, but already there are whispers — potentially soon turning to murmurs — about possible promises for some of this year’s fringe prospects. One to watch is Michigan forward Caleb Houstan, a former five-star recruit, who was projected as a fringe first-rounder just weeks ago. Given that projection, the combine in theory would be a huge platform for him. However, he declined his invite — one of two to do so along with Kris Murray, who may return to Iowa — and has thus far remained in the draft, leading to speculation that he may have been promised by a team. There’s sure to be more scuttlebutt to follow in the coming days, especially with all the hang sessions between key NBA folks and media on tap.
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Will top prospects continue to skip?
Answer: … probably. Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey — the likely top four picks in this draft — have accepted combine invites and are expected to be in attendance in Chicago this week. But none of the four are likely to be active in workouts. In recent years there’s been an emerging trend where few — if any — of the top talents participate. With so many of the top names already identified, we may again be headed for another year where the biggest names sit. How many that includes (top five? lottery? first-rounders?) is the bigger question.
G League Elite camp standouts
There will be 44 players participating in the G League Elite Camp, a camp on Monday and Tuesday where draft prospects can play their way into the combine. This has been a forum in the past that has served players and their draft prospects well, with Terance Mann, Jose Alvarado, Max Strus and others using the platform to catch the eyes of NBA players and many others using it to leapfrog into the combine in a bigger spotlight. The event begins Monday and concludes Tuesday.
First-round talents emerge
The combine is the place to showcase your skills and state your case as a proving ground in front of the people who matter most. This has been a place in year’s past where first-rounders prove they are indeed first-rounders, but more often than not, it’s a place where fringe first-rounders solidify their standing and rise up boards. Among those that come to mind in recent memory who helped their standing: Nic Claxton, Luka Samanic, Jericho Sims, Bones Hyland and Joe Wieskamp. The back end of the first round is more open this year than in several years, so this week could be significant in determining which names fill out the first round. There’s inevitably going to be some big names who ride strong weeks into the first round radar.
International talent abounds
With often conflicting international schedules, prospects either from overseas or playing in leagues overseas rarely get a break in the schedule big enough to make the Combine. But this year is a bit different. Nikola Jovic (Serbia/Mega), Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite/Australia), Jean Montero (Overtime Elite/Dominican Republic) and Ousmane Dieng (NBL/Australia) — all first-rounders on the Big Board — have accepted combine invites and are expected to compete. For the scouting community, it should be a great opportunity to see how their talents stack up against some of the best college prospects. It further should provide clarity on other expected non-U.S. attendees not currently projected in the first round with Ismael Kamagate (France), Hugo Besson (Australia), Leonard Miller (Canada) and several others in town. There’s sure to be some moving and shaking and some of those players have a great chance to really cement themselves as NBA prospects.
Prospects invited to 2022 NBA Draft Combine
|Patrick Baldwin Jr.||Milwaukee|
|Dominick Barlow||Overtime Elite|
|Marjon Beauchamp||G League Ignite|
|Hugo Besson||New Zealand Breakers|
|Malaki Branham||Ohio State|
|John Butler Jr.||Florida State|
|Julian Champagnie||St. John’s|
|Max Christie||Michigan State|
|Dyson Daniels||G League Ignite|
|Ousmane Dieng||New Zealand Breakers|
|Khalifa Diop||Gran Canaria (Spain)|
|Michael Foster Jr.||G League Ignite|
|Jaden Hardy||G League Ignite|
|Ron Harper Jr.||Rutgers|
|Nikola Jovic||Mega (Serbia)|
|Ismael Kamagate||Paris (France)|
|Jake LaRavia||Wake Forest|
|E.J. Liddell||Ohio State|
|Leonard Miller||Fort Erie Intl. Academy (Canada)|
|Iverson Molinar||Mississippi State|
|Jean Montero||Overtime Elite|
|Wendell Moore Jr.||Duke|
|Scotty Pippen Jr.||Vanderbilt|
|Gabriele Procida||Fortitudo Bologna (Italy)|
|Orlando Robinson||Fresno State|
|David Roddy||Colorado State|
|Dereon Seabron||NC State|
|Terquavion Smith||NC State|
|Matteo Spagnolo||Cremona (Italy)|
|TyTy Washington Jr.||Kentucky|
|Blake Wesley||Notre Dame|
|Alondes Williams||Wake Forest|
|Jalen Williams||Santa Clara|
|Fanbo Zeng||G League Ignite|