CHICAGO — The tape measures were not kind to forward Doug McDermott, the reigning Naismith Player of the Year after a season at Creighton in which he averaged 26.7 points and shot 52.6 percent from the field. When it came time to measure McDermott at the NBA’s draft combine Thursday, there was disappointment — he was only 6-6.25 without shoes. That should put him at about 6-7.5 with shoes (maybe sli
CHICAGO — The tape measures were not kind to forward Doug McDermott, the reigning Naismith Player of the Year after a season at Creighton in which he averaged 26.7 points and shot 52.6 percent from the field.
When it came time to measure McDermott at the NBA’s draft combine Thursday, there was disappointment — he was only 6-6.25 without shoes. That should put him at about 6-7.5 with shoes (maybe sli
The bigger problem is that McDermott’s wingspan is only 6-foot-9.25, which puts him in the company of guards Dante Exum, C.J. Wilcox and Marcus Smart. McDermott is a poor defender, and there was already concern that he would struggle to find a role in the NBA because, as great a scorer as he is, it’s difficult to define his position. These measurements only firm up that worry.
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McDermott had moved up on most draft boards over the course of the season, even projected to be a Top 10 pick (he is No. 7 in our mock draft ). That will probably change. McDermott might hold on to his status as a lottery player, but he is more likely to have slipped to the teens, now.
“You know, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder, and if you think you can envision a role for him, then you would use a lottery pick on him, because he has so much talent,” one team executive told Sporting News. “But those numbers were not good. They were potentially disastrous. You really wanted to be able to play him at the 4 some, you know, to fake it in some small lineups. I don’t think you can even do that.”
McDermott said that, eventually, he will be a power forward, but acknowledged that, for now, he is caught in between.
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“Once I get stronger, I think they could see me more as a four, guarding fours,” McDermott said. “But for now, I am going to have to be able to keep a three in front of me and maybe possibly a two, just because I am not quite as tall as some of the fours in the NBA. I will figure it out, once I get on the floor, I am a basketball player, I will figure it out from there.”
McDermott can take comfort in the knowledge that he is not the only big-time collegiate name who (literally) came up short on Thursday.
Michigan State shooting guard Gary Harris came in at 6-foot-2.5 without shoes, with a wingspan of 6-foot-6.75 — the third-smallest wingspan among wing players. Again, that’s a big concern for a potential Top 10 player.
“I have played against bigger guards in the Big Ten all year and I was able to hold my own,” Harris said. “I know it’s a different level in the NBA, but just because I might not be typical size for an NBA two guard, I still feel like I can go out there and compete and play.”
Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier measured at 5-foot-11 without shoes, second shortest among the prospects present, and had a 6-foot-3.25 wingspan, third-shortest in the group. His 7--foot-9 standing reach was the shortest at the combine.
Now, the good news, starting with Kentucky forward Julius Randle. One of the knocks on Randle — fair or not — has been his lack of blocks and steals, which some have taken to be an indication of short arms. But his wingspan measured in at seven feet and while that hardly makes him Wilt Chamberlain, it is middle-of the-pack and should not hurt his stock.
Another top-tier prospect, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, came out with good numbers after measurements, too. Vonleh is 6-foot-8 without shoes, which makes him about average height for a power forward, but he had the second-biggest wingspan of the group, at 7-foot-4.25. He also has enormous mitts — his hands measured 11.75 inches in width, biggest at the combine by a longshot (three players have hands measuring 10.50 inches wide).
Also helping their causes were a trio of rangy, physically gifted small forwards — Jerami Grant (6-foot-6.5 without shoes) of Syracuse, Kyle Anderson (6-foot-7.5) of UCLA and Connecticut’s DeAndre Daniels (6-foot-7.25). All three measured wingspans bigger than 7-foot-2 and were in the top 11 in standing reach.