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NBA Draft Combine Observations: Impressive starts from RHJ, Mickey, Harrison and more

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft Combine is underway and most of the testing that does not include a basketball is complete. There was some 5-on-5 play on Thursday, but the most important testing of the past two days were the full measurements on Wednesday and the speed and agility tests on Thursday.

On Wednesday I made the case that the end of the first round and the order of the second round could very well be determined by those 5-on-5 games. While that's not the entire consensus, you could sense some relief from some of the best draft follows on twitter with a more comprehensive look with these prospects.

Here are some of the players that stood out in the first two days.

  • The big winner of the first two days has to be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. If you were looking for something to push you over the edge to buy into RHJ as a prospect, you got it in these two days. Hollis-Jefferson measured at 6'7" with a 7'2" wingspan, barely missing on the best wingspan of the combine for wings. On Thursday he had the second fastest three quarter sprint, the second fastest lane agility time, and the 11th best max vertical leap. Hollis-Jefferson is a terrific defensive player who can now confirm his elite status even further with athletic scores like that. I expect him to move up a couple of spots and maybe even into the lottery. I would not look into him for the Suns though with his offensive woes.
  • A lot of relief for my four-bedroom house on Montrezl Harrell island. Harrell has big questions about his size, but he thankfully measured at 6'7.5" and confirmed his freaky wingspan at 7'4.25". There was some skepticism to whether or not Harrell was even 6'7" and if his wingspan was actually that insane. Thursday was a big win for him in terms of at least retaining his stock.
  • Robert Upshaw is going to make it even harder for teams to pass on him towards the end of the first round after measuring in at 7'0" tall with a ridiculous 7'5.5" wingspan. Upshaw did not participate in the 5-on-5 like we were led to believe on Wednesday and we can now see why. There's a ton of risk to Upshaw with his off the court stuff, but he's pretty much a lock for the first round now if he doesn't tank his interviews.
  • I talked about Jordan Mickey and J.P. Tokoto on Wednesday and both had huge days in their scrimmages yesterday. Mickey had a near triple-double with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Tokoto didn't miss a shot and it included a spot-up three, two pull up jumpers, and some great transition plays. He finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Both are the type of players that should especially stand out in a scrimmage and both did just that on Thursday.
  • Those two were expected to be around the beginning of the second round, but three guys who were monsters in the scrimmages and probably solidified their draft chances were Rakeem Christmas, Vince Hunter, and Andrew Harrison. Christmas impressed with his activity and fluidity offensively, which is something he needs with his age. Hunter was all over the place with nine offensive rebounds, three steals, and six fouls. Guys with that type of energy have places in the NBA. Lastly, Harrison looked like the best player of the day. If you were familiar with no lottery picks being in the scrimmages you would have thought one had snuck in with the way Harrison was navigating with the ball. He simply looked comfortable with any defender on him during the day and understood the slider aspect of using his speed to attack. The thing I wanted to see from him was being a point guard and he had five assists and zero assists on the day. I would not mind the Suns taking a chance on him in the second round (I promise he's the better brother!)
  • I try to avoid negatives when it comes to just testing, but Frank Kaminsky didn't do himself any favors on Thursday. Kaminsky was the tallest player measured at 7'0.75", but his wingspan was actually shorter at 6'11". Part of Kaminsky appeal is his versatility with playing power forward and center, but a wingspan like that does not bode well for a center. Kamsinky's going to be sacrificing a lot athletically and him having to sacrifice his length as well is a problem. For comparison that was the shortest wingspan of all centers by 3 inches.
  • Branden Dawson did not test well yesterday in any of the speed and agility drills and did even worse in the 5-on-5 scrimmage. I highlighted him on Wednesday, but I don't think he has a chance of being drafted after the slowest shuttle run, lane agility test, and a very average 34.5 max vertical.
Check back next week for more draft coverage.

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