UCLA guards Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams help stock at NBA combine
BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN Staff Reporter May 16, 2014 8:08PM
11-18-05 sun-times writer Michael O'Brien. Photo by Jim Frost.
Updated: June 18, 2014 6:14AM
A slew of NBA hopefuls went through the motions Friday at the NBA draft combine at Quest Multisport on the West Side. There was running, jumping, sliding and lifting. It was all measured, distributed and picked apart by NBA personnel.
Not much of it mattered, though, and all of it paled by comparison to a picture of
Andrew Wiggins posted Thursday on his Instragram. The
photo showed Wiggins’ remarkable vertical leap. No measurement accompanied the photo, but it was unnecessary. He clearly had outclassed any player at the combine. Likely top picks Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid elected to skip the combine entirely.
‘‘It was crazy,’’ Michigan guard Nik Stauskas said. ‘‘I retweeted it. He’s just a freak athlete. He’s been doing that since he was 13.’’
The combine wasn’t a complete waste — at least not for a few players the Bulls might be targeting. There wasn’t a lot of talk surrounding UCLA’s Zach LaVine before Thursday, but the 6-6 guard sparkled in drills on both days, taking full advantage of the lack of premier talent on the floor.
‘‘I’m not scared of competition,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I don’t have doubts about myself. I’m not scared of anything. I was really just focused on myself, coming out here and trying to have a good workout. I didn’t know about anyone else participating or not participating; I was just trying to do my best.’’
LaVine shot well Thursday and finished among the top five in the lane agility drill, the three-quarter-court sprint and the standing vertical leap Friday.
‘‘I stay in the gym a lot,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I take pride in
being a hard worker. At the next level, most players have a really good jump shot. I want to be in that category, as well.’’
Another UCLA guard, Jordan Adams, shined at the combine. Adams is a terrific scorer and shooter but never has been considered a top-flight athlete. He weighed in at 210 pounds, 22 pounds less than his playing weight with the Bruins, which should improve his quickness. Adams has a workout scheduled with the Bulls.
‘‘That has been my main
focus — getting my weight down and getting in the best shape I can be so I can come here and perform well,’’ Adams said. ‘‘That’s been one of my biggest knocks — my weight.’’
Weight is also an issue swirling around Parker. The crew broadcasting the combine on TV has speculated Parker is out of shape. It’s thought to be one of the reasons Parker skipped the combine.
Sources who have seen Parker work out in Chicago the last two weeks concede he isn’t in NBA-ready shape, but they say the claims he’s overweight are way overblown.