NBA combine numbers don't add up.
Posted June 11, 2009
I recently read a column on whose stock is rising and whose is falling after the NBA draft combine. In it, one of the risers was UNC’s Wayne Ellington and one of the fallers was Duke’s Gerald Henderson.
The NBA combine is much like the NFL combine, a meat market where they test things like vertical leap and bench press as well as interviews with NBA brass.
Ellington brought his “A” game to Chicago, registering a 38-inch vertical leap and bench pressing 185 lbs. 13 times. That got some NBA big wigs’ attention.
His stock is labeled as a riser and rightfully so. Take that and his run through the NCAA tournament and you’ve got yourself a mid to late first rounder. I can buy this assessment.
Gerald Henderson by contrast only registered a mere mortal 35-inch vertical leap and 8 reps in the bench press. Apparently not what a lot of NBA people had in mind for the 6’4” guard. The column stated that Stephen Curry bettered Henderson in both categories. So his stock is marked as falling despite a pretty good body of work at Duke.
I was fortunate enough to see many Duke games in person and on television, and I just don’t see how one day in Chicago, barring a 30 pound weight gain, can make or break a draft prospect. Henderson’s All-ACC performance last season allowed him to forgo his senior season for the NBA.
I don’t think anyone doubts Henderson’s athletic ability and his high wire, looking down on the rim dunks. He can bring it athletically and has a real nasty streak on the court. So I doubt any NBA General Manager worth his salt would put any stock in his combine numbers.
Regardless of whether his stock is rising or falling, he still has individual workouts with teams to show the player that he really is.
Here’s to former high school teammates, Ellington and Henderson, succeeding at the next level.