Revisiting The 2011 NBA Draft Combine (That Didn’t Mean $h*t)
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There’s been a few interesting tweets from NBA Draft Combine vets over the past couple days about the importance of shining and being a professional at the event.
2017 Draft Combine participant and Rookie Of The Year candidate Donovan Mitchell tweeted this PSA: “For all the guys in the combine… just remember you may jump the highest run the fastest or score the most… but you can mess everything up with how you behave off the floor! Eyes everywhere. My PSA for the day.”
Teammate Jae Crowder retweeted the PSA and said, “THAT’S REAL!!” while Slo-Mo Joe Ingles sarcastically replied, “You are so inspirational.”
Fellow rookie surprise Kyle Kuzma also had a message for the future pro players, mainly the ones who probably wont last long in the league.
“Sheesh, a lot of dudes at the combine not playing 5-on-5.” Tweeted the 27th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. “No hiding at this level, if you can’t hoop you will be exposed.”
2011 NBA Draft Combine vet Isaiah Thomas also tweeted about his experience and players getting exposed.
“Oh yeah. That combine shit doesn’t mean anything!!!” Thomas said. “I remember preparing myself and killing every drill & being at the top in every category. Still picked last! Don’t get discouraged. They can’t HIDE out forever. At some point the “top” guys gotta compete.”
Jason Terry confirmed IT’s statement about “killing every drill” by saying, “Yeah, I seen you with my own eyes. Best pre-draft workouts I ever seen by a guard.”
There’s a couple of cameos of Thomas in this 2011 NBA Draft combine recap video that mainly focuses on Jimmer Fredette, who was drafted 10th in the draft and lasted five years in the NBA with a career average of six points a game. There’s also an interview with Derrick Williams, who was picked second in the draft and bounced around to six teams in six years while only averaging 10 points once in his career. Other notable names from this combine include Klay and Tristan Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Iman Shumpert, the Morris twins and Enes Kanter.
Here’s how they finished among the leaders in the major Combine fitness tests.
- Iman Shumpert 42
- Josh Selby 42
- Travis Leslie 40.5
- Isaiah Thomas 40
- Kemba Walker 39.5
- Jimmy Butler 39
- Shelvin Mack 39
- Derrick Williams 19
- Justin Harper 19
- Iman Shumpert 18
- Shelvin Mack 18
- Greg Smith 17
- Norris Cole 10.07
- Andrew Goudelock 10.33
- Jimmer Fredette 10.42
- Scotty Hopson 10.47
- Isaiah Thomas 10.49
MODIFIED LANE AGILITY
- Norris Cole 5.05
- Jimmer Fredette 5.11
- Andrew Goudelock 5.13
- Brandon Knight 5.27
- Cory Joseph 5.27
3/4 COURT SPRINT
- Jeremy Richmond 3.02
- Tyler Honeycutt 3.07
- Brandon Knight 3.07
- Malcolm Lee 3.093
- Isaiah Thomas (10th) 3.14
You probably noticed the majority of guys still playing in the NBA didn’t make any of those lists. Jimmy Butler only made the vert list, ended up being the last first round pick in the NBA Draft and is now one of the best players in the league. Not only did Kawhi Leonard fail to make the top of any of these tests, his three bench press reps landed him in the bottom five for that test. He ended up being drafted 15th by Indiana and traded for GEORGE HILL!
As for Thomas, he did 13 reps and in this Combine interview with DraftExpress, he talked about his strength and how he believes it will make up for his 5’10” height (actually measured at 5’8″ without shoes) when it comes to playing defense on taller players.
The most interesting part of this interview is Thomas saying he sees himself coming off the bench like a JJ Barea. Thomas did spend some time as a 6th Man early in his career but was putting up 20 points a game by his third season, became an All-Star in his fifth and MVP candidate in his sixth. Not bad for a guy picked last in his draft.
Here’s a few more great interviews with current stars when they participated in the 2011 NBA Combine (with a lot less hair on their face and head). Make sure you go to the end of the Kawhi interview to watch him giggle while talking about his Mom ordering shoes for him.