The NBA Combine is underway and Gators Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis are in attendance trying to better their draft stock and showcase their abilities for prospective teams.
For Mann, the NBA Combine is about trying to sneak into the late lottery. Most mock drafts have him projected somewhere between 15-25, with one of the widest ranges for projected first round picks. While it might seem like it doesn’t matter much what the difference is between picks 15 and 25, there are rather large financial implications. There is a rookie scale for pay in the NBA with guaranteed contracts for first round picks, and the difference between getting drafted 15th and 25th is worth well over a million dollars per year. Ultimately fit could matter more than an initial rookie scale deal in terms of importance, but millions more guaranteed dollars over three years is a huge motivator for anyone.
For Lewis, the NBA Combine is about proving he’s worth a draft pick. Draft experts are split between whether he’s a second round talent or if he should be an undrafted player grinding it out for a contract.
On the first day of the combine physical measurements were taken. Lewis was a huge winner in this area, measuring at 6’5.25” in shoes with a ridiculous 7’0” wingspan. More and more the wingspan number is being looked at by NBA scouts and Lewis’ condor-like arms are going to help his stock.
Tre Mann wasn’t so lucky. Despite being listed at 6’5” at Florida, and suggesting on social media that he was 6’6”, he measured at 6’4.25” in shoes. He measured with a negative wingspan (a wingspan shorter than a player’s height) at 6’4”. This wasn’t a huge surprise as no one thought he had an expansive wingspan, but it’s unfortunately not a great measurement. 6’4.25” isn’t small by any means and he’ll still have great height for the point guard position, but some teams might see him as having a bit less opportunity at the shooting guard spot against some of the supersized wings of the NBA.
Mann also came in with a 4.1% body fat percentage, second lowest in the draft.
By the way, the NBA Combine is usually the peak of professionalism and the numbers have been used as gospel in the past, but looking across the measurements there are some numbers that look erroneous. For example, Auburn’s Sharife Cooper, who looks like he’d be lucky to measure at 6’0”, is listed at 6’4.75”. That is certainly a data entry problem on the official NBA Combine page, but it certainly puts some of the other measurements into question. I do have to point out that despite being 6’5.25” with a 7’0” wingspan, Lewis had a considerably lower standing reach than several players who measured shorter and with a smaller wingspan than him. That can happen, but it definitely looks a bit strange alongside the Cooper height anomaly.
Next came the athletic testing. Mann, like many first round picks, is yet to do athletic testing and likely won’t at all. For players that are already in position to get picked in the first round there isn’t much to gain from going through the athletic testing and there are opportunities for stock to be hurt, so many sit it out. Most of the players who do partake in the athletic testing are second round types in similar situations to Scottie Lewis, and he definitely participated.
Lewis was a huge winner from the athletic testing.
First, lane agility. A classic NBA combine event that showcases players’ ability to change direction with speed.
Lewis placed first in the Combine with the fastest time.
Then, the shuttle run, another agility event.
Lewis placed fourth.
In the three quarter court sprint, former track star Scottie Lewis tied for first.
He was then second in standing vertical leap, and second in max vertical leap.
This couldn’t have gone much better for Lewis who really needed to show out in these athletic testing events. Unfortunately his two years in college weren’t as productive as he would have hoped, so his draft stock is based largely on his physical tools and the potential a team could see in his athleticism. Going against players that he’ll be battling with for a second round selection, he performed extremely well.
Later in the week there will be skills testing followed by live scrimmages. It will be unknown what Mann and Lewis will participate in as they’ll be tactically choosing what to do and what to avoid based on what they think could help their stock. I would predict that Mann is unlikely to partake in either the skills testing or scrimmages, though it would be awesome to see how well he would do in the shooting and ball handling drills.
Lewis is likely to take part in both. He’ll have a lot riding on the shooting drills, as a player in his position will need to be able to knock down shots if he’s going to play in the NBA.
There is also an interview process, where both players are expected to perform well.
After this week, we should have an even better idea of where these two Gators are expected to go in July’s NBA Draft.