The NBA’s 2016 Draft Combine began on Wednesday in Chicago with players being interviewed by teams and having their official measurements taken. Both Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil were among the 70+ players invited to this year’s combine. Dunn’s measurements aren’t likely to be much of a surprise as he was measured last summer while attending the Nike Skills Academy. Bentil, on the other hand, is a relative unknown from a measurables perspective, having never been officially measured at any camp or event like Dunn. Bentil was listed on Providence’s roster at 6’8 during his freshman campaign and grew an inch to 6’9 on the school’s listing this past season. Those may be official from a roster perspective, but they are not normally very scientific. Results of Wednesday’s measurements have hit the interweb and Bentil’s are likely to be viewed as mixed for the 21 year old from Ghana. Dunn’s measurements aren’t surprising but they are still impressive for a point guard, something I’ll get into later in the article.
Bentil’s height without shoes came in at 6’7.25. His height with shoes was 6’8.25. Bentil’s wingspan was 7’1.5 and his standing reach measured 8’9. Bentil also tied for the top hand length at 9.5″. There is always a lot of discussion around the value of a player’s measurables. How much stock do teams really put in those feet and inches? A 2014 study by researchers Jerad Moxley and Tyler Towne revealed that the measurements do tend to be good predictors of where players will be drafted. However, their study also revealed that the three most important variables that predict success in a player’s first three seasons in the NBA are youth, college performance and college quality. So, while measurables are a good predictor of where a player like Bentil will get drafted, they aren’t the end-all-be-all in terms of how successful a player will be once in the NBA. That last part is critical because players drafted in the Second Round rarely get the opportunity to even prove themselves long enough in the NBA.
Going back 10 years, and using the 2003-2013 NBA Drafts to allow recently drafted players long enough to have a chance to play three seasons in the NBA, there have been a total of 76 players drafted in the Second Round during that span that have played 15 minutes/game or more during three seasons in the NBA. That means 25.3% of players drafted in the Second Round between 2003 and 2013 got the chance to prove themselves for at least 15 minutes/game for at least three seasons. That data is courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
In terms of average measurements by NBA position, the guys over at NylonCalculus.com calculated those numbers from the 2014-15 NBA season. Dunn scores very high among point guards with his 6’9.5 wingspan being 2 inches above the 90th percentile and nearly 5 inches above the average of NBA point guards that season. He is also nearly 2 inches taller than the average point guard and his standing reach came in right around the 90th percentile at 8’4.
Bentil’s measurements at the Combine reinforce the narrative of him being a positional tweeter at the NBA level. Bentil’s standing reach of 8’9 put him in the 10th percentile of NBA power forwards in the 2014-15 season. It is just slightly above the average of 8’8.2 for small forwards. His wingspan of 7’1.5 would be just outside the 7’2 of the 90th percentile of small forwards and is about average for power forwards. In terms of height, Bentil’s measurement with shoes of 6’8.25 is below average but better than 10th percentile for power forwards, while his measurement stacks him in between average and 90th percentile for small forwards.
There are obviously many factors that go into a team’s decision on where they slot a player on their big board, but measurements have proven to be a good predictor of the order players are drafted in. Dunn’s measurements are what you’d want them to be if you are looking at investing a lottery pick in a player at his position. Bentil’s inches and feet are a little more murky. A player Bentil is routinely compared to is Golden State’s Draymond Green. Green was picked 35th overall in the 2012 draft by the Warriors and has become one of the best players on the best team in the NBA. Green’s measurements at the 2012 Combine? 6’5.75 without shoes, 6’7.5 with shoes, 7’1.25 wingspan and 8’9 standing reach. Those numbers certainly stack up cloesly with Bentil’s. Green had a lot more polish coming out of Michigan State than Bentil does right now, though.
The point is, nothing in this draft process is black and white. Dunn’s measurements are a positive for him and reinforces the idea of him being a top 6 pick this year. Bentil’s aren’t overwhelmingly good, but they also don’t curse him either. With just over 10 days to decide on making a decision to return, some questions are being answered with more to answers still to come between now and May 25th. Bentil has a lot of things to weigh before making a decision, while Dunn has focus on interviews and individual team workouts to lock himself into being a top pick.
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