2014 NBA Draft Combine | Thursday recap and Friday live coverage: Dante Exum speaks, Andrew Wiggins leaps, prospect measurements and interviews

Michael Dodge



DraftExpress: 2014 predraft measurements

Mike Schmitz pores over all the notable heights, wingspans and weights from yesterday's prospect measurements. Athletic testing numbers should become available over the next couple days.

OnMilwaukee.com | Exum exudes confidence, seeks right fit
Once Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Joel Embiid opted to skip this week's NBA Draft Combine, it was only natural for Australian point guard Dante Exum to become the presumptive star of the league's annual prospect cattle-call. And on Thursday Exum showed why, confirming his ridiculous length by measuring 6'6" in shoes with a 6'9.25" wingspan before later attracting a throng of reporters hoping to learn something about the draft's resident mystery man.

OnMilwaukee.com's Jim Owczarski was among the crowd and writes that Exum is playing it coy about his preferred destinations for now, which may or may not mean he views Milwaukee as a good potential landing spot. Though Exum downplayed previous suggestions that he wanted to end up in L.A. or Orlando, he emphasized the importance of finding the right "fit," while leaving open the possibility of his agent steering him towards some teams and not others. So how will he figure out the right destination?

"It's everything," he said. "It's kind of, I guess, adding up the pro's and con's of each organization and seeing where I want to be. Definitely being in a system where it's a good coach and it's gonna hopefully be a stable coach that is there to kind of, I guess, teach me, and a system that kind of suits my game and my game style. I think an up-temp team, ready to run, but also being able to control the tempo when I need to."

The Bucks were not surprisingly among the teams meeting with Exum on Thursday, though Owczarski tweeted that Exum's body language didn't exactly scream excitement when it came to talking about the Bucks.

That probably shouldn't be a surprise, nor should it be a strong deterrent for the Bucks. For starters, we should acknowledge that almost every prospect would likely prefer to play in a place like L.A. over Milwaukee. Good weather, Hollywood glamour, big city attractions--young, soon-to-be-rich men like these things, which puts extra pressure on teams like the Bucks to sell players not just on the city, but on the organization and the new (and better) direction it's now headed. It's not easy, but thankfully the teams are the one picking the players on draft night, not the other way around.

Still, Exum's lack of exposure will presumably make private workouts more important for him than oft-seen prospects such as Parker and Wiggins, which also makes Exum's willingness to work out for the Bucks and others a key plot point to watch out for in coming weeks. While he can't stop a team from picking him, his unwillingness to work out for a team wouldn't make it any easier to get a good read on his true potential. Exum sent mixed messages on that topic at his media session, though for now he's not publicly ruling out any of the teams likely to pick near the top of the draft:

"Just looking at the teams, at the moment I don't see a team that doesn't look like a good fit," Exum said. "But when we look at how the lottery plays out, we can see where I fit best."

That's nice to hear, but it also doesn't guarantee that we'll see him in Milwaukee over the next month. As previously discussed, getting guys in to work out will be easier if the Bucks end up picking first or second than third or fourth, though ironically the Bucks' interest will presumably be higher in Exum should they not nab the top spot at next Tuesday's lottery.

I would surmise that Brandon Knight's presence in Milwaukee likely isn't a selling point to agent Rob Pelinka either. Don't get me wrong: Knight isn't a lock to be the Bucks' starting point guard long-term, nor is he someone who would necessarily block Exum's path to stardom. In fact, Exum's size and playmaking could make for a good complement to Knight in the backcourt, something Exum seemed open to in Chicago. But agents tend to dislike competition for their star clients, which along with market, coaching, roster construction and general stability are all key factors in where a player wants to go. Unfortunately all of those points are question marks for the Bucks at this very moment, though the league's official approval of the Bucks' sale means we'll hopefully get some answers in the coming week. In short: cross your fingers and stay tuned.

NBA.com | Larry Drew interview in Chicago
If you expected any hints as to which prospects the Bucks like or what Drew's future might look like...you will be disappointed.

DraftExpress: The Gradual Erosion of the NBA Pre-Draft Process
A very interesting history of the combine courtesy of DraftExpress, which also included this little historical nugget that I hadn't heard previously.

A short note is in order on Jon Brockman, the first player we can recall who elected not to attend the NBA Combine at all, on his own accord. As the story goes, Brockman's agency (WMG) was able to secure a promise in the second round from the Milwaukee Bucks after his strong showing at the 2009 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April, which precluded him from attending the NBA Combine at all a few weeks later. Unfortunately for Brockman and the Bucks, the Sacramento Kings decided to jump up and take him with the 38th pick in the draft, just three picks before Milwaukee was supposed to take him. Brockman only agreed to sign a one year deal with Sacramento, though, and Milwaukee was able to acquire him a year later in a sign and trade, making him one of the highest paid players in that draft class at the time. Brockman ended up being somewhat of a flop, though, and is currently playing in France.

Instagram | Andrew Wiggins gets up at P3
Along with fellow top prospects Parker and Embiid, mock draft favorite Andrew Wiggins opted to skip the Chicago combine...because he can. And in a brilliant bit of PR scene-stealing, Wiggins stole the show from everyone who did come to Chicago when this photo popped up on the internet yesterday afternoon:

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

That's Wiggins defying gravity at P3 Applied Sports Science, the training facility in Santa Barbara that's previously worked with a slew of other NBA players. No word on exactly how high Wiggins is getting in this photo, though similar pictures at P3 would suggest he's in the ballpark of 40"-plus:

Of course, we already knew Wiggins could jump out of a gym (in this case, almost literally), so it'd be a bit silly to let one cool picture alter our perception of Wiggins as a draft prospect. Yes, athleticism is a great starting point for any athlete, and Wiggins is a contender for #1 for more reasons than just his physical gifts. But Instagram is unlikely to address concerns about Wiggins' ball-handling, body control and advanced finishing ability, all of which should be apparent to anyone who watched Wiggins during his good-but-not-great freshman season.

For ongoing coverage of the combine, keep this page open, follow along in the live updating combine Twitter stream we've assembled below, and give us all your thoughts in the comments. Enjoy!

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