Let's start with a very important caveat: watching prospects work out against cones and chairs has inspired more than a few terrible, terrible decisions by NBA executives.
In other words, don't let the siren's
song video of effortless slams, carefully-edited jump shots (no misses ever!) and barely-contested hook shots fool you. All of these guys are capable of awesome things in an empty gym, but ultimately what we see now is far less important from a talent evaluation standpoint than the months of game competition that wrapped up a couple months ago.
Which isn't to say these workouts are without any value--or that they're not fun as hell for day-dreaming purposes. Video of Joel Embiid's rim-destroying effort on Friday offered reassurances that the Kansas big man is getting back to his physical best, while Jabari Parker's performance that same day offered evidence that Parker is as fit and trim as he's ever been. BEHOLD:
Not to be outdone, Andrew Wiggins put on his own workout show on Sunday, though for the moment we'll have to settle for Chad Ford's Twitter feed recap (video coming soon):
In Santa Barbara this morning watching @22wiggins workout with trainer @DrewHanlen— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 25, 2014
Here's @22wiggins working on that step back jumper. pic.twitter.com/d3RqOc69eb— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 25, 2014
Wiggins' workout was great. Working on keeping low, small tweaks to his 3-shot, terrific midrange game + craziest athlete in draft— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 25, 2014
Sidenote: I'm still eagerly awaiting an agent-sponsored workout that doesn't leave the invited media raving, but whatever. A presumably mouth-watering Wiggins video compilation should be floating around the internet within a day or two, so you might as well put "Re-fall in love with Andrew Wiggins" in your Outlook calendar this week. And while I remain skeptical of Wiggins' ball-handling, I'm also more than happy to enjoy some footage of him putting his elite athleticism on full display.
Not to be overlooked in all the video bluster: Ford also reports that Embiid, Parker and Wiggins each measured very well this weekend:
Jabari Parker's measurements at workout on Friday: 6' 9" in shoes, 6' 11.75" wingspan, 8' 11.5" standing reach.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 25, 2014
Andrew Wiggins measurements from today. 6' 8.75" in shoes, 7' 0" wingspan, 8" 11" standing reach.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 26, 2014
Joel Embiid's measurements at the workout on Fri: 7' 1" in shoes, 7' 5.75" wingspan, 9' 5.5" standing reach.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 25, 2014
Embiid's Godzilla frame isn't much of a surprise--no one had any doubts about his ability to play center at the next level--but it's still worth noting that only two NBA players have ever measured longer standing reaches in DraftExpress' measurement database (Rudy Gobert's 9'7" and JaVale McGee's 9'6.5").
Still, the better news is for Parker and Wiggins, each of whom measured 6'8" with around 7'0" wingspans at the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit. While their wingspans were virtually identical, they each measured about an inch taller than last year with wingspans and standing reaches better than both Aaron Gordon (6'11.5" wingspan/8'10.5" reach) and Julius Randle (6'11" wingspan/8'9" reach). Granted that might say more about the relatively undersized frames of Randle and Gordon, but it's still good news for the two guys most likely to challenge Embiid for the top spot in the June 26 draft.
I'd argue it's particularly good news for Parker, who has justifiably been dogged by tweener concerns after a freshman season that saw him spend virtually all of his time standing around the paint playing either the four or five. I'm still not convinced he'll ever be able to play as a full-time NBA power forward, but his wingspan and reach numbers are at least in the ballpark of guys drafted in the first round as PFs (7'1" wingspan and 8'10.4" reach according to DX). That leaves the unanswered question of whether Parker will be able to keep up with small forwards on the perimeter, an issue that won't be resolved until we see Parker wearing an NBA jersey after the draft.