How Useful is the NBA Draft Combine?

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Every single year, there are young NBA prospects that are ranked in terms of skill by many major sports networks.

The purpose of these rankings is to see who should be drafted at what position and to evaluate the potential upsides and downsides to each prospect’s skills.

To be able to evaluate these young players better, the NBA (and the NFL) hold a Draft Combine for these players to be able to see and compare their abilities. Abilities such as your vertical jump, strength, and speed are put to the test. Click here to see some vertical jump programs that are used by pro athletes to develop these skills.

At the NBA Draft Combine, there are a variety of tests such as the shuttle run, the vertical jump test, weightlifting, and more. These results are then compared among one another to see how each player ranks relative to their entire draft class. The better score you have, the higher you will most likely be drafted… Or do you?

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Although these Draft Combines are hosted every year, it seems to serve little impact on the already ranked players in the draft. Highly ranked players that are not as athletically gifted still do not get ranked lower just because of their performance at a combine. Of course, athleticism is a huge part in sports, but meticulous skill and intelligence can often outperform that.

If you want an example, look at a player like Steve Nash.

Steven Nash was not super athletic like the majority of highly ranked athletes – he is 6’3” tall but could barely dunk a basketball.

Even then he was able to win the NBA MVP Award two times in his career. It was his intelligence and skill that had allowed him to do these things.

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When you see players like Steve Nash, Stephen Curry, Trae Young, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, and many more, these are all individuals who were not as physically or athletically gifted as the rest of their competition. Their NBA Draft Combine results were not the best, but they were still able to be drafted at a high pick.

That brings us to the question: what is the point of the NBA Draft Combine?

It appears the purpose is not to necessarily rank players in comparison to their peers at this point. But it may be to confirm and have a record of each player’s performance to serve as a benchmark for their soon-to-come NBA career.