The NBA draft mix, where young men have their basketball careers determined by stop watches and mysterious body fat tests, took place in Chicago, Illinois, last week and it didn’t dissapoint. Over the course of three days, 76 of school basketball’s best from this past season participated in team interviews, athletic drills and five-on-five scrimmages in front of scouts and coaches to prove themselves as NBA-ready players. While it doesn’t garner much national attention, there’s few events within the offseason that impacts the longer term of players and collegiate programs alike.
There have been few schools with as much stake within the mix because the Gonzaga Bulldogs were this 12 months. With Chet Holmgren’s status as a top-3 pick secured, the eye was centered around the opposite draft-eligible Zags whose future stays in query. Andrew Nembhard, Drew Timme and Julian Strawther got here in able to learn and impress, but all three walked away with different outlooks.
Here’s the most important takeaways from the NBA Draft mix:
Andrew Nembhard is a 1st-round pick
It was just one scrimmage, but Nembhard’s sensible performance on Friday showcased that he could warrant a top-25 selection within the draft. The 22-year-old dropped 26 points and 11 assists (probably the most in a mix scrimmage in 4 years) with a steal and two turnovers. Every offensive possession looked as if it would run through him, and for good reason, as he dissected the defense and consistently got his teammates involved while being an aggressive scorer himself.
In a pick-and-roll heavy offense, which is essentially what the NBA has come to currently, Nembhard thrived in making the suitable reads. Whether it was hitting the roller with a touch pass or zipping it to the open shooter because the defense collapsed in, there have been few possessions that led to a foul shot or turnover with him on top of things. The fluidity and pace made it look like the sport was almost too easy at times, and while playing alongside talented teammates surely contributes to that, it’s an indication Nembhard’s decision-making and mental processing are amongst the very best on this class.
His overall athleticism didn’t standout in testing, apart from his elite agility, but it surely also doesn’t hinder his ability to attain, either. An arsenal of floaters, pull-up jumpers and even short corner fadeaways proved he has the prototypical toolkit for a guard to maintain opposing defenses honest in how they cover him. He didn’t shoot the lights out from deep but going 10-for-18 from the ground is an efficient strategy to completely take over a game, something he rarely did as a Zag for a full 40 minutes.
Nembhard proved himself as a floor general with high basketball IQ last season, but this was never seen at Gonzaga. He didn’t simply initiate the offense, he commanded it like a real leader together with his decisive playmaking and skill to create his own shot in ways he hadn’t placed on display before. It wouldn’t be a shock to see a playoff-caliber team take a likelihood on him with a late first-round pick.
The brand new and improved Drew Timme?
The draft mix normally isn’t friendly towards players like Timme, who never developed as a consistent shooter or tremendous athlete while at Gonzaga. So, it wasn’t a shock to listen to about his relatively unimpressive test results, each within the shooting and strength and agility drills, but those didn’t tell his full experience in Chicago. Because when it got here time to ball, all those measurements were irrelevant to Timme’s superb play over the weekend.
Like Nembhard, he wasn’t afraid to indicate off some recent tricks, either.
From the beginning of the primary scrimmage, Timme was determined to prove he was more NBA-ready than most experts anticipated. Not confined to the low block, he operated on the perimeter like a stretch 4, providing on-ball screens and dribble-handoffs. He wasted no time in expanding his range either, as he knocked down a contested 3-pointer from the left wing within the opening minutes. He finished the primary scrimmage with a team-high 13 points and had three attempts from behind the arc, something he never did as a Zag.
As a follow-up, Timme exploded for 21 points and knocked down 4 3-pointers on Saturday, further illustrating his commitment to fitting in with the variety of modern basketball. Nembhard had probably the most impressive day, but it surely was Timme who caught everyone’s attention together with his newfound shooting stroke, along together with his existing array of post moves and footwork across the rim. It was the entire package on offense, something not many believed could be case heading into the mix.
The shortage of athleticism was more apparent on defense against stretch forwards and athletic centers, but still removed from being considered an entire liability on that end. While he’s not probably the most agile, he makes up for it together with his length and motor to contest shots and hustle for loose rebounds.
The constructing blocks are in place, now its about consistency. Should Timme proceed his upward trend, he could hear his name called late on draft night from a team willing to develop him resulting from the upside. Or, if it means one other 12 months in Spokane for the All-American, then next season may very well be the very best Timme we’ll ever see on the school stage.
Only a taste for Julian Strawther
Though he didn’t take part in the scrimmages, the mix was still a positive experience for Strawther who’s draft stock was a complete query mark beforehand. After testing well and going through team interviews, he must have a greater understanding of himself as a prospect when it comes to improvement and features of his game that scouts already admire. It’s likely Strawther will return to Gonzaga for his senior season, however the journey to the NBA for him is removed from over.
As a raw talent, there’s so much to love. He posted the fastest lane agility rating of anyone on the mix while being near the highest of the leaderboards within the shooting drills. He has the prototypical size for a wing at 6-foot-7, though he’ll need barely bulk up for the NBA, however the mold is actually there in place. If he does return to varsity, he may very well be setting himself up for an additional major jump in production and development.