All 30 NBA teams gathered in Chicago at the 2018 NBA draft combine to conduct extensive interviews, evaluate prospects in drills and 5-on-5 play, receive important medical information and meet with agents leading up to June 21.
While the combine is more about the medicals and interviews, there are still prospects who can help themselves during 5-on-5 play, as we've seen with Kyle Kuzma and Larry Nance Jr.
So who stood out, on the court and off of it? We look at Donte DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman, Michael Porter Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Robert Williams and more prospects, including those deciding to stay in the draft or return to college.
Kevin Huerter | SG | Maryland
Although he played only one game and his stats weren't exactly eye-popping (9 points and 3 assists on 3-for-9 shooting), Huerter stood out as the top prospect to take the floor in 5-on-5 play. He entered with a lot of quiet fans in NBA circles, many of whom were likely hoping for a pedestrian performance in order to keep him under the radar. The 19-year-old sophomore showed his talent, though, knocking down a pair of deep 3s while shining as one of the best playmakers on the floor, with more talent at his disposal than he displayed at Maryland. He can run the pick-and-roll at 6-7, shows excellent passing out of pindowns and plays with a level of poise you don't always see from players his age.
Huerter also impressed throughout the interview process, according to NBA teams. Younger than Bamba and Michael Porter, Huerter has positional size, a versatile shooting stroke and the feel for the game teams are looking for. He still has some questions to answer about how many positions he can defend at the NBA level, but he's competitive with size, solid athleticism and an improving frame (added 25 pounds over the past three years). Huerter looks every bit of a potential first-round pick should he stay in the draft, but he is heavily considering going back to Maryland in hopes of becoming a lottery pick next year in what's widely considered a much weaker draft.
Melvin Frazier | SG/SF | Tulane
The long-armed, explosive Frazier showed teams exactly what he needed to in one game before pulling out of 5-on-5 play before the second day, likely feeling comfortable enough with his stock to shut it down. Frazier held true to what we predicted when we profiled him in February: "Once he posts official measurements, goes through athletic testing and shows his motor in 5-on-5 play, it's easy to see scouts falling in love with what he brings to the table."
At 6-6 with a 7-2 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical, Frazier -- who compares to Josh Howard physically -- changed the game with his boundless energy, defensive anticipation and open-court explosiveness. Frazier wreaked havoc in the passing lanes while also knocking down a pull-up 3 and finishing off a left-handed drive to the rim over length. He has some untapped playmaking and ballhandling ability that could manifest over time, should he land in the right situation. As was the case all season, though, Frazier's shooting remains erratic, as does his decision-making, and he clearly needs to polish his game before an NBA team can rely on him regularly. He also didn't wow teams throughout the interview process. But overall Frazier helped himself in Chicago and has a chance to hear his name called in the back end of the first round come June.
Donte DiVincenzo | SG/PG | Villanova
Villanova's March Madness hero, who is officially still testing the waters, had some impressive moments in both games after making the somewhat surprising decision to take the floor despite his tournament momentum. Although he knocked down only 1 of 6 triples in Game 2, he stroked a few deep pull-up 3s and on-the-move jumpers, giving NBA scouts a taste of his most translatable skill. He also proved his worth defensively both on and off the ball, and attacked the defensive glass. He's tough and instinctual with above-average in-game athleticism, having finished in the top four of combine participants all-time in max-vertical and no-step vertical.
From a physical standpoint, the 6-4½, 201-pound DiVincenzo boasts a similar profile to Jamal Murray when he was 18.6 years old, both with so-so 6-6 wingspans. Given his lead-guard-esque measurements, DiVincenzo still has some work to do with his ball-skills and point guard reads, as he's very much a shotmaking guard at this stage. But DiVincenzo's combination of shooting, confidence, competitiveness and winning pedigree makes him an interesting option in the back-end of the first round, should he opt to stay in as most are expecting.
Jevon Carter | PG | West Virginia
One of the most known prospects at the combine, Carter unsurprisingly changed the game with his defensive intensity, as he locked down a host of opposing guards and went 2-0 in Chicago. Carter defended 94 feet and did a number on guards like Tony Carr and Devonte' Graham, among others. His combination of physicality, lightning-quick hands, anticipation and intensity is unlike anything we've seen in recent memory, and he's far and away the best point guard defender in the draft.
However, aside from his defense, the 22-year-old Carter did show that he has quite a bit of room to improve as a point guard, decision-maker and shooter from the NBA line. He's far from a polished ball handler and he regularly jacks up contested midrange jumpers early in the shot clock. Carter, who measured 6-1½, 196 pounds with a 6-4¼ wingspan, is at his best in the Patrick Beverley role, playing next to a bigger, more ball-dominant playmaker while focusing on defending and making spot 3s. Despite some of his offensive woes, Carter is the type of guard a team could fall in love with in the early second round, and he has the toughness to carve out a long NBA career as a defensive stopper.
Josh Okogie | SG | Georgia Tech
The 19-year-old sophomore turned in an excellent combine performance across the board, shining in both scrimmages, measuring 6-4½, 211 pounds with a 7-0 wingspan while posting the top athletic composite score of any player to participate. Okogie's closest athletic testing comparison in recent years is Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, and his sprint time ranks in the top 1 percent of all-time combine results. With a physical profile somewhat similar to Norman Powell (much stronger at the same age), Okogie showcased his tremendous defensive versatility, checking up to four positions for stretches while tracking down 50-50 balls, attacking the rim in space and knocking down 2 of 4 open 3s.
Okogie, who is younger than some freshmen in this draft, is still lacking as a ball handler in the half court. His feel for the game is limited, regularly driving with his head down in traffic or pulling up for a contested 2 in transition. Some of that is a product of playing a go-to scoring role on an underwhelming Georgia Tech team, but his lack of offensive polish is his clear downside right now. With that said, his defensive versatility, toughness, athletic profile and shooting potential could help him sneak into the first-round conversation should he decide to stay in the draft.
Kevin Hervey | SF | UT-Arlington
The 21-year-old senior turned in an excellent couple of days, measuring impressively, posting the third-best PER with per 40-minute averages of 26.0 points and 2.6 steals while knocking down 6 of 10 triples. At 6-7¾ in shoes, 212 pounds with a 7-3½ wingspan and 8-11 standing reach, Hervey has a similar physical profile to Robert Covington, a player who was also seen as a bit soft coming out of college (like Hervey). Hervey's smooth shooting stroke was on display, knocking down rhythm 3s while also showing his talent operating in the midpost.
His ability to space the floor isn't a question mark -- it's more his decision-making, lack of pop around the rim and inconsistent effort and grit on the defensive end. He wasn't able to move smalls in the post after switches and was either caught flat-footed or biting on shot fakes on the other end of the floor. With that said, Hervey is a borderline first-round pick from a tools and talent perspective. The biggest question surrounding him is his health, as he tore his right ACL the summer going into his senior year of high school and his left ACL during his sophomore season of college. Pending medical red flags, Hervey has a chance to develop into a second-round sleeper type, as we outlined early on in the college season.
Testing the waters decisions
While Huerter, DiVincenzo and Okogie all made their cases to stay in the draft, there are a handful of prospects who will still have tough decisions to make. With the addition of two-way contracts, the lack of international depth in this class and the ever-changing landscape of the second round, a first-round guarantee is no longer exactly the holy grail when it comes to the draft. Every prospect also comes from a different background and collegiate situation, so it's not for us to definitively say whether a player should or should not return to school. However, we can shed light on how these prospects performed and whether or not they moved the needle in terms of their stock.
Omari Spellman: Another tournament star, the 20-year-old modern center looked quite ordinary in his first game in Chicago, struggling to finish bunnies around the rim and failing to cash in on open catch-and-shoot 3s. Spellman did add value on the glass, but he had issues adjusting to the NBA line at first, shooting the ball with little arc and having troubles impacting the game offensively. In his second game, Spellman settled in, playing with energy on the glass, drilling a pick-and-pop 3 and showcasing passing ability we didn't always see in college. Overall, Spellman looked more like a potential early second-round pick than the lock first-rounder that he was touted as by some scouts toward the end of the season.
Tyus Battle: Although he tested well athletically and measured close to 6-7 with a 6-9 wingspan, Battle struggled to find his way in 5-on-5 play. Used to playing with ultimate freedom and volume at Syracuse, Battle was unable to add value when playing off the ball, which he'll likely be asked to do in the NBA. The hitch in his stroke looked more pronounced from the NBA line as he attempted (and missed) only one 3 in 38 minutes. He did show flashes defensively and he remains an intriguing early second-round option, but Battle most definitely didn't earn himself a first-round guarantee with his play.
Sagaba Konate: The 20-year-old shot-blocker was a mixed bag in Chicago, altering everything around the rim and playing with tremendous energy, while also showing his offensive limitations and lack of maturity at times. On one hand, Konate's motor and instincts as a rim protector are a major plus, especially for a potential backup big at the NBA level. He attacks every shot at the rim with force and has the type of on-court energy that could be channeled positively in the right system. On the other hand, he can't help himself with all-out screams after big plays and has trouble calming down in certain situations. That bleeds over to his offense as well. When he knocks down an occasional midrange jumper or makes a backdoor pass, he rapidly begins expanding the rest of his game. Konate, who has Brandon Bass-like measurements at 6-7½, 246 pounds with a 7-0 wingspan, remains a mid-to-late-second-round option who could go either way in terms of returning to school or staying in the draft.
Brian Bowen: In our first look at Bowen since the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic, the 19-year-old failed to move the needle and didn't look the part of a potential draft pick in 2018. Wings with positional size, length and shooting potential aren't easy to come by, but Bowen looked average athletically, regularly upright in his stance defensively and didn't make enough shots to inspire much confidence in his becoming the knockdown shooter he needs to be given some of his other limitations.
PJ Washington: Although he posted a 26.7 PER and monster per 40 numbers, Washington looked far from a surefire first-round pick in Chicago. He had some impressive moments as an offensive rebounder, but his feel for the game and bouts of inconsistent effort still crept in. Washington doesn't quite have an elite skill at this stage and would benefit from adding a standstill 3-pointer to his repertoire before maximizing his draft stock.
Austin Wiley: One of the measurement winners -- 7-5 wingspan and 9-3 standing reach -- with tools similar to Nene, Wiley impacted the game on the offensive glass and showed flashes as a rim protector. With that said, he's still a bit stiff in the knees and doesn't quite fit the modern game in terms of explosiveness, agility and offensive skill set. Wiley is more of an offensive rebounder at this stage.
Kris Wilkes: The 19-year-old Wilkes struggled mightily with decision-making and scoring with skill in the first game, yet added value with energy, athleticism and length in the second game. With a physical profile somewhat similar to K.J. McDaniels, Wilkes has some tools to work with at 6-7½ and a near 7-0 wingspan. When dialed in, Wilkes has potential as a multipositional defender, rebounder and straight-line slasher. His lack of feel and still-evolving skill level showed, though, as he regularly drove into traffic with his head down and went 0-for-4 from 3 in 49 minutes. Wilkes is more of a late-second-round flier who would spend time developing in the G League, at this stage.
Jaylen Hands: One of the youngest players in the draft, Hands' floor game looked improved in Chicago, as he was trying to operate at different speeds and change pace in the half court. He still needs to get tougher and become a more consistent shooter, though. There are some similarities between Hands and Kobi Simmons, but he looks more like a potential two-way contract player than a lock to be drafted at this stage, should he keep his name in.
Caleb Martin: The Nevada product really struggled, forcing up bad shot after bad shot while connecting on only 1 of 5 triples. He had major issues adjusting to the NBA line, shooting a flat ball with his unorthodox mechanics. When Martin isn't making shots, he doesn't bring all that much to the table at the NBA level, and the jump from the Mountain West to the combine appeared too great for him, at least over the course of these two games. Already 22 years old, he may opt to get his pro career underway.
Cody Martin: Caleb's twin brother also had a forgettable combine, looking average physically and lacking the scoring acumen to fall back on in the half court. He showcased his handle and vision at times, but his lack of shooting and NBA-ready skill was apparent. While more versatile than Caleb, Cody didn't etch himself into the 2018 draft with his play.
Bruno Fernando: A physical specimen with a profile similar to Hilton Armstrong (233 pounds, 7-4 wingspan), Fernando is light on his feet with flashes of a motor on the offensive glass and decent touch from the free throw line. He also put together a few impressive possessions protecting the rim. With that said, his lack of instincts and feel was apparent offensively and on the defensive glass, and it remains to be seen how much room for improvement he has long-term. Fernando could get looks in the late second round as a G League development project, should he opt to stay in the draft.
Udoka Azubuike: Although he impressed with his 7-7 wingspan, Azubuike's lack of feel and skill level was very apparent despite his solid production. The Jayhawk doesn't appear to fit in the modern game at this stage as he's not much of a rim protector or switch defender.
Carsen Edwards: The 20-year-old Purdue guard struggled to get anything going offensively. He did hammer home an impressive left-handed dunk, show flashes as a defender and make a few reads we hadn't seen in the past, but he could use additional polish before entering the pro ranks. Expect an Aaron Holiday-like trajectory should Edwards return to Purdue.
Second-round prospects sitting out
While this strategy often makes sense for some prospects -- such as Anfernee Simons who could struggle with the physicality of the game -- this could have been a great opportunity for a player like Preston to work his way back on the radar after leaving Kansas for Bosnia and eventually coming back to the States due to injury.
An energetic athlete like Diallo also could have popped in 5-on-5 play.