The NBA Draft combine will take place next week in Chicago and provides prospects a great opportunity to compete against each other in front of scouts from all 30 NBA teams. The event is especially important for prospects on the bubble of being drafted in the second round. With top prospects Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor not participating, Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell could be the top prospect to watch next week.
BTPowerhouse decided to talk a look at all the Big Ten prospects set to participate in the 2015 NBA Draft Combine and see where they stand and what they have to gain from the event.
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Right now, Kaminsky is a mid first round pick. One of the biggest things he can show at the combine is the ability to cover true centers in the low post. Kaminsky's value will be way higher if he can be a stretch 5 instead of a stretch 4. He'll also have to show off how far he can extend his range. Showing consistent range from behind the NBA 3-point line will solidify his status as a top-20 pick. It will be tough for the former Wisconsin star to rise much higher on the draft board as teams have concerns about how high his NBA potential is.
D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State
Russell has elevated his stock throughout his freshman season at Ohio State and is a probable top-5 pick. He and Emmanuel Muddiay will be the top 2 guards taken on draft night. Russell still needs to show the ability to score against top defenders like Justice Winslow as a lot of his big scoring games in college came against Ohio State's weak non-conference schedule. One thing that can help Russell is showing he has the passing ability to play point guard at the next level. Russell has good size for a point guard but is undersized if he has to play shooting guard. In the end, I think Russell ends up being the third pick in the draft after Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor.
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Dekker might have the most to gain or lose out of any player at the combine. His breakout performance in the NCAA tournament pushed his stock in to the middle of the first round. Dekker can help himself out at the combine if he shows he can knock down NBA 3's at a consistent rate. Also, showing he has the versatility to guard 3's on the wing and 4's in the post could help Dekker solidify his spot in the top half of the first round.
Dez Wells, Maryland
In order to hear his name in to the second in the 2015 draft, Wells will have to prove himself in the combine and throughout workouts leading up to the draft. Ultimately, what Wells needs to do is compete. He needs to show he belongs when he faces potential first round picks. Wells is tough and a good all around player, but is undersized for a shooting guard at the next level. Proving he has a consistent 3-point shot could be all a team picking late in the second round needs to see to give the former Maryland guard a chance.
Aaron White, Iowa
White is an intriguing prospect for a lot of NBA teams because of his versatility on offense at 6'9". He will almost certainly go at some point in the second round. What the former Iowa star needs to show at the combine is that his versatility transfers on the defensive end as well. If White can guard multiple positions on defense, his value will increase tremendously. In the end, a smart player with great length who can stretch the floor can be an asset to any NBA team.
Branden Dawson, Michigan State
In all likelihood Dawson will go un-drafted and be a free come late June. If he wants any chance of hearing his name called he needs to show an improvement on his offensive game at the combine. Dawson unquestionably has NBA strength and athleticism, but he is undersized for a power forward at 6'6". He doesn't shoot 3's and he shot 49% from the free throw line this year. Dawson has to prove he can score from the wing and can guard taller power forwards.
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Petteway has a great chance of going in the second round, but the combine will be a great opportunity for the former Cornhusker to solidify that spot. Petteway needs to show a little better decision making at the combine as he averaged 3.4 turnovers per game last season for a poor Nebraska team. NBA teams will like his consistent stroke from deep and as long as he shows he can hold his own defensively and can create for his teammates without turning the ball over he will hear his name called come draft night.
The rest of the field
A few things intrigue me in the rest of the field. It is always interesting to watch the mid-major standouts compete against the power conference prospects. It will be interesting to see how guys like R. J. Hunter (Georgia State) and Larry Nance (Wyomng) fare against other top talent. Another thing to watch is the Kentucky players. Some of them were overshadowed being on such a talented roster and this is the chance for guys like Trey Lyles and Devin Booker to show off their individual talent.