CHICAGO -- The first day of the NBA Draft Combine is in the books -- and it was fairly uneventful, with many of the top players electing to sit and watch (well, their agents made the decision) and others on the sideline with injuries.
The list of those who didn't participate was nearly as lengthy as the one of those who did: Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len, C.J. McCollum, Gorgui Dieng, Jamaal Franklin, C.J. Leslie, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry had legitimate medical reasons, while guys like Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee and Dennis Schroeder just sat and watched.
-- First of all, let's give agent Bill Duffy and Shabazz Muhammad credit. The former UCLA wing was one of the few expected lottery guys to actually get on the court on Thursday and go up against less heralded players. I have been critical in the past of Muhammad as an elite player, but he does play hard. The issue on Thursday was he didn't shoot the ball well from the perimeter -- and much of Thursday's work on the court in front of a packed house of NBA personnel focused on shooting.
Muhammad shot nearly 38 percent from beyond the arc this past season, but he's not a reliable long-range shooter. My concerns about Muhammad are that he's not an explosive athlete, he's a mediocre shooter and a sub-par defender. A wing with those characteristics is a role player at the next level.
-- I was excited to get an up-close look at Rudy Gobert, the supposed cream of a fairly deep international crop. He's exceptionally long, looking every bit of 7-foot-1, and can be a presence on the defensive end. However, he possesses virtually no offensive skills at this stage, and will be tossed around in the NBA. He's a "potential guy" who would be better-served staying in Europe for another couple years, but the word is he wants to come to the US this coming season. The problem is he wouldn't be able to handle the physical aspect and is a major liability on the offensive end.
-- The other international player who is in attendance is Dennis Schroeder, a German point guard who has terrific speed and improved his draft stock significantly a few weeks ago at the Nike Hoop Summit. However, Schroeder didn't wind up participating on Thursday, and the speculation began that he has received a guarantee by a team in the top 20.
-- Who were the stock risers and fallers from Thursday's session? No one. Again, it was a ton of shooting mixed in with some 1-on-1 and other skill work for the most part. Anyone who places a ton of emphasis on what went on Thursday in Chicago should be fired.
-- Glen Rice Jr. is an interesting case. The former Georgia Tech wing was in the doghouse with Paul Hewitt's staff and then Brian Gregory ultimately dismissed him. He was suspended multiple times and said his background has been a key topic for teams in interview sessions here in Chicago. "I tell them I made some mistakes in the past, but I've learned from them." Rice, the son of the former Michigan star, had a terrific stretch in the D-League -- but numerous NBA personnel told me his talent level isn't worth the risk of a first-round pick or maybe even a selection in the draft altogether.
-- Adonis Thomas and Grant Jerrett are the two most baffling decisions surrounding the NBA Draft, besides Marcus Smart returning to Oklahoma State. Thomas could well go undrafted and the 6-foot-10 Jerrett left after averaging 5.2 points per game. Thomas said he's down to 230 pounds from his playing weight this past season of 240, and couldn't give me a legitimate reason why he left Memphis after his sophomore season. Jerrett said that one of the reasons he left Arizona was because he felt as though his role wouldn't have increased with the return of Brandon Ashley and the arrival of talented freshman Aaron Gordon. Personally, I think he should have transferred, but he said he never considered it because he didn't want to sit out a year.
-- Nerlens Noel and Ryan Kelly both told me they measured in at 6-foot-11 3/4 with shoes. C.J. McCollum said he was 6-3 1/4 with shoes, Victor Oladipo was 6-foot-4 1/4 with shoes, Ben McLemore was 6-foot-3 barefoot and Erik Murphy said he was 6-foot-9 1/2 with shoes.
-- Michael Carter-Williams said the alterations with the mechanics of his shot have been overblown. He's been out on Long Island, N.Y., working with trainer Jay Hernandez (a former Hofstra player), and said he's been making certain to stay on top of his shot and also follow-through after shooting the ball. "It's nothing major," Carter-Williams said. "I have good form, but now I'm shooting the ball with more confidence."
-- McCollum was cleared by doctors to play full-contact about 2 1/2 weeks ago, but his agent decided to hold him out from the event -- likely a combination of caution and also confidence that he's already entrenched as a lottery pick. The big question, besides McCollum's health, is whether the Lehigh guard is a point or an off-guard. He said he played primarily point guard growing up through high school, but then moved to the two-guard spot when he arrived in college because the program had a senior floor leader. The success of guys like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, two non-traditional point guards, should certain help his case in the draft.
-- New Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough was in attendance. I've known him for a decade or so, and he's a rising star in the business -- but he's certainly got his work cut out for him. He has to hire a staff and a head coach, and he's also got a roster that pales in comparison to the one John Calipari will possess in Lexington next season. When your best player is Goran Dragic, you have some major work to do. Remember, though, McDonough drafted Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley -- and he'll have a lottery pick and also a late first-rounder to begin to build the franchise back.