CHICAGO -- The annual NBA Draft Combine officially got underway with the G League Elite Camp, the lottery and measurements scattered about the last few days, but it really kicked into high gear on Wednesday. For the first time all week, players met with the media and took part in scrimmages in a doubleheader featuring two blowouts but competitive, entertaining action nonetheless.
As has been the trend in recent years, top prospects -- possibly for the last time ever with a new incoming CBA -- chose not to participate in the scrimmage portion of this week's festivities. So no Scoot Henderson, no Thompson twins, no Brandon Miller, and -- of course -- no Victor Wembanyama, who's still playing in the French League. But those absences didn't prevent what turned out to be two big showcases for some of this year's prospects as players put their talents on display in front of NBA executives and decision-makers.
Here are five takeaways from the day.
1. O-Max Prosper shows his range
One of the best performers on the day was one of the first, as Marquette's Olivier-Maxence Prosper came out of the gate in Game 1 and showed off his two-way impact in a win. Prosper finished with 21 points and seven rebounds and added a 3-pointer while showing immense activity and playmaking on the defensive side of the floor.
"I just wanted to come out here and play with great energy, go make hustle plays, and really impact the game in multiple ways," said Prosper. "I just came in knowing I was going to work the hardest on the floor today, and that's how I was able to play the way I played today."
Marquette's Olivier Maxence-Prosper had a strong first game at the NBA draft combine with 21 points, 7 rebounds in 22 minutes, bringing tremendous activity on both ends of the floor. pic.twitter.com/mbCsz8X7NW— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2023
Prosper had a breakout junior season for Marquette averaging a career-high 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 33.9% from 3, and his progression as a two-way force was on full display Wednesday, potentially bolstering his stock in a big way.
2. Dillon Mitchell shows confidence in shot
That's how many 3-pointers Dillon Mitchell, a former five-star recruit and potential one-and-done, took in his freshman season with Texas last season. Today? He took two in the flow of five-on-five competition, showing off what appeared to be new-and-improved mechanics he has been working hard in the pre-draft process.
"It's just small things, like keeping my shoulders in," he said. "Before, I was releasing it and holding it too long at the top, trying to use my arms too much. It was nothing about changing the shot, just small mechanics I needed to fix. Then once we got it, reps, reps, reps. Lot of shots up a day. Six times a week, constantly getting shots up. That's helped my confidence a lot."
3. Guards flash talent
A pair of players not widely viewed as first-round prospects -- Creighton's Trey Alexander and Miami's Isaiah Wong -- seemed to be among the biggest risers from five-on-five work Wednesday. Alexander, ranked No. 21 on the CBS Sports Big Board, finished with 14 points, two rebounds and one assist in the first game, flashing his development as an on-the-ball creator. Wong similarly sizzled with 16 points while adding four rebounds. He had a really nice wraparound finish around the bucket and looked comfortable operating on the ball to boot.
Miami's Isaiah Wong really showing his bucket-getting ability at the NBA draft combine scrimmage. Making some nice plays out of pick and roll and showing his shot-making prowess. pic.twitter.com/taoo9ivct4— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2023
Two other players that stood out: UCLA's Amari Bailey and Santa Clara's Brandin Podziemski. Bailey started slow in the first game and had some bad decisions and ugly finishes, but he ended with a game-high eight assists to go with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Podziemski finished fast but played sparingly in the second half, tallying 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Amari Bailey is back home in Chicago showing scouts his expanding skillset at the NBA Combine 👏 pic.twitter.com/xJV07nGfgv— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) May 17, 2023
4. Who is No. 99?
Overheard from the bleachers at the Combine on Wednesday was one NBA staffer asking a simple question: Who is No. 99?
That would be none other than Tristan Vukčević, who in the second game of the afternoon put up a game-high 21 points on an efficient 10 shot attempts. During one stretch of play, he made consecutive 3s and then drilled a fadeaway while showing off real skill at around 7-feet.
Big impact in a small spurt for Tristan Vukcevic showing his excellent skill-level at 7-feet. Not many big guys in this draft who can shoot and score from all over the floor the way he can. pic.twitter.com/f7VTIru2BO— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2023
Vukčević, 20, has had one of his most productive seasons this year in the Adriatic League and seems to be popping on the radar as someone worth watching as a late riser in this draft.
5. G League Elite Camp continues producing
The G League Elite Camp has frequently produced players who go on to find success at the Combine and later in the NBA, and that list may soon be expanding. G League Elite Camp call-up Dillon Jones, from Weber State, had 17 points, three assists and two boards in a breakout showing from the second game, further bolstering his stock in an already-successful week. Jones averaged 16.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game last season for Weber State and may be playing his way towards a tough stay-or-go decision with the way he has improved his standing this week.