Running Joke: NBA Combine is annual misstep for otherwise progressive league

As boring as the NBA playoffs have been (as a Cavs/Warriors finals dangles on the horizon), playoff basketball still remains one of the most exciting times in sports. Even if league is more top heavy than Kate Upton, you get quality games each and every night. Yet for some reason, that isn’t the only basketball coverage we’re getting. Basketball fans everywhere are getting the NBA Combine shoved down their throat. 

For days, we sit around and choke down the awful coverage that is the NBA Combine. While you can count the amount of NBA teams left in the playoffs on one hand, we’re still out here supposed to worry about who jumps the highest, or who benches the most. News flash boys and girls: the NBA Combine doesn’t matter.

Having the best workout at the combine is like being the tallest midget. Sure it’s impressive to a degree, but the rules to ride the roller coaster aren’t going to change. It’s a dog and pony show. It has nothing to do with actual on court talent or how the game is played, yet for some reason, we’re supposed to gawk at the measurements of some of these players.

You know who didn’t think the NBA Draft Combine was important? Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Malik Monk. All expected to be top six or higher in the draft. All no shows at the combine. No worries though folks. At least we still have this event televised for two days.


For those of you sitting around reading this and saying “what about the NFL combine? That matters,” you’re right. It does. As ridiculous as it sounds, there are millions on the line based on how fast a player runs or how high he jumps. It’s absurd to think games played with pads rely on the numbers acquired without it, but that’s just the truth. That same truth does not carry over to the NBA.

Some are still combine enthusiasts. That’s fine. Those people probably enjoy the Pro Bowl too. As long as we’re all sitting on the same page and saying neither of them matter. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Who had the highest vertical at last year’s combine? How about the most bench presses? Do you remember who did the best during 5 on 5 drills? If you answered “no clue” to all of the above, you probably have the same memory as some scouts.

Just take a quick peek at the year Kevin Durant was drafted, when he truly blew it away at the combine.


Russell Carter has the same amount of NBA minutes as the refrigerator sitting in your kitchen. Kevin Durant is one of the best players in basketball, is a former NBA, and will likely end up in Springfield when he’s done drilling 35-footers for a living. It’s safe to say the combine didn’t really affect him too much, but that’s just one man’s opinion. It seems like Durant feels the same way.

“Stay your ass at home, work out, and get better on your own time.”

Kevin Durant

If you want to consider that an exception, fine. We can go back to last year. Look at the top players on the list below who were widely considered to have some of the best combines in the entire class.


None of those players cracked the first round. None of them made an impact in the league this year. Most of them spent their year slumming it the D-League, but hey, at least they jumped high at the combine!  You can’t figure out how good a prospect is based on how high he can jump or anything that occurs during the combine. Just put the scouts in your shoes. If you’re at the park picking players to be on your team, do you look at them jump and do push ups before you play? Or you probably look to avoid the dude who was pegging bricks at the backboard like Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Along Came Polly.”

SEE ALSO: A tribute to the shortest player in NBA history 

Hopefully, you realize just how asinine it is to wait on the numbers from all the players at the combine. Sadly, there are still people who live in a fantasy world like Peter Pan and pretend this thing is legit. For example, many people are going nuts about Hamidou Diallo. He jumped out of the building, and had a 7’1 wingspan. Just look at these comparisons he’s getting.


COME ON. That should be considered slander in the highest degree and punishable by exile for even comparing those two players in the same 140 character thought. If you don’t know who Diallo is, and are wondering how you haven’t heard of a player who is getting compared to a future Hall of Famer, don’t worry. It’s because he didn’t record a single minute during his freshman year at Kentucky. Coach Calipari didn’t think he was good enough to crack his lineup, but let’s go ahead and compare him to the greatest dunker of our generation.

Is the draft good in a certain sense? Possibly. It gives scouts and people within the organization a chance to meet these players and sit down with them. If you think players like Ball, Jackson, Monk or Tatum are going to have their stock fall because they were absent, then you probably need smelling salts to wake up. The teams are going to bring these players in for workouts, and meet with them then. Problem solved.

If you want to sit home and want the NBA Combine on Thursday and Friday, be my guest. Sit on your couch with your ice cold beer, wowing over the performances of tomorrow’s stars, wasting your time. The combine doesn’t matter, and if you can’t understand that, then you don’t either.

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