CHICAGO — NC State guard Terquavion Smith is among those who may be climbing the draft charts because of an impressive showing at the NBA Combine, per Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated.
As of now, most mock drafts have Smith falling in the Nos. 28-32 range. That would be either late-first or early-second round.
“Teams still seem to view him as a project, which probably limits the ceiling of where he’ll be drafted, but Smith certainly enhanced his case on Thursday,” Woo wrote of Smith’s showing during Thursday’s 5-on-5 scrimmage.
Smith, 19, is 6-foot-4 and spent just one season at NC State, averaging 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Branham on the board?
Ohio State shooting guard Malaki Branham is a name often mentioned as a possibility for the Cavaliers at No. 14 overall, but Josh Dooley of SB Nation wonders if Branham is someone who would offer immediate help.
“Branham could wind up being a (Caris) LeVert clone, albeit much younger and potentially more talented. While there is room for both, drafting Branham would be an investment in the Cavs’ future — not the present,” Dooley wrote. “That is why I question the value. Because serious playoff contenders should prioritize immediate impact. Landing a player who can make an impact while simultaneously improving on the fly is an ideal scenario, but I’m not sure Branham is that guy… At least not yet.”
Interestingly, Branham played high school ball at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, the same school that produced LeBron James.
Liddell rising higher
Meanwhile, Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell was initially projected to be a middle-of-the-second-round pick, but scouts suddenly seem to think he’ll go higher than that. One at the combine even suggested to Hoops Wire that Liddell could get picked in the Nos. 16-20 range.
He definitely has impressed NBA executives with his vertical. The knock on him, however, is that he is sort of a “hybrid” forward without a true NBA position. Then again, the NBA has sort of become a position-less place.
“Expected to be a mid-to late first-round pick come June 23, Liddell didn’t do himself any disservice with his testing numbers and measurements at the combine,” wrote Griffin Strom of Eleven Warriors. “Among his standout figures was a wingspan that reached just a quarter-inch shy of 7-feet, which is impressive given his 6-foot-7 stature with shoes on. Liddell also had the best standing vertical leap of all combine participants, skying 35.5 inches, and his 38-inch max vertical leap was eighth-best among prospects who tested.”