George King has had a superb offseason and it’s only getting better. King, the fifth-year Buffaloes senior, has helped him himself immensely in the NBA pre-draft process. That success culminated in an impressive showing at the NBA Combine.
Only 58 players attended the combine, and unlike last year when most top players withdrew, almost all first- and second-round prospects were there. King was competing with an elite group and stood out with his measurements, athletic testing and solid play in the live-ball scrimmages.
Projected as a small forward, King measured at only 6’5 without shoes. He made up for his lack of height with a giant 7’0 wingspan, which is the 5th largest of all wings, behind only Keita Bates-Diop, Melvin Frazier, Michael Porter, Jr., and Kevin Knox. Each of those players are first round prospects who are touted for their length and size.
King also measured to have enormous hands, which we all knew about and saw in his rebounding prowess. His 10.25”-wide hands were the largest of any forward. For comparison, Mohamed Bamba, owner of a 7’10 wingspan (!), has the same sized hands; meanwhile, Michael Porter is 6’10 and has 9.25”-wide hands.
For the athletic testing, King posted a 39’ vertical, 31’ standing vertical, 3.08-second shuttle run, 10.75-second lane agility run, and 3.29-second three-quarter sprint. Of all those tests, only the sprint was not a top-tier score. Of all the forwards, only Melvin Frazier (known for his athleticism) had a better vertical or shuttle run. No forward had a faster lane agility time or a higher standing vertical. If you really want to be impressed, King’s numbers across the board were very similar to Zhaire Smith, a 6’5, 200-lbs. guard who looks like he’s flying when he jumps. King did all this while weighing in as the third heaviest wing, lighter than only Miles Bridges and Bates-Diop, both of whom project more as power forwards.
The combine also included live scrimmages between the prospects. King stood out in those scrimmages with his versatile defense, heady offensive play and generally excelling at the little things. His best play was this shrewd cut and quick elevation for the dunk:
With King’s length, athleticism and versatility, he deserves a selection in the draft. Unfortunately he’s 24-years-old, ancient for a prospect, and teams would likely prefer him as an undrafted free agent. But he should get a shot at the NBA at the very least.