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Insider

KU's Robinson says he should be No. 1

6/11/2012

CHICAGO -- The 2012 NBA draft combine continued over the weekend with drills, measurements, athletic testing and team interviews on Friday, followed by medical examinations on Saturday and Sunday.

With virtually every NBA GM, head coach and scouting staff in attendance, the event was a perfect opportunity to talk to teams, interview players and get a sense of how they stacked up against one another.

While the drills they went through on the court might have been, in and of themselves, meaningless, they did offer a rare opportunity to see all of the players in the draft up close on the same floor.

ESPN had access to the gym for the eight hours of the combine, and I was in the hotel lobby talking to teams, players and agents for most of the afternoon and evening.

Based on the information I gathered, here are some quick hits on what I'm hearing about a number of top prospects in the draft. You can also check out our updated Top 100 to get a feel for where players now stand after the pre-draft combine.

• Is Anthony Davis a lock for the No. 1 pick? Yes, and it's not even close. Forget about the fact that the Hornets are saying publicly that they are still considering their options. He's the guy.

You can also forget about them trading the No. 1 pick. Sources say the Cavs offered them No. 4, No. 24, No. 33 and No. 34 for No. 1. And sources said the Cavs got a firm and quick "No!"

• Kansas' Thomas Robinson boldly asserted that he should be the No. 1 pick on Thursday. Former Arizona Wildcat Derrick Williams said the same thing last year. It's not going to happen, but he did have a good weekend. Much like the situation with Williams last year, NBA scouts have been wondering for months whether Robinson was big enough to play the 4 in the NBA. Robinson's measurements strongly helped his cause as an NBA 4 man. He measured nearly 6-foot-9 with an impressive 7-3 1/4 wingspan and 8-10 standing reach. Those wingspan and standing reach measurements (the two measurements NBA teams really care about) put him on par with both Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, two NBA all-star power forwards. Ditto for his 35 1/2-inch vertical.

The question is will he be drafted at No. 2? We've had Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the No. 2 pick for the past few weeks. Sources say the Bobcats still haven't decided and are seriously considering trading the No. 2 pick to get multiple picks back. However, Robinson is very seriously in the mix, and I'm told right now that Michael Jordan isn't sold on Kidd-Gilchrist.

• Weber State's Damian Lillard was the real star of the draft combine. He was the best player to agree to do the drills and it paid off for him. Many of the NBA executives in attendance had never seen him play in person before and the rest had only seen him only a handful of times. Lillard shot the lights out, had a couple of terrific dunks in the drills and 3-on-3 play, played hard and was very good in interviews with teams.

His measurements also turned out to be eerily similar to Derrick Rose. Rose measured 6-1 1/2 in socks and 6-2 1/2 in shoes in Chicago in 2008. Lillard was 6-1 3/4 in socks and 6-2 3/4 in shoes. Rose had a 6-8 wingspan, while Lillard had a 6-7 3/4 wingspan. Rose weighed 196 pounds, while Lillard weighed 188. Both players measured with a 40-inch max vertical. Given Lillard's rep as a scoring point guard, he's got to like the similarities.

I believe Lillard's range starts with the Blazers at No. 6. I doubt he slips past the Phoenix Suns at 13. He's got workouts in Toronto on Monday, as well as Sacramento and Phoenix this week.

• Three other players, Illinois' Meyers Leonard, St. John's Moe Harkless and St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, also really helped themselves over the past few days.

Leonard's name was especially hot all weekend. His size (he measured as the tallest guy at camp), athletic ability, his soft shooting touch around the basket and his excellent interviews all positioned him to move from the mid-first round into the lottery. All year, teams feared that Leonard didn't have the skill or the mental makeup to be a lottery pick. By Friday, virtually every exec in the NBA was predicting that he would go somewhere between 9 and 14 and that he had moved ahead of Tyler Zeller on their big boards.

Harkless also appeared to make the leap this weekend, going from interesting prospect to potential lottery pick. He still has a ways to go as far as making his game translate to the next level, but the raw athletic ability and elite size for his position, combined with an excellent showing both on the court and in interviews seems to have really improved his stock. I've heard his name as high as No. 7 to the Golden State Warriors and No. 8 to the Toronto Raptors.

Nicholson shot the ball as well as most of the guards at the camp, and measured with a huge 7-4 wingspan and the biggest hands at the camp. It's pretty rare that a guy who won Defensive Player of the Year in his conference is drawing raves for his offensive performance on the court. We had him pegged as the 22nd pick in the draft for the past few mocks, but I'm beginning to doubt that he'll make it to the Celtics.

• Mississippi State big man Arnett Moultrie got the lion's share of the wrath from NBA teams for skipping the drills. Moultrie said he decided not to play because he was slotted to work out with the centers. However, his decision not to play at all baffled NBA executives. He was hammered for it repeatedly in interviews. I doubt he falls too far in the draft because of it, but he certainly missed an opportunity to help himself.

Baylor's Quincy Miller also really struggled in this setting. As hard as it is to believe, I think he could slide into the second round.

• We know that Syracuse guard Dion Waiters received a promise on Thursday. As we reported in my wrap of Thursday's camp, a team in the lottery locked up Waiters. A source close to Waiters said he will not work out for any more teams before the draft and did not participate in the athletic or medical testing over the weekend.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo denied he made the promise, but some sources claim that the Raptors might still take him if they keep the pick. The Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns are two other likely teams. I'm skeptical, however, that Waiters' agent, Rob Pelinka, would agree to shutting down Waiters if the pick was that low in the draft.

• Speaking of promises, sources say that Duke's Austin Rivers also might have been locked up this weekend by a team in the lottery. Teams were impressed with him, despite his decision to skip the drills. Not only did Rivers ace his interviews, but he measured a little taller than teams expected. I think Phoenix would be a more likely destination for him.

• I'm getting a lot of requests from readers for the results from the NBA athletic testing held on Friday. They should be available sometime early this week.

I'm also getting flooded with questions about the next Mock Draft. Look for it on Wednesday.

• Finally, with camps almost over (the adidas Eurocamp is finishing up over the weekend), expect team workouts to begin in earnest.

As of now, Kidd-Gilchrist, Robinson and Bradley Beal are expected to work out for just a handful of teams.

Robinson has just two workouts scheduled. He'll be in Washington on Wednesday and is in the process of finalizing a date in Charlotte on either the 18th or 20th. Depending on how those two workouts go, it's possible Robinson could add other dates later.

Florida's Beal will work out for just three teams: Washington (Thursday), Cleveland (Saturday) and Charlotte (Monday, June 18). It's unlikely that he'll do any more workouts than that.

Kentucky's Kidd-Gilchrist has just one workout scheduled with Washington on Friday. However, he's expected to workout in Cleveland as well.

Golden State has a big workout on Monday with Terrence and Perry Jones for the No. 7 pick. Ditto for the Sacramento Kings. We told you last week that the Kings were high on North Carolina forward John Henson, and he will be in for a workout on Monday.