Kyle Wiltjer has been invited to the NBA combine on May 11-15, Jeff Goodman with ESPN reported.
Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer told ESPN he has been invited to the NBA combine.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 30, 2016
Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. Wiltjer isn't appearing on many NBA mock draft boards worth looking at, and the issues that we saw in his game on the collegiate level are only going to be magnified on the NBA stage.
Draft Express, one of the better mock draft sites there, sufficiently sums up why NBA teams might stay away from Wiltjer.
Again, Wiltjer's body type just doesn't allow him to compete with NBA-level athletes. His lack of lateral quickness and his struggles on the glass will only be exposed further as his competition level improves.
That will be the issue for Wiltjer, and the combine isn't really going to help his case in that regard. One big portion of the combine is the athletic tests, things like a standing vertical jump, maximum vertical jump, etc. Those things are not Wiltjer's bread and butter. He is an athletic man in the sense that he is more athletic than the average person. But compared to the rest of the NBA? He is more like a lump of butter.
However, the other portion of the combine is the five-on-five drills, also in front of NBA coaches, general managers and scouts. This is where Wiltjer needs to shine. He needs to demonstrate that his ability to stretch the floor, which he will still have the ability to do on the NBA level, is enough reason to secure a bench spot on a team.
Wiltjer's defensive issues are more than enough to keep most NBA teams away, but if he can convince one team to take a flyer on him, than he has the chance to carve out a niche on the squad and work on his defense as he goes.
Either way, one of the big takeaways from this is the combine is an invite only affair. Sabonis also was invited, but Sabonis is also expected to go in the first round of the draft. Wiltjer has the chance to make some serious noise in a good way, so it will be interesting to pay attention to what happens in a couple of weeks.