Here is something pretty interesting that just appeared today.
Here is the full list of NBA combine participants: pic.twitter.com/Lwh3TKtEds— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 5, 2016
There happens to be a few players on there that are interestingly missing. Three in fact: Ben Simmons, Dejounte Murray, and our own Domantas Sabonis. Now, for Ben Simmons, not participating in the NBA Draft combine may or may not hurt him. Some people are calling him the No. 1 pick in the draft. Other people are calling him the No. 2 pick in the draft. Either way, he is going to get drafted very early. Sabonis, now that is a bit of a different story.
Draft Express currently has Sabonis as the No. 18 pick, which is pretty good. But there is also room for Sabonis to fall, and there could be room for Sabonis to rise. The fact that he isn't participating in the combine makes it pretty difficult for teams that haven't seen him play see what he is made of.
Jeff Goodman continued to explain why it is interesting, especially for Sabonis, on Twitter.
This is not up to the players. The agents make the call on what the players do and don't do at combine, w/workouts. https://t.co/0k6VY0XvTr— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 5, 2016
Players invited to the NBA combine were determined by lists submitted from every NBA team. If not invited, odds not in favor being drafted.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 5, 2016
There were 5 players drafted a year ago that did not get invited to the NBA combine. Can happen, but again -- odds not in favor.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 5, 2016
Granted, Sabonis was invited to the combine, but he declined. Still, it isn't too common for someone other than the presumptive No. 1 pick to decline a combine invite. History would say that Sabonis not attending the NBA combine doesn't bode well for him to get drafted. But Sabonis isn't a borderline pick. Hell, he has pretty solidly been a first round 2016 NBA Draft pick for much of the season in almost every mock draft, even before he declared.
The thing is, Sabonis has signed with an agent. He can't test these waters and hop back into Gonzaga. His agent is also the one that said he doesn't need to go to the NBA combine.
Draft Express had a little bit of analysis.
Agents would prefer not to have their clients go through the exhaustive medical screening the NBA puts every Combine participant through, especially now that the Combine is held before the official order of the NBA draft is set at the Lottery (this year May 17th). The physical is an incredibly important component to most team's decision making process, and is one of the few pieces of leverage agents have...While we are speculating, that may have played a role in Domantas Sabonis' decision not to attend the Combine, as he may attempt to avoid being drafted by certain teams in his range, preferring to be steered in other directions potentially.
Maybe Sabonis has a guarantee from a team that he will be picked. Maybe Sabonis' agent feels like he will add nothing to his profile by competing in workout drills of the combine. Either way, there were only three people to decline combine invites, and Sabonis is one of them. It will be interesting to see why and to see how this plays out.