2011 NBA Draft Combine: Kyrie Irving Skips Tests, Enes Kanter Skips Interviews

The 2011 NBA Draft Combine begins in Chicago on Thursday. Prospects will meet with teams, get measured and do athletic testing and skill drills.

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NBA Draft Combine Measurements: Kawhi Leonard Has Massive Hands

Player measurements from the 2011 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago leaked Friday; many find the cold analysis of body parts unseemly, but there's no denying how much interest the results draw. The biggest story out of the 2011 edition of the combine might be San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard, who measured just 6'6 in socks, but had a great 7'3 wingspan and truly huge hands (9.8 inches long, 11.3 inches wide). No player at the combine had hands longer than Leonard; only center Greg Smith's hands were wider.

In basketball, hand size is a big indicator of success in rebounding, and plays a role in defense and ball-handling as well.

Leonard's biggest challenge in the workout season will be showing he has the skill level necessary to play small forward at the NBA level. But his measurements should help his reputation as a physical defender, something that he may have trouble getting across in the workout setting.

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Enes Kanter Skips NBA Draft Combine Interviews With Jazz, Raptors, According To Report

Enes Kanter, a Turkish big man expected to go in the top 10 in the 2011 NBA Draft, bailed on interviews with the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors, Andy Katz reported on ESPNU Friday (via Chris Littmann). The Jazz have the No. 3 pick in June's draft; the Raptors pick No. 5. Kanter has been slotted anywhere from No. 2 to No. 8. Katz reports Kanter also bailed on the Milwaukee Bucks, but as that team picks No. 10, that's less surprising.

Kanter has been reported to want to play for the Washington Wizards, who have the No. 6 pick. But few players opt for lower rookie scale salary; the difference between being the No. 3 pick and the No. 6 is several million dollars over the life of a rookie contract. But Kanter could consider Washington a better situation.

Kanter was recruited to play for Kentucky last season, but was ruled ineligible by the NCAA due to apparently playing for pay in Europe in his teenage years. The Wizards are led by former Kentucky point guard John Wall.

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Kenneth Faried Among Hot Names In NBA Draft Combine Action

Kenneth Faried, last seen terrorizing opponents in the NCAA Tournament for Morehead State, was reportedly one of the stars of Thursday's action at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Faried was among the several dozen prospects invited to Chicago to meet with and work out for teams about a month in advance of the 2011 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 23.

Joey Whelan of SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness reports that Faried, maybe the greatest rebounder in college basketball history, drew positive remarks on Thursday.

For those who tuned into the live coverage being shown on ESPNU it was readily apparent that the 6-foot-8 (we'll see later) was one of, if not the hardest working players to take the floor in front of representatives from all 30 NBA teams. With the bigs taking part in basic drills that involved elevating for rebounds, finishing basic post moves, showing off their jumper and defending the pick and roll, the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder displayed the constant motor that makes him so appealing to pro scouts and GMs.

Faried will draw the "undersized" label, but the success of power forwards of a similar height have relegated that demerit to a less important status. Teams love athleticism and energy, and it's hard to find many prospects with more of both than Faried.

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Kyrie Irving Skips Athletic Testing At 2011 NBA Draft Combine, According To Report

Kyrie Irving, the presumptive No. 1 pick, will skip athletic testing and drills at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine this week, reports Chad Ford. Irving, expected to be chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the top choice in the June 23 draft, overcame a broken toe suffered in December to play in the NCAA Tournament in March for the Duke Blue Devils, so it's unlikely that injury is preventing Irving from doing the basic athletic tests like vertical jumps and sprints.

Few players ever skip athletic testing; even LeBron James, Cleveland's last no-brainer No. 1 pick, participated. Top prospects do skip the drill portion of the combine with some regularity, and Irving won't be alone on the sidelines for that, as Ford has reported Arizona forward Derrick Williams, UConn guard Kemba Walker and Kentucky guard Brandon Knight are among those passing on an opportunity to do the drills.

Stay tuned for more reaction to Irving's decision and results from the combine.

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2011 NBA Draft Combine Begins In Chicago; Top Prospects Meet With Teams, Get Measured

The top prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft are gathering in Chicago for the annual draft combine. Players will be measured, will undergo athletic tests, meet with teams and -- with some exceptions -- will run drills to test skill levels. A few of the best prospects, including presumptive No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving, will skip the drill portion, reports Chad Ford.

But the measurements are one of the main attractions; expect to hear about Bismack Biyombo's crazy wingspan (measured at 7'7 at Nike Hoop Summit) and any number of players who will turn up a few inches shorter than listed in college. Much ado will be made about the measurements, but in the end, how it translates on the court is something teams will have to figure out.

Teams get a chance to interview 18 of the prospects at the combine; this is most notably a chance to talk to the top prospects to begin to get a read on how they handle pressure and what their personalities are like. Players can raise red flags in these sessions; Hassan Whiteside hardly needed help raising red flags last year, but his combine claims -- apparently dead serious -- that he should be the No. 1 pick furthered the big man's reputation as an overconfident kid.

ESPNU and ESPN3.com will carry live coverage of the draft combine on Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates throughout the combine.

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