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Wade Baldwin and Damian Jones Measure Well at NBA Combine

The two former Vanderbilt players' performance might not have seemed NBA-worthy at times, but in both cases elite measurables should get them drafted.

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Upside.  That's the word that you want to hear if you are an NBA Draft prospect, and it's a word that scouts have used to describe Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones over the last couple of years.

At this weekend's NBA Draft combine, Baldwin measured 6'4" in shoes with a 6'11.25" wingspan.  To put that number in perspective, it's a full inch longer than power forward prospect Perry Ellis of Kansas, and Baldwin is a point guard.  And in the athleticism tests, Baldwin posted the second-fastest time (behind Weber State's Joel Bolomboy) in the lane agility drill measuring lateral quickness.

Jones likewise showcased elite length and athleticism.  His 36-inch standing vertical leap was the second-highest among big men participating (again, behind Joel Bolomboy.)  Jones also measured 6'11.5" in shoes -- good for a 7'0" listing on an NBA roster -- with a 7'3.75" wingspan, which ranked only behind Chinese 7-footer Zhou Qi and Chieck Diallo among players who were measured, and an 8'11" standing reach.

Baldwin did not participate in the 5-on-5 portion of the combine, but he did interview with NBA teams present.  Baldwin's physical tools are what make him of interest to the NBA: his lateral quickness and wingspan could make him an elite perimeter defender in the NBA, with the length to defend NBA small forwards (and maybe even a few power forwards depending on the particular matchup.)  That's allowing NBA teams to overlook his somewhat erratic performance as a sophomore at Vanderbilt.

Jones likewise has the tools to be a good defender in the NBA, but NBA teams also like his attributes off the court; there are no character questions here.  But unusually for a college junior, teams still consider Jones to be a bit on the raw side despite showing flashes of dominance on the offensive end in college.

Still, elite measurements and athleticism are like a good resume -- they'll get you the interview (or drafted, in this case), but they won't keep you employed.  Baldwin and Jones should get drafted on potential but have quite a ways to go to be NBA players.