Duke basketball: Would canceled combine help or hurt Cassius Stanley

Duke basketball guard Cassius Stanley (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Cassius Stanley (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The NBA has postponed its Draft Combine, but could a possible cancellation of the combine be a good thing for Duke basketball guard Cassius Stanley or would it hurt his draft stock?

There have been ongoing discussions surrounding the 2020 NBA Draft, and although the June 25 draft date is still set, that will almost certainly be postponed, sooner rather than later.

However, the NBA Draft Combine has been officially postponed with no makeup date set as of now, and the question certainly is percolating around the heads of teams if there will even be a pre-draft process.

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If the combine gets canned in its entirety, it will certainly have an impact on all three Blue Devils who are leaving Durham early, Tre Jones, Vernon Carey Jr., and Cassius Stanley, but the greatest impact would be on the latter.

In his one season at Duke, it became very apparent that Cassius Stanley is a freak of nature.

The Los Angeles native broke the vertical jump record at the Duke Preseason Combine, set one year prior by Zion Williamson, and that leaping ability transferred over to game action, starting with some incredible slams in the season-opening win over Kansas.

However, while there certainly are flaws with Stanley’s game in terms of shooting ability, defensive prowess, and ball handling, would a canceled draft combine hurt or help his draft stock?

The case can be made for both sides, but I think there would be more that benefits Stanley possibly creeping into the late-to-mid first round if the NBA Draft Combine did not happen in 2020.

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NBA teams draft players, especially in the late first round and second round, on potential, and Stanley’s potential is through the roof.

Coaching staffs can teach a 6-foot-6 guard how to position himself better on defense, how to protect the ball, or how to make adjustments to his shooting form, but they can’t teach players how to jump 46.5 inches in the air, run faster, or instill the instinctual ability for a putback dunk.

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Film study will be a vital role in whatever the NBA’s pre-draft process looks like, and while there will almost certainly be some sort of workout for the draftees, other leagues seem to be proceeding as there might not be a combine as well.

The NFL was lucky to get its draft combine in, but individual team workouts were severely limited due to COVID-19, the MLB has trimmed its 40-round draft to just five rounds with no team workouts and just a handful of games played this season, and the NHL is in a similar position as the NBA.

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Regardless of the situation, NBA teams will recognize the talent that Cassius Stanley possesses. While a year in the G-League might be necessary to get his skills to NBA ready, the athleticism that a franchise will be getting will certainly be ready to make an impact from the first day.