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2011 NBA Draft: Kawhi Leonard Gets Mixed Reviews From Measurements

What the 40-yard dash is to the NFL Draft, the combination of height and wingspan are to the NBA - somewhat overrated in the context of game play, but massively influential on draft stock. 

Remember when we all thought Michael Beasley was a lock to be the number one overall pick in the draft, dominating the competition at Kansas State while he was perceived to be a 6-foot-10 power forward with immense versatility? Of course by the time he was selected with the number two pick by the Miami Heat he had "shrank" to somewhere between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8. 

Then there's the other end of the spectrum where players perceived to be undersized for the prototype of their position in the NBA get a sudden boost in stock thanks to their length. Jason Maxiell and DeJuan Blair have carved out nice spots for themselves in the league despite standing less than 6-foot-7 in sneakers. Both owe a great deal of that to the huge wingspans they presented at the NBA Draft Combine, both checking in at over 7-foot-2. You can throw San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard into that second group now.

Per ESPN Draft guru Chad Ford:


The immediate reaction to those numbers? Versatile defender. Leonard is a physical specimen, one of the most intriguing in this draft class. His ability to defend multiple positions is part of the reason why scouts like him and the fact that he is both taller and longer than Blair and Maxiell at least forces one to entertain the idea that as he matures physically (only 20-years-old) and gets stronger, he will be able to guard any position from the two to the four.

This also will help him initially at the offensive end. We know Leonard ultimately projects out as a small forward, but his skill set is quite raw right now and will take time to develop. That wingspan will help him initially on the offensive glass and finishing against bigger players in the paint as he progresses to being a more full-time perimeter player.

Just for the sake of comparison - or lack there of - according to the tremendous measurement database at DraftExpress, Leonard has the longest wingspan of any player 6-foot-7 or shorter in sneakers since the site began tracking this data. Don't think that isn't going to win him some major points. The closest comparison overall though from a physical standpoint? Stephane Lasme who was a second round selection of the Warriors in 2007 and most recently was in the Celtics system, measured at 6-foot-7 in sneakers as well with a wingspan one inch shorter than Leonards.