NBA coaches got quite a show at the 2022 Combine as fellow Gonzaga Bulldogs Drew Timme, and Andrew Nembhard went against each other in scrimmage play.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs may not have won a National Championship yet, but Coach Mark Few has sent 24 players to the NBA. Most notable today would be Brandon Clarke of the Memphis Grizzlies, who put on quite a show in this year’s playoffs.
There could be two or maybe three more Gonzaga Bulldogs this year in the NBA. Chet Holmgren is Coach Few’s latest top draft pick. Adam Morrison went number three in the 2006 NBA Draft, and Jalen Suggs went number five last year.
Holmgren is expected to go in the top three. The Orlando Magic won the number one pick at the NBA Draft Lottery earlier this week, while Oklahoma City and Houston wound up with the second and third picks, respectively. I’m crossing my fingers that Orlando selects Holmgren in 2022 because they chose Jalen Suggs last year. Holmgren and Suggs played together in high school at Minnesota’s Minnehaha Academy.
Despite his expected high draft position, Holmgren declined to play in the scrimmage portion of the combine, as did Suggs last year.
From what I’ve seen in combine play, I would say Timme is definitely going to the NBA. Unfortunately, there is so much competition, and even with his good play this week, Timme hasn’t changed his second-round status. If he returns to Gonzaga as a senior, Timme could work on his pick and roll play and defense and develop a stronger outside presence. This is what Timme had to say about his Combine work on Thursday,
“I obviously needed to work on my defense and my 3-point shot and I think I did a good job today of showing that. I think I was really vocal on defense and mostly in the right positions. Sometimes I wasn’t, but I thought I did well rebounding and I hit a 3 and I made the right plays off the perimeter, whether it was driving or passing and all that. So I think I’ve grown a lot in that area.”
Timme’s scrimmage work was excellent, but his physical tests, not so much. He ranked 41 out of the 51 participants. Yikes!
If Drew Timme’s 3-point shot is legit he completely changes as a prospect. Already such an impressive feel for the game.
Always a spot for a big man like that in the NBA in my opinion. Has to be playable defensively, too
— Ross Lovelace (@Rosslovelace) May 20, 2022
Like Jalen Suggs the year before, Few is sending an exceptional Gonzaga Bulldogs point guard to the NBA (whether the league knows it or not). He may have gone into the combine as a late second-round pick. I believe Nembhard has more than shown that he is, if not a late first-rounder, then an early second-round pick. There is a great article about Nembhard from Bryan Kalbrosky of USA Today. In it, Kalbrosky says,
“There was a very clear winner from the NBA Draft Combine scrimmages, and his name is Andrew Nembhard, a Gonzaga Bulldogs senior combo guard.”
He describes Nembhard’s scrimmage play as one of the best performances by a guard at the combo for the past four years. Yes, he’s the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ floor general. After, he lists two guards with similar stats, including age, height, weight, and overall productivity. One, of course, was Nembhard. The other was Davion Mitchell. Mitchell went tenth in last year’s NBA draft. Is Nembhard being underrated by pundits? Heck yeah, he is! In an interview with ESPN after the scrimmages, Nembhard had this to say,
“I just always feel like I’ve got something to prove, I feel like a lot of guys underestimate me. I want to get on the court and prove in front of all these guys I belong and I’m here to stay for a while.”
NBA Combine invite for Andrew Nembhard, who finished his career with 691 assists to 256 turnovers. Special passing IQ aside, it’s improved pull-up shooting that’s been key in helping scouts picture an NBA PG. Made 41 dribble jumpers on 41% + 38% 3PT (87% FT). pic.twitter.com/XGBzy7IGR1
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) May 5, 2022
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about Strawther. After participating in the physical tests, he didn’t play in any scrimmages. Strawther did, however, place first in lane agility drills.
Zags fans hope his absence from scrimmages means he will be returning to the Gonzaga Bulldogs for his junior year.
Julian Strawther will not be playing in the scrimmage at the NBA Draft Combine today. The decision to return to Gonzaga for his junior season in the making?
— Arden Independence Cravalho (@a_cravalho) May 19, 2022
It would be sad for me to see Drew Timme, the “Stache,” leave Gonzaga without that elusive championship. I have only covered the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the past two seasons. But every player I’ve covered is special to me, and I wish them the very best.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy out there!