There are two members of the 2014-15 Syracuse basketball team that will be in this year’s NBA Draft but only one participated in the NBA Draft Combine. Chris McCullough is still recovering from a torn ACL and did not participate but Center Rakeem Christmas participated and impressed.
Christmas posted 20 points and six rebounds in the five-on-five game at the Combine on Thursday. He went 7 of 10 from the field and three of his made field goals were jumpers, something that Syracuse fans didn’t see that much of during his time with the Orange.
For someone like Christmas, the Draft Combine is a really important event as it is a chance for him to showcase his abilities to all 30 NBA teams. Sure-fire prospects don’t really need the Combine as most teams are already convinced of their talents but a border-line NBA player like Christmas could benefit greatly from a strong combine.
Though he wasn’t playing against many top prospects in the five-on-five game, Christmas looked like he belonged out there on both ends. His strong defensive performance was just as important as his offense.
Christmas has played exclusively in a 2-3 zone the last four years and as it is pretty much never played in the NBA, he will have to adjust to a lot more man defense and other kinds of zone. He did just that in the Combine, holding his own on the defensive side of the ball.
This strong performance on the hardwood came the day after he was measured at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wing span, the second largest wingspan at the Combine.
These measurements suggest that though he is shorter than most NBA Centers, his length would definitely allow him to play Power Forward if not Center in the NBA.
With a strong performance in the Combine, Rakeem Christmas is making a case to be drafted.
Posted: Logan Grossman