Artificial Heights?

The NBA draft combine took place on Thursday, and as always we awaited eagerly the results of the measurements.

You may ask why. Why would it matter whether a player a power forward is 6-9 or 6-8 and a half, and especially on a recruiting site that doesn't cover the draft itself?

The reason is that we need to take stock of how we measured players back in their grassroots days. Fans often question and criticize scouts for over-listing players' heights, the idea being that those players will get exposed when the step upon the scale at the no-lies draft combine.

Without anyone to give them cover or to promote an errant number, we finally get clarity on how a given athlete measures against his future colleagues at his position.

Naturally, some players continue to grow after high school and thus under-listing a player's height doesn't necessarily mean we got it wrong during his prep days. But given that humans rarely shrink in their early 20s, it's safe to say that a player who's taller in the Scout database than he is at the NBA combine counts as our mistake.

To clarify, we list players based on their height wearing shoes. For that reason, then, we'll compare our measurement to the one the NBA also does with players wearing shoes.

Our No. 1 player from the 2013 class, Andrew Wiggins, clocked in at 6-8 at, but we can't make a comparison because Wiggins — along with fellow freshmen Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid — opted not to participate in the combine.

Meanwhile, some players measured in their bare feet but did not take a measurement in shoes. I've still listed them here, but obviously the distortion must be factored into the analysis.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that our measurement was accurate for any player whose Scout height and NBA height are within a half inch. Let's also dismiss any player who did not measure at the combine wearing shoes.

Of the 40 players listed below who qualify, only 16 fell within the half inch sweet spot for accuracy. That doesn't sound so good.

But consider this: Of the 24 mismatched listings, only two players — Marcus Smart and Jabari Brown — were overlisted. All other 22 inaccuracies underlisted that player's height relative to his official NBA combine measurement.

That speaks plainly to two points: 1) We can't vouch for anyone else, but doesn't make a habit of inflating prospects' heights; 2) A lot of these guys continue to grow upon graduating from high school.

There's simply no other plausible way to explain the 22-2 disparity. It's worth noting that some of the more dramatic under-listings occurred with athletes who played all four (or five) years of college, giving them maximum time to keep growing.

Additionally, some of the unranked players had larger height gaps and likely didn't receive as much exposure in high school, and thus may have grown even before the end of their prep careers. That's a likely factor, too.

The most shocking height change belongs to Spencer Dinwiddie. Listed at 6-2 on Scout, Dinwiddie registered at 6-6 at Thursday's combine. But as the Boulder Daily Camera wrote nearly three years ago, "… Colorado gets an early commitment from a gifted but overlooked guard who grew up in the heart of conference rival territory. When the promising player arrives on campus in Boulder to begin workouts -- surprise! -- he has grown a couple of inches."

Dinwiddie hulked up after his arrival to Boulder

Having established this late growth reality, however, this isn't a trend we can afford to predict. Because while players such as Dinwiddie and Zach LaVine grew late, plenty of other guys had topped out by the time they entered college. And rather than assume that the ratio is anywhere close to 60 percent, as suggested in this column, consider that the late growers are more likely to receive NBA invitations at all due to the late, added height combined with the skill and dexterity of a shorter player.

Here's a full look at the official comparison:

Julius Randle: 6-8 ( height), 6-9 (NBA draft combine height w/shoes)

Aaron Gordon: 6-8, 6-7.5 (bare feet)

Noah Vonleh: 6-8, 6-8

James Young: 6-6, 6-6.7.5

Tyler Ennis: 6-2, 6-2.5

Zach LaVine: 6-3, 6-5.75

Dante Exum: 6-6, 6-6

Isaiah Austin: 7-0, 6-11.5 (bare feet)

Kyle Anderson: 6-8, 6-8.5

Marcus Smart: 6-4, 6-3.25

Gary Harris: 6-4, 6-2.5 (bare feet)

Semaj Christon: 6-2, 6-1.5 (bare feet)

T.J. Warren: 6-8, 6-8.25

Glenn Robinson: 6-7, 6-6.78

Jerami Grant: 6-6, 6-7.75

James Michael McAdoo: 6-8, 6-8.75

Khem Birch: 6-8, 6-9.25

Jabari Brown: 6-5, 6-4.25

Jarnell Stokes: 6-8, 6-8.5

P.J. Hairston: 6-5, 6-4.25 (bare feet)

Rodney Hood: 6-7, 6-7.25 (bare feet)

Nick Johnson: 6-3.5, 6-1.5 (bare feet)

DeAndre Daniels: 6-7, 6-8.5

Jahii Carson: 5-11, 5-9.75 (bare feet)

Johnny O'Bryant: 6-9, 6-8.5

LaQuinton Ross: 6-8, 6-7.5

Patric Young: 6-8, 6-10

Jordan Bachynski: 7-2, 7-1.25 (bare feet)

Dwight Powell: 6-10, 6-11

Alex Kirk: 6-11, 6-10.75

Adreian Payne: 6-10, 6-9.75

Cory Jefferson: 6-9, 6-9

C.J. Fair: 6-7, 6-8

Doug McDermott: 6-7, 6-6.25 (bare feet)

Nik Stauskas: 6-5, 6-6.5

Melvin Ejim: 6-6, 6-7

Devyn Marble: 6-5, 6-6.5

Joe Harris: 6-5, 6-4.75 (bare feet)

Spencer Dinwiddie: 6-2, 6-6

K.J. McDaniels: 6-5, 6-6

Lamar Patterson: 6-5, 6-5.25

Jordan McRae: 6-5, 6-3.75 (bare feet)

Jordan Adams: 6-5, 6-4.75

C.J. Wilcox: 6-5, 6-3.5 (bare feet)

Jordan Clarkson: 6-3, 6-5

DeAndre Kane: 6-2, 6-4.5

Markel Brown: 6-4, 6-2.5 (bare feet)

Sean Kilpatrick: 6-3, 6-4.25

Elfrid Payton: 6-1, 6-3.75

Xavier Thames: 6-3, 6-3.5

Kendall Williams: 6-2, 6-3.75

Aaron Craft: 6-1, 6-1.75

Deonte Burton: 6-0, 6-1.25

Russ Smith: 5-11, 6-0.75

Shabazz Napier: 5-10, 5-11 (bare feet)

Note: The official NBA measurements were sourced from

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