Kevin Durant turned out to be one of the best basketball players in the world despite a forgettable 2007 NBA Combine performance. In light of Durant’s recent criticism of the combine, Heavy decided to take a look back at Durant’s combine as well as the 2007 NBA Draft.
Very little video footage exists of the combine that happened ten years ago, but you can watch some highlights of Durant in the above video starting at the 1:20 mark. Take a look at the full video if you want to relive Durant getting drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics.
The main source of contention for Durant was the bench press. Prospects are asked to bench 185 pounds which Durant was not able to do once. Durant recounted the experience to ESPN.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Durant told ESPN. “All the strength coaches were laughing at me and s—. They were giggling with each other that I couldn’t lift 185 pounds, and I was like, ‘All right, keep laughing. Keep laughing.’ It was a funny thing, because I was the only one that couldn’t lift it and I was struggling to lift it. I was embarrassed at that point, but I’m like, ‘Give me a basketball, please. Give me a ball.'”
Durant recently had some fun with his bench press stigma. He did this video showing him benching 315 pounds. The ease in which he presses the bar up shows it is likely fake.
He admitted to ESPN that he can now bench 185 pounds but does not try to max out.
“I haven’t tried. I know I can lift 185, though, now, but I don’t bench-press. I don’t try to do max on the bench press. There’s no point in that,” Durant told ESPN.
Durant did not have the strongest vertical and was topped by many prospects in the agility drill. NBADraft.net wrote this evaluation of Durant back in 2007:
Showing off his long arms (7’5’’ wingspan and 9’2’’ standing reach) was about the only positive Kevin Durant can take from this combine.
Durant couldn’t muster ONE rep of 185 lbs. Despite being known for his athleticism, his vertical leap of 33’’ ousted only Josh McRoberts and Spencer Hawes. His speed and agility also were put into question when he turned in the fourth-worst sprint time (3.45) and the last place lane drill time (12.33). Lucky for Durant, basketball is played on the court, not in the weight room. As poor as he performed, it shouldn’t affect his draft status as the second overall pick.
Durant’s combine performance did not hurt his draft stock. He was selected second after the Portland Trail Blazers drafted consensus top player Greg Oden. Oden never materialized into the player he was expected to be after injuries followed him throughout his short career.
Overall, 2007 was a very good draft. The Atlanta Hawks selected Al Horford third. Mike Conley went off the board at four to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Boston Celtics selected Jeff Green with the fifth pick.
Very few top players work out in today’s NBA combine. Top players often come for interviews but skip out on any of the drill work. It is unlike the NFL combine in that only players that are looking to improve their draft stock participate. After telling ESPN top picks are wise to skip the Combine, he expanded on what’s important in the process.
“But if you’re like a top pick and you know you’re going to be a top pick, just work out. Just work on your game, and then they’ll see you in the individual workouts, and they’ve been watching you all year, so your whole body of work is more important than just going there for a couple of days,” Durant told ESPN.
Relive the 2007 draft with these videos including a pre-draft workout with Durant and the Sonics.