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Front Psychol. 2019 Oct 22;10:2359. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02359. eCollection 2019.

Key Anthropometric and Physical Determinants for Different Playing Positions During National Basketball Association Draft Combine Test.

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AI Sports Engineering Lab, School of Sports Engineering, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China.
China Institute of Sport and Health Science, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China.
School of Medical Humanities, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte-INEF, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Annual draft combine test of National Basketball Association (NBA) is a key player testing process where prospective players with extraordinary athletic abilities are evaluated and the assessment results would further inform the determination of prospective players for the league during draft day. Nonetheless, key attributes from the combine test that distinguished successful players in the draft from those unselected has yet to be investigated. The study was aimed to: (i) compare the difference between NBA drafted and undrafted players from five playing positions, considering anthropometric characteristics and physical fitness ability during draft combine test; and (ii) determine the key combine test factors that most effectively discriminate between draft groups. A total of 3,610 players participating in the 2000-2018 NBA draft combine test were included. Independent t-test was applied to compare difference between drafted and non-drafted players in variables related to anthropometrics, and strength and agility test. A descriptive discriminant analysis was subsequently used to identify which variables could best discriminate between two draft groups in each playing position. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. The drafted players from five positions outperformed the undrafted in height, wingspan, vertical jump height and reach, line agility and three-quarter sprint test (p < 0.01, ES = 0.26-0.87). The discriminant functions for each position (p < 0.001, Λ = 0.81-0.83) were emphasized by specific variables that discriminated both draft groups. The findings revealed that in addition to height and wingspan, leg power served as key determinants for being drafted as guards, as did agility and speed for power forwards and centers.


NBA; agility; leg-power; speed; talent identification

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