Charles Matthews gets combine invite

Submitted by bluesalt on May 2nd, 2018 at 8:59 AM
Monday night it was revealed that Charles Matthews received an invite to the NBA Draft Combine. This is a big deal in terms of the odds of him leaving and getting drafted. Unlike the NFL combine, where scores of players who aren’t invited get drafted, virtually all Americans who are drafted have been invited to the combine. Around 70 players will participate. Last year, of the 67 invited, I could find only three who returned to school:

Hamidou Diallo
Justin Jackson
Moritz Wagner

EDIT: User Streetchemist below pointed out that I missed Svi Mykhailiuk from Kansas and Thomas Welsh from UCLA on this list. Go give him an upvote please.

Obviously most of us hope that Charles follows in Mo’s footsteps and pulls out of the draft despite his combine invite, but the odds of him leaving this year just significantly increased.…



May 2nd, 2018 at 9:08 AM ^

Seems like a great guy.  Hope he grades out highly, gets drafted highly and has a long and successful NBA career.

I used to want players to stay in school as long as possible (see my comments on Darius Morris for example) but over the past several years I've given up on that quest.  If they're good enough to go - go.  

College basketball players, almost without exception, are like milk left on the counter.  Their draft postiion doesnt usually get better with age.  And yes, I know Trey Burke is a massive exception to that rule.  But more times than not players end up like Wagner - 2nd round projection last year - 2nd round projection this year.


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

Wagner and Burke have/had all the skill in the world, they're held back by physical limitations. Where as Matthews has all the physical tools, but needs to hone his skills and shooting. Unless he wants to be drafted in the mid to late 2nd and put in the G League, it's not advantagous for him to leave, when he can stay another year and make significantly more money


May 2nd, 2018 at 10:27 AM ^

FT shooting and handle.  If he can show the ability to consistently get to the rim, he will improve his stock tremendously.  His lack of handle hurts him on his drives - I can't count the number of times he gets the ball poked away.  His FT shooting - that defiency speaks for itself.


May 2nd, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

to leave and be put in the G league though.  As you correctly say, he needs to hone his skills for a bigger payday.  Is it better to hone his skills in college rather than the G League?  Dunno.

Competition in the G league is going to be better game in and game out.  He won't have to go to school so he'll have a lot more time to work on his skills and his shot.

It'll largely be a personal decision in terms of whether he wants to hone those skills at the college level and get a degree or get paid a little in the G league.


May 2nd, 2018 at 8:24 PM ^

But why would someone be better able to hone their skills in college than in the NBA? In the NBA, he'll have better skill developers (or, at least more of them, JB of course elite in this regard), better competition, even in playing in the GL, and will be able to devote himself full time to the sport, rather than having at least some academic stuff to consider.

The only real reason to stay in college, IMO, is if you really want to play college basketball. Some people do - I think Mo and Miles Bridges are both good recent examples. But others probably don't


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:26 AM ^

there was a lot for Wagner to improve on, other than his defense (not fouling as much) and his rebounding (being in better position). His offensive output was relatively the same and his 3PT% was the same as it was last season. I think Wagner came back because he wanted to play for Michigan, not because he felt like he could play himself into the first round. Charles Matthews right now, IMO, is at best a free agent signing. However, if he could improve on these three things (ballhandling, free throw shooting, three point shooting), I think he could be a late first round pick. His defensive chops are his best selling point right now, he couples that with an improved offensive game next season at Michigan, I could see him being a fringe first rounder. Which would be a dramatic improvement over going undrafted this year.


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

Yes, he might be able to show off for teams more, but if he wasn't going to get drafted in the 1st round before the combine invite, I don't think he will now. Maybe some team might see him and maybe want tp take him in the 2nd round, but with how he performed in terms of FT% and 3PT% this year, I don't see teams taking him in the first round unless he absolutely shows out in the 5-on-5 part of the combine. I think if he does get interest in the 2nd round, Michigan will convince him to stay so he can improve his shootings and sharpen up his skills


May 2nd, 2018 at 10:12 AM ^

If he hadn’t been invited to the combine, there was near-zero chance he would stay in the draft (it would require some sort of impending suspension from the team or school, and there has been nothing saying that we should expect such an event).

Going to the combine, however, will increase his exposure and allow him to be directly compared to other top prospects. He will be able to interview with a dozen or more teams. Furthermore, given the limited number of available combine slots, the NBA, for selfish reasons, aims to hand out invites to players who a) could get drafted, and b) who are likely to remain in the draft. They don’t want to hand out interviews to a bunch of underclassmen who won’t like what they hear or aren’t ready, and thus go back to school while crowding out the players who will ultimately be drafted from this process.

And by going to combine, he will have an opportunity to impress a ton of scouts in-person if he has a good couple of days. I don’t think it’s a given he goes, but I’d say the likelihood just jumped from 0% to 40-60%. That’s great for him, but not-so-great for next year’s team.


May 2nd, 2018 at 11:26 AM ^

If you're on a big time program, are relatively decent, and declare for the draft, you get a combine invite. He'll have more chances to show off, but getting an invite doesn't mask the glaring holes in his game from last season. There's still a good 80% chance he comes back I'd say


May 2nd, 2018 at 4:04 PM ^

only about 70 are invited.  It's much more difficult that just being "relatively decent".  You have to be legitimately good.  And how good the NBA thinks Charles Matthews is was a little bit of an unkown.  That he got invited means they think pretty highly of him and potential interest in him.  Absolutely no doubt that his chances of leaving are much higher with this invite than if he didn't get one.

I do think it was mostly expected for him the get the invite though and it doesn't change the fact that he's at the lower end of the invites so he has a much greater chance of returning than a random combine participant.  The invite keeps his expeted return at "likely (60/40?)" whereas it would have been "definitely" if he didn't get the invite.


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

Increased, yes.  But I'll be hopful that he'll want to spend another season improving his game to grab a sure thing first round slot.  If he goes now, he might get pulled late in the second - and that is no way to ensure a bright future.  Personally, I don't think he is a good enough shooter and ball handler to push someone aside for a solid roster spot.  And I think he wants more than a tenuous seat bouncing between the G-League and the big show.

At least I hope he does.  Maybe I'm just being selfish, but I'd like to see him back next year.  In any case, I wish him the best of luck!


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:13 AM ^

I think he'll be back. Poor free throw shooting is just one of the things that will keep his grade down. He also could use another year on his shot.

The Fugitive

May 2nd, 2018 at 9:18 AM ^

I hope he returns for shellfish reasons. We could have another deep run in the NCAA Tunamelt which would be eggsalad.

But sometimes people are just bad FT shooters even tho the position they play suggests they should be shooting 75% or higher.

He could return to work on ball handing, footwork, and overall shooting ability from 18+ feet out. There's no one better than Coach B to help him improve in those areas.


May 2nd, 2018 at 9:15 AM ^

and based on the statistics you have provided, this isn't helpful for Michigan. If the young man wants to leave and fine tune his game in the G-League, so be it, rumble young man rumble. I just don't see him leaving, given what he needs to work on to be successful at the next level. I mean, I don't even remember seeing a mock draft with his name on it. IMO, he can only improve his draft stock, thus securing him more money! It's not like this is a Miles Bridges situation, where a lottery pick decides to return and plays himself out of the top 10. Matthews, IMO, is at best a free agent signing post draft, he could play his way into guarenteed money if he comes back. 

uncle leo

May 2nd, 2018 at 9:25 AM ^

Fine tuning. Some of his mechanics need complete overhauls. In order to be that 6'6 swingman-type wing in the league, you have to be able to dribble and hit threes. He's just not there yet.

Without question, he needs another year. I wanted Mo to stay for selfish reasons, but I knew he was probably ready and nothing else could be improved that much. Matthews is not ready, and leaving early would cost him millions. 

uncle leo

May 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^

Small piece of the picture.

You have to look at the entire situation. This year's draft class is one of the best we've seen in decades, and 2019 takes a significant step back. 

Do you trust D-league coaches, who make probably 50K a year and see players come and go non-stop, or a guy who has proven that he can constantly make improvements and fix players who aren't ready? When did the D-league become a bastion of success? There's a serious reason why guys who have the level of Charles Matthews go there, and never come up to the next level. I like the kid's potential a ton, but he ain't ready, and leaving early to collect 25,000 a year and probably never sniff the NBA is a bad idea, period.

uncle leo

May 2nd, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

See beyond players who are "hot."

Shit, when I tried out for the JV team in high school, I could not miss a shot. The problem was they couldn't see beyond my unathletic, 5'8 frame.

He's not ready, and it has nothing to do with whether or not he makes/misses shots. 

SF Wolverine

May 2nd, 2018 at 9:58 AM ^

learn all of the areas in which you need to improve.

improve in those areas -- exceed expectations

bring home some more hardware for UM

profit -- in the 2019 draft!


May 2nd, 2018 at 10:44 AM ^

88 appeared in 10 or more games. There's a place for Matthews in the league – at least on a two-way contract – and 2nd/undrafted players who bet on themselves get a shot at big free agency deals earlier. 

Lots of comments on here positing players need to be finished products to make the NBA. There are a number of wings in the league who defend and rebound at a high level and don't do much else; Andre Roberson got $30 mil to do that and cut. 

Hope he follows Mo's lead and comes back but if he shows out in the combine I can easily see him gone. Just a matter of where he wants to develop.


May 2nd, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

Saying "oh Matthews can just be an Andre Roberson" is an ignorant statement. He is a rare case like Tony Allen or Marcus Smart. There are very few players who are defensive specialists. Why would Matthews willingly take a G League deal or 2-way deal when can come back and boost his stock?


May 2nd, 2018 at 1:06 PM ^

I'd love it if he stays and that option makes sense, too. There's no *right* move here. Reasons to leave that make sense are 1) he'll get paid now, 2) there's no guarantee his stock shoots up or he doesn't get injured, 3) if he sticks he'll likely make more money over 5-7 years as a 2nd rounder/UDFA than as a late first rounder (hit FA earlier).

And I never said he'll show up and be 2017 Roberson – Roberson took a while to develop – just using him as a well-paid example. There are plenty of spots in the NBA for long, athletic defenders who flash other skills and aren't finished products yet. 

Peruse the basketball reference link above and tell me he's not likely to end up on an NBA roster at some point next season if he goes. Some food for thought:

  • 47 rookies in the NBA didn't hit 40% from the floor
  • 33 of those guys played more than 10 games
  • What league are you watching, dude?