CHICAGO -- A common question linked Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson during media interviews today at the NBA combine, presumably the same question a lot of teams have:
What position do you play?
“A lot of people ask me. They want to know,” Johnson said. “So I’m coming out and saying it: I’m a point guard. I believe I can make that transition like a lot of guys have in the past.
“Obviously, I don’t really have the proof in my film right now because I didn’t play there that much. But go back and look at all the playmaking opportunities that I had. It’s what a point guard does.”
If Johnson is considered something of a tweener between shooting guard and point guard, Gordon may be the same thing between a small forward and power forward.
“We’ll see, man,” Gordon said. “I see myself as a three. I see myself as a four. I’m capable of playing multiple positions. It is OK to play multiple positions. It’s not like you have to be locked into one. That’s what I’ve learned from my idol, Magic Johnson.”
Gordon put on 10 pounds and didn’t shrink since he was measured at UA before last season. The NBA measured him at 220 pounds and 6-7.5 inches without shoes, after he was listed at 210 and 6-8 (with shoes) at Arizona as a freshman.
Johnson measured at 198 pounds and 6-1.5 inches at the combine, after he was listed at 6-3 and 200 at Arizona. Johnson also measured a 6-7.25 wingspan and a 8-0.5 inch standing reach.
The official measurements and shooting percentages taken today are in the NBA’s updated database, but most of the skills testing will be done Friday.
If Johnson can duplicate the 47-inch maximum (running start) vertical leap he had at UA last fall, he’ll probably run away with that test in the combine Friday.
Johnson appeared confident about his chances, especially when asked if he or Glenn Robinson III had a higher vertical leap.
“Glenn Robinson? He had a high vertical?” Johnson said.
“Supposedly 44,” the reporter said.
“I had a 47 earlier this year, so I’m going for 50,” Johnson said. “That’s my goal: 50. We’ll see if it happens.”
NBA teams have already begin interviewing players they request for 30 minutes each as part of the combine, and Johnson said he’s already talked with Orlando, Denver, Golden State and Houston.
Johnson said he has already made plans to work out at Orlando next week.
Gordon, meanwhile, said he’s spoken to Denver, Toronto, Atlanta, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
Minnesota tried to throw a curveball at Gordon when the Timberwolves asked him how many pennies were in a million dollars.
“I said, `A lot,’ " Gordon said, though he actually did answer the question correctly.
“After 22 seconds – they timed me – I said `100 million.’ Educated guess and I was like `Yeah,’ “ Gordon said.
While Johnson went through all the drills Thursday – shooting particularly well in the nonstationary shooting drills – Gordon sat out on the advice of his agent.
Most top players don’t participate in drills, because it is perceived they have nothing to gain, but that philosophy clashed with Gordon’s competitive nature.
“I wanted to be out there,” Gordon said. “It was just strategic. I don’t know if it was the right thing but I would have loved to be out there for all four” of Thursday’s workout groups.
Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie is sitting out drills but, of course, it’s not because he wanted to opt out. Dinwiddie is still rehabilitating a torn knee, trying to convince teams that he’ll be actually better when he is healthy.
It’s not an easy position to be in but Dinwiddie is confident as usual.
“They gotta watch tape, interview me and see if they like my personality and things like that,” Dinwiddie said. “They have to understand they’re going to be getting a player that’s leaner, stronger, quicker, and then he was before the injury.
“If they liked who I was before the injury then they’re going to be getting that, 2.0.”
Dinwiddie was one of 10 total Pac-12 players on hand for the combine, though none of them have been closer to Johnson over the years than ASU guard Jahii Carson, who is from Mesa while Johnson played at Gilbert Highland before transferring to Findlay Prep.
“Me and Nick have been competing since we were kids,” Carson said. “It’s fun competition. We’re pulling for each other to do well. The competition has helped us throughout the years.”
“We’ve always talked about it since eighth grade we worked so hard, encouraged each other to pursue each other’s dreams. And now that were here it’s like a childhood friend that you grew up with is achieving his dreams like you.”