Jan 31, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots the ball over Milwaukee Bucks small forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) at the Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 105-98. Mandatory Credit: Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Offseason Dregs: Leaping for Legitimacy

As a groomsman in my older brother’s wedding, I spent a large portion of Saturday standing around during the usual rigmarole that accompanies such an event. Placement of amenities, straightening of collars, etc.

Stay a step behind and you can be Larry Sanders’ friend, like Jason Thompson. (Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE)

After the nuptials were official, I stood to the side with my oldest sibling while we watched the groom take some final pictures with his best man. When the photographer joked about a posing them in a piggyback position, a bridesmaid furthered the sentiment by suggesting a mid-leapfrog snapshot of my brother vaulting over his 6’8” friend. They obliged.

A little backstory: my brother is 6’4” and has been since he was an underclassmen in high school. He was a starting forward for his alma mater’s basketball team and took pride in doing leg exercises while doing routine housework. The guy mastered the off-the-bounce alley-oop as a sophomore and filled a roster spot on a semi-pro squad after graduating.

So, yeah, it wasn’t too surprising that he could take a running start and boost himself off his buddy’s shoulders, going over with room to spare.

The feat is not as impressive as it once would have been, especially to basketball fans, since it shows up in some sort of iteration every year at All-Star Weekend. Impressive to the casual eye, hoopheads know there are distinct strata when it comes to jumping ability. In order to better understand* the Bucks’ athleticism and explosiveness, here’s the raw data of each player’s leaping abilities.

*This will not help anyone understand the 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks. All of these statistics were gathered from Draft Express and are accurate as of the player’s pre-draft workout, meaning they are outdated for any player not in the 2012 draft class. Rosters are accurate according to Yahoo! Sports’ information as of Sept. 22, though cuts before the season’s start are inevitable.

Milwaukee Bucks

Name No Step Vert Max Vert Draft/First NBA Year
Current Age
Drew Gooden 29.0 33.0 2002 31
Mike Dunleavy 24.5 29.0 2002 32
Luc Mbah a Moute 32.0 38.5 2008 26
Beno Udrih N/A N/A 2004 30
Ekpe Udoh 31.5 33.5 2010 25
Doron Lamb 29.0 33.5 2012 20
Ersan Ilyasova 22.0 30.0 2005 25
Samuel Dalembert N/A N/A 2001 31
Tobias Harris 31.5 37.5 2011 20
Monta Ellis 26.5 31.5 2005 26
Joel Przybilla N/A N/A 2000 32
John Henson 25.5 30.0 2012 21
Brandon Jennings N/A N/A 2009 23
Marquis Daniels 30.5 35.0 2003 31
Larry Sanders 25.5 28.0 2010 23
Average
27.95 32.68

For good measure, check out the following tables, which log the measurements for the Bucks’ Central Division competition.

Chicago Bulls

Name No Step Vert Max Vert Draft/First NBA Year
Current Age
Derrick Rose 34.5 40.0 2008 23
Marco Belinelli N/A N/A 2007 25
Carlos Boozer 26.5 28.5 2002 30
Jimmy Butler 32.0 39.0 2011 23
Luol Deng 27.5 31.5 2004 27
Taj Gibson 25.5 30.0 2009 27
Rip Hamilton N/A N/A 1999 34
Kirk Hinrich 29.0 33.5 2003 31
Mike James N/A N/A 2001 37
Nazr Mohammed N/A N/A 1998 35
Joakim Noah 32.5 37.5 2007 27
Vladimir Radmanovic N/A N/A 2001 31
Marquis Teague 32.5 40.5 2012 19
Nate Robinson 35.5 43.5 2005 28
Average
30.61 36.0

Indiana Pacers

Name No Step Vert Max Vert Draft/First NBA Year
Current Age
D.J. Augustin 28.5 35.0 2008 24
Blake Ahearn N/A N/A 2007 28
Sundiata Gaines N/A N/A 2009 26
Paul George N/A N/A 2010 22
Danny Granger 31.0 34.0 2005 29
Gerald Green 31.5 39.0 2005 26
Tyler Hansbrough 27.5 34.0 2009 26
Roy Hibbert N/A N/A 2008 25
George Hill 34.0 37.5 2008 26
Orlando Johnson 34.0 39.0 2012 23
Ian Mahinmi N/A N/A 2005 25
Jeff Pendergraph 31.0 35.0 2009 25
Miles Plumlee 34.0 40.5 2012 24
David West 28.5 31.5 2003 32
Sam Young 27.5 33.0 2009 27
Lance Stephenson 27.0 33.0 2010 22
Average
30.409 35.59

Detroit Pistons

Name No Step Vert Max Vert Draft/First NBA Year
Current Age
Will Bynum 33.0 40.5 2005 29
Austin Daye 25.0 28.0 2009 24
Andre Drummond 31.5 33.5 2012 19
Kim English 29.0 36.5 2012 24
Jonas Jerebko N/A N/A 2009 25
Brandon Knight 29.0 37.5 2011 20
Vyacheslav Kravtsov 31.0 37.0 2012 25
Corey Maggette N/A N/A 1999 32
Jason Maxiell N/A N/A 2005 29
Khris Middleton 28.0 31.0 2012 21
Greg Monroe 25.0 29.0 2010 22
Tayshaun Prince N/A N/A 2002 32
Walker Russell Jr. N/A N/A 2011 29
Rodney Stuckey 30.5 35.0 2007 26
Charlie Villanueva 26.0 31.0 2005 28
Kyle Singler 23.0 30.0 2012 24
Terrence Williams 30.5 37.0 2009 25
Average
28.458 33.83

Cleveland Cavaliers

Name No Step Vert Max Vert Draft/First NBA Year
Current Age
Kelenna Azubuike N/A N/A 2006 28
Omri Casspi 25.5 32.5 2009 24
Michael Eric N/A N/A 2012 24
Alonzo Gee N/A N/A 2009 25
Daniel Gibson N/A N/A 2006 26
Luke Harangody 27.0 31.0 2010 24
Kyrie Irving N/A N/A 2011 20
Jon Leuer 29.5 36.5 2011 23
C.J. Miles N/A N/A 2005 25
Jeremy Pargo 32.0 37.0 2011 26
Samardo Samuels N/A N/A 2010 23
Donald Sloan N/A N/A 2011 24
Tristan Thompson 30.0 35.0 2011 21
Anderson Varejao N/A N/A 2004 29
Luke Walton 28.0 N/A 2003 32
Tyler Zeller 30.0 34.0 2012 22
Dion Waiters N/A N/A 2012 20
Average
28.857 34.33

Obviously, these stats leave much to be desired. Several players are missing vertical leap measurements for a variety of reasons: some played overseas rather than in the NCAA, some are ancient (looking at you, almost half of the Bulls) and therefore these statistics were not available, and some just flat out did not participate in that part of the draft. Once again, these figures were accurate as of the draft dates. Older players naturally lose height on their jumps; younger players could have hit the gym and gone full-Rajon Rondo on some plyometric boxes.

For the sake of fun, though, let’s make some observations:

  • The Bucks are not as capable at jumping as their divisional peers, despite the deer mantra. They have the lowest no-step and maximum vertical averages out of all the teams. Brandon Jennings’ exclusion makes the numbers skew a little low, no doubt.
  • On the run, only two Bucks (Luc Mbah a Moute and Tobias Harris) can out-jump Nate Robinson’s standing vertical.
  • If Mike Dunleavy ever daydreamed about being a dunk contest champion, he needs to add some height to that 28.0 inch max vert. For this hypothetical situation, it is also important to know that Dunleavy is 32, two years older than Dominque Wilkins when he became the elder statesman of dunk champs in 1990.
  • Larry Sanders owns the lowest vertical leap measurement, maxing out at 28.0 inches. No jokes here; just the truth.

On their own, these measurements are indicative of nothing. A huge vertical does not equate to being a good basketball player — something Milwaukee fans learned the hard way. Let Scott Skiles and the coaching staff drill the Bucks with fundamentals, extra passes and defensive rotations. Let Bango worry about getting air.

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