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Tall Tales

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Let’s do a very serious investigation about a very silly thing.

2019-20 Sacramento Kings Media Day Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

On September 26th it was announced that the NBA would begin requiring NBA teams to report official, certified heights and ages. The age requirement was in response to last year’s confusion around Buddy Hield’s age. The heights would specifically need to be done without shoes. This is an odd specification, but surely one intended to prevent players from sneaking lifts into the shoes on measuring day. It was widely expected that we’d see quite a few players shrink a little, and a few taller players like Kevin Durant perhaps gain an inch or two. Durant had previously been listed at 6’9”, but is now listed at 6’10”. And it seemed the Sacramento Kings had experienced a couple of shifts as well when Marvin Bagley III was inadvertently introduced in India as being 6’8” instead of his previously listed 6’11”.

But it turns out nobody shrunk at all. The Kings official measurements have remained unchanged from last year.

Yogi Ferrell is still 6’0”. Tyler Ulis is 5’10”, having apparently grown two inches since being listed at 5’8” for the Windy City Bulls. And Marvin Bagley is still 6’11” and Harry Giles is still 6’10”, despite neither player being able to remember such a measurement happening.

The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson spoke with the Kings, and was told the following:

Each team had one week from the start of training camp to submit newly certified information. The Kings told The Bee they submitted that information Sept. 29 and Bagley was measured, contrary to what he said on Instagram.

As for why Kings players didn’t lose any height compared to last year:

Some may find that odd – and maybe the debate will continue to rage on the internet – but the Kings told The Bee late Monday night there’s a good reason for that. They were measured without shoes last year, too.

This still doesn’t account for why no incoming players changed height from last year, unless the norm has been for NBA teams to report barefoot heights in the past. Before the NBA made this a thing, most of us assumed all heights were inflated. Maybe some were but not as many as we expected.

Ultimately, very little of this matters. Players don’t play barefoot, and height from ground to the top of their heads has far less to do with basketball success than windspan, vertical reach, leaping ability, etc. At the end of the day I don’t really care how tall Bagley is, I care about how he plays. We’re in a weird preseason break where we got a taste of Kings basketball but the return trip from India put a pause in our ability to watch the Kings, so we find other things to look at and talk about. The next preseason game is on Thursday.

Until then, let’s just keep breaking down side-by-side player photos like they’re the Zapruder film.