In this article, I will take a closer look at the projected top draft picks for this upcoming collegiate season, and how that will make them fare in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Skal Labissiere: Labissiere has fans, scouts, and teams drooling over his potential at the next level. Unfortunately for NBA fans, Labissiere will have to play his mandatory one season at Kentucky. Labissiere will be an instant starter for Kentucky and will look to lead them to another national championship. Labissiere is equipped with the intangibles you look for in an elite post player. Labissiere is athletic, has impressive mobility, good footwork a nice frame, which he will be able to add some weight too once he gets in Kentucky’s weight room. He has great potential on the offensive end. He has terrific hands, nice touch around the goal, go-to jump hooks over each shoulder, plus the ability to face up defenders and make jump shots. Labissiere lacks no confidence in his offensive ability and with added strength it will only improve. On top of his offensive ability, Labissiere can impact the game on the defensive end as well. With his excellent timing and length, Labissiere is only continuing his dominance into an elite shot blocker. With a season of development under John Calipari and his staff, Labissiere will develop into a potential devastating two-way player, that will have him vying for a top two selection in next year’s draft.
Ben Simmons: The man this draft was supposed to be about tanking for. The Australian point-forward decided to play his likely only collegiate season at Louisiana State University. Simmons helps transform the LSU program into one of a contender, and hopefully help the program lure more top recruits in the future. Simmon’s offensive game is built around his dominant shooting. He has excellent release, touch, can create his own shot, pull-up off the dribble and drill his shot from anywhere on the court. Along with his shooting, Simmons has excellent vision, coupled with his tremendous passing skills, making Simmons a destructive offensive mismatch for any opponent to try and guard. On the defensive side of the ball, Simmons is a solid defender. He may not be elite at this stage of his career, but he stays in front of his man and does not gamble. With maturity beyond his years, Simmons will continue to develop into the star we know he will be. In the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons will be a top two pick, with the strong possibility of being the top selection. Simmons will help transform the franchise that ends up selecting him.
Jaylen Brown: Brown is a tantalizing prospect spending his first collegiate season at the University of California. Brown has a strong offensive game, some say his jumper is a weakness, but he has good form, just not shooting at a high percentage yet, but hopefully with collegiate coaches this will change. Brown has good ball handling skills and size that allows him to play the 2-4 position, and play at an elite level at any of those positions. Brown uses his speed and athleticism to be an elite transition player, who also has good passing instincts that could further help him become a top player. On the defensive side of the ball, Brown is not afraid of doing the work, and is a good rebounding prospect from the wing. Using his athleticism, strength, and speed, Brown can effectively guard 3-4 positions on the court, and is looked at as a great defender going forward. With his skill set, Brown will be a top five selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, but with Simmons and Labissiere having higher potentials, Brown will not likely crack the top two.
Brandon Ingram: Ingram is a great wing player playing his first collegiate season at the University of Duke. The one thing that catches you about Ingram even before you see him play is his length. At 6’8, Ingram has the height, coupled with a monster wingspan, allowing him to be almost unguardable. On the offensive side of the ball, Ingram’s confidence his closer to the rim, as he uses his physical attributes to finish at a high level. He does have the ability to stretch the floor from three, and although his shooting form is not perfect, it is easily fixable. Ingram also has good passing attributes. This stat is not going to jump at you in the box score, but his ability to find teammates when he is in trouble or seeing mismatches for his teammates makes his passing attributes higher than his peers. Defensively, Ingram is a force. Due to his length, Ingram can contest almost any shot, while also staying in position to contain dribble penetration. Ingram was one of the select few to contain Jaylen Brown. Ingram has loads of potential, but due to his weight, he might need 2-3 seasons before he can do the damage in the low-post that he is use to doing at the professional level. However, once Ingram gets his weight up, Ingram will be a great two-way player that a team can build around for the next decade.
Dragan Bender: You are going to hear plenty of bad jokes about this kid’s name, but rest of sure his game is nothing to joke about. Bender is only going to be 18 going into the 2016 NBA Draft, so he will be a very young player for a franchise to build around. Being a foreign seven footer, who likes to play from the perimeter, you are going to see a lot of comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol. These comparisons are not on par, as bender is a different breed of player. Bender’s offensive game is centered mainly around mid-range to three-point shooting, as he rarely steps into the low-post, but with his size and frame, Bender has the ability to put on weight to be able to contend down-low at the next level. Bender is a good passer and ball handler for his size, and now that he is with the Tel Aviv’s senior team, Bender should see his development greatly enhanced. Bender uses his size to be a good defender, who is capable of staying with his man, and for the most part is a pretty good shot blocker for a perimeter player. Bender will likely need 2-3 seasons before being a solid contributor, but for a team willing to wait for the kid to turn 20-21m he will be a great addition, and one they can build their future around.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17