An Early Look at the 2016 Draft Class: Tier 1
*Photo via ESPN.com
It's way too early to see how most prospects will play in the first collegiate games, and it's hard to see how some prospects will grow and develop their games in the offseason. But with scouting agencies ranking the top FOURTH GRADERS in the country, I thought I’d put my NBA Scout hat on and breakdown the 2016 draft class (sorry, no class of 2023 predictions). The class will be broken down in five tiers based on overall current skill and NBA potential. Since I haven't yet seen the growth and adaptations that these players will make this coming season these rankings are going to change. As most might be aware, an excellent draft class has on average five to eight superstars to borderline All-Star players. Tier one is set for the elite guys with star potential. These guys will have shoe companies fighting like contestants on The Bachelor for them. Hopefully nobody cries. Ben Simmons, SF LSU
Ben Simmons is the number one overall player on Top 50 big boards heading into the season. Simmons is a five tool point forward who has been molded for the modern NBA. The 6'10" Simmons will draw a lot of LeBron James comparisons coming into the NBA Draft because of his physically dominating presence. He’s a versatile scorer, a two-way player, can handle on the ball and has similar passing instincts to James. And of course, just like LeBron coming out of high school, Simmons isn’t the best shooter. Simmons was the number one recruit coming out of high school this season and hopes to be the number one pick in next year's draft. Skal Labissiere, C Kentucky
Skal Labissiere is still very raw but you can definitely see a lot of NBA potential in him. Similar to Simmons, Labissiere's game is built for the modern NBA. Skal is long armed, athletic big man who protects the rim and runs the floor. He also can step out and hit a 15 - 18 foot jumper regularly. His ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor and the fact that he has a lot more room to grow as a basketball player will have NBA scouts salivating over him. Jamal Murray, PG Kentucky
Most basketball fans know Jamal Murray as the man who crushed the United States in the Pan American Games. Murray absolutely dominated a U.S. team filled collegiate stars and former NBA players. There's no question that Murray will be one of the best if not the best player in college basketball this year. Murray is a combo guard who can score at will and excels at creating his own shot. During the Pan Am Games a large majority of Murray's points came off of isolation and pick and rolls, both of which are staples in the NBA. Murray's ability to create his own shot will be the most impressive tool that NBA scouts will love.
Brandon Ingram, SF Duke
Brandon Ingram's draft stock really rose after the McDonald's All American game last year. Ingram is a long athletic wing player who has the ability to play both ends of the court. Ingram will excel in the open court and attacking the rim at Duke. He's resembles a more polished Kelly Oubre Jr. in terms of offensive talent and better on the defensive side of the floor as well. Ingram's freak athleticism and his sky high potential on both ends of the floor will have him as an easy lottery selection no matter how he produces in college at Duke.