Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Labissiere Falls to No. 3 in Latest Mock Draft; Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram Now 1-2
It is still only early December, but Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere has fallen from the No. 1 spot on the DraftExpress.com Mock Draft for 2016.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com had kept the 7-foot Haitian at No. 1 — ahead of LSU superstar frosh Ben Simmons — until Friday morning when he dropped Labissiere to No. 3.
Simmons is the new No. 1, followed by Duke forward Brandon Ingram at No. 2. Ingram’s stock has been rising after he struggled early.
Labissiere is coming off a 6-point, 1-rebound performance Thursday night in No. 1 Kentucky’s 87-77 loss at UCLA in which teammate Tyler Ulis shoved Labissiere to try to get him motivated.
“Labissiere is averaging 22 points and almost 4 blocks per-40 minutes on terrific shooting percentages, so its difficult to say that he’s been disappointing, but there’s no question that he is still a long ways away from reaching his full potential,” Givony told SNY.tv Friday.
“Sometimes its easy to forget how little organized basketball he’s actually played. He didn’t have anything close to a normal AAU or high school career so not only is he way behind physically, but also in terms of his experience-level and basketball IQ. His rebounding has been particularly lackluster.
“Some may have hoped that his body would have filled out a little bit more by now considering he turns 20 in March, but he’s operating on his own timetable.
“Karl Towns started off slowly as well, not hitting double figures in his college career until his sixth game of the season. Skal has shown some really impressive sparks offensively and I don’t have any doubt that he’s going to show a lot more as the college season unfolds. The same goes for all of Kentucky’s squad last night, who didn’t look anything like what we’ve come to expect from them.
“I guarantee you there will be a lot more movement on everyone’s draft boards between now and June. As I’ve said many times before, the draft isn’t held in November, and we’re all still early in our process of collecting data and observation points. We haven’t seen the best of Brandon Ingram yet, and everyone is going to want to see what Ben Simmons looks like when they finally start matching up with NCAA Tournament or NIT caliber teams.”
Filling out the current DraftExpress.com Top 10 are European forward Dragan Bender at No. 4; Cal forward Jaylen Brown at No. 5; Providence point guard Kris Dunn at No. 6; Kentucky guard Jamal Murray at No. 7; Marquette power forward Henry Ellenson at No. 8; Utah center Jakob Poeltl at No. 9; and Kansas forward Cheick Diallo at No. 10.
**Also of note, UNLV center Stephen Zimmerman, previously in the 2017 Draft, is now No. 14 in 2016.
**Michigan State small forward Denzel Valentine, a prime candidate for National Player of the Year along with Dunn, moved from off the board to 16.
**Maryland freshman big man Diamond Stone fell to No. 17 from No. 8.
**Mississippi State freshman guard Malik Newman tumbled to No. 18 from No. 4.
**Kentucky freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe moved down a few spots to No. 20.
**Vanderbilt sophomore guard Wade Baldwin made a big jump from off the board to No. 28.
**Florida sophomroe forward Devin Robinson moved into the first round at No. 29.
**Among Kentucky players, sophomore guard Tyler Ulis is No. 42, junior forward Marcus Lee is 44 and senior forward Alex Poythress is now off the board.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.