2016 NBA Draft Class Projected as Weak, but 2015 Prospects Deferring Could Help | Zagsblog
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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.
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Saturday / May 21.
  • 2016 NBA Draft Class Projected as Weak, but 2015 Prospects Deferring Could Help

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    SkalBy JOSH NEWMAN

    NEW YORK – The 2016 NBA Draft may be more than 14 months away, but the early word on its potential is not good.

    “I think it’s really weak, honestly,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com told SNY Tuesday afternoon on the 4 Quarters Podcast. “I’m pretty down on it. I don’t see a lot of depth to it right now.

    “We’re hearing there are five or six guys that are in the first round of 2015 that are probably gonna not declare for the draft and be in 2016, and that will help quite a bit because right now because it’s a really, really weak draft.”

    Asked who the five or six guys might be, Givony mentioned Providence College point guard Kris Dunn, 19-year-old 7-footer Jakob Poeltl from Utah, UNLV power forward Christian Wood and Michigan combo guard Caris LaVert.

    Givony also named Arkansas star Bobby Portis, but in the middle of the interview, the SEC Player of the Year declared for the NBA Draft, where DraftExpress has him slotted at No. 18 overall.

    The DraftExpress mock draft for 2016 is currently top-heavy with youth. The first seven picks are high school seniors, while Nos. 8 (Furkan Kormaz), 9 (Dragan Bender) and 10 (Zhou Qi) are all foreign sensations. None of them are currently older than Zhou, who is 19.

    The top of the draft is going to play itself out next season as projected No. 1 Skal Labissiere (Kentucky) and No. 3 Ben Simmons (LSU) will face off for at least one year in the SEC.

    Both players are in town this week for the Jordan Brand Classic on Friday night at Barclays Center, and both are coming off the Nike Hoop Summit last week in Portland, Ore.

    “I think Skal definitely helped himself,” Givony said. “Ben, to me, was up and down through the week. He was amazing in the game and that’s probably going to be your lasting impression.. We have a whole season of college basketball to base this on and it’ll be really fun, especially with Skal going head-to-head with Simmons in the SEC. That’ll be great.”

    The biggest 2015 question mark might be Dunn. A redshirt sophomore and the Co-Big East Player of the Year, Dunn has flown up draft boards after averaging 15.6 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds, but also 4.2 turnovers last season. He is projected to go at No. 14, but with another year of college, he could get into the top five.

    A 2012 McDonald’s All-American, Dunn’s career has been marred by shoulder trouble. In 2013-14, he missed all but four games with the shoulder and took a medical redshirt.

    “He’s had the shoulder injuries and if he, God forbid, gets hurt again, tears the shoulder, that could be like the end of the road for him, honestly,” Givony said. “Should injuries are very, very scary, so I think he’s going to have to be really careful with that decision.

    “He’s projected pretty high, so it would be mildly surprising to see him go back.”

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