Say what you will about the Kentucky Wildcats and their struggles, but the potential of guys like Skal Labissiere still has NBA scouts and analysts high on their draft stock.
That's why ESPN's Chad Ford still has Skal going in the top 10 of his latest 2016 NBA Mock Draft. Ford has the Haitian big man going No. 9 to the Portland Trail Blazers, who already have several talented big men, which could help allow Skal to sit and develop a few years, something he's clearly going to need.
The Blazers have both Meyers Leonard and Noah Vonleh as potential stretch-4s, but that wouldn't stop them from grabbing Labissiere here.
He was widely regarded as the second-best prospect in the draft after Simmons before the college season started. He's struggled mightily at Kentucky, but he still has the size, athleticism and perimeter skills teams covet.
Sadly, Skal may be best served to go pro this year based on a variety of factors that don't necessarily include his poor play this season. CBS Sports Gary Parrish and Sam Vecenie made a great point on their latest podcast that because of the weak 2016 draft and UK's monster 2016 class, Skal should go pro and get them paychecks while someone is still willing to give it to him.
“He’s really really struggling now. It’s led to some Kentucky fans and even Memphians, because Skal grew up there, asking me does this mean he’s gotta go back to school?, Parrish said. "I had an NBA scout tell me the other day tell me this, this means he has to leave.
“He has to leave because, first off, the draft is weak. You get to a point, whether the point is 13 or 19 or 24, you get to a point where you go ‘Who am I drafting? Who do you want me to pick? Let’s at least take a flyer on the 7-foot kid with a unique skill set. The draft is so weak that somebody will pick him at some point."
As for Jamal Murray, Ford has him going No. 7 overall to the New Orleans Pelicans to team up with Anthony Davis.
The Pelicans continue to struggle with putting a real team around Anthony Davis. With Eric Gordon hitting free agency this coming summer, the Pelicans could use a guard who can create, shoot and finish at the rim.
Murray might not be an elite athlete, but his high basketball IQ and scoring ability should lift some of the load off Davis.
Murray to New Orleans would be a great fit as he would give them that extra scorer on the perimeter they need to help take more pressure of Davis in the paint.