The continued struggles of the Kentucky Wildcats and their top NBA prospects is now leading to some Cats' stock plummeting for the 2016 NBA Draft.
The good news for Jamal Murray is he's done enough to remain projected as a top 10-15 pick in most mocks. the latest mock draft from DraftExpress has Murray going No. 9 overall. He's been the most consistent Wildcat this season, averaging a team-high 17.1 ppg to go with 4.4 boards and 2.7 assists per game. He's up to 21 ppg over his last four games while scoring from just about anywhere on the court, and any NBA teams would love having a volume scorer like Murray.
However, being a one-trick pony could hurt Murray's stock if he doesn't start showing he can do other things consistently. That's why the latest mock from NBADraft.net has Murray going 15th overall to the Utah Jazz, where he'd team up with former Cat Trey Lyles.
Looking at other Cats, DraftExpress has Skal Labissiere going No. 5 overall. Though that's still in the top five, even that's a tough fall for a guy who many viewed as a lock for the top 2-3 in the next draft.
In UK's most recent loss to LSU, Skal once again showed little impact in the paint and looked lost whenever he touched the ball. He finished with just three points on 1-of-3 shooting with two rebounds and no blocks with one turnover in 16 minutes of play. Even more alarming was him once again being out-fought for the ball far too often, whether it was him catching the ball in the post or going for a rebound.
Skal is now averaging 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds over his last eight games. That explains why NBADraft.net has gone ahead and put Skal in their 2017 NBA Mock Draft, where the Milwaukee Bucks take him with the eighth-overall pick. That would also jive with John Calipari saying he's now coaching Skal like a multi-year player and not a one-and-done.
As for Isaiah Briscoe, he too is in the midst of a rough stretch that has him looking like someone that should seriously consider another year of college. He's down to 5.8 ppg over his last four games, and while he plays good defense and rebounds well, that's not going to get him drafted in the first round, even in what's viewed as a weak draft like this year's is.
DraftExpress has Briscoe going 24th overall, but NBADraft.net has him falling to the second round of the 2017 draft. At the rate he's going, the second round is going to be his ultimate destination if he comes out this year, but there's a lot of season left.
NBADraft.net doesn't have any other Cats in the first round, but does have Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress going in the second round for 2016, then Lee joining Briscoe in the second round of the 2017 draft. DraftExpress has Ulis and Lee in the second round.
Though you'd hate to see them leave, it would be great to see Ulis and/or Lee get drafted this year if they do in fact come out. Neither is probably going to be a star at the next level, but could be solid role players a team is able to snag in the second round.